Predators sign Paul Gaustad to a four-year deal

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Paul Gaustad won’t be testing the free agent market on Sunday. The Nashville Predators waited until the 11th hour to do it but, according to the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper, they have locked up Gaustad to a four-year, $13 million contract extension.

This comes as a bit of a surprise as Gaustad’s agent previously made it sound like he would still be available on July 1. Still, this deal represents a substantial raise over his 2011-12 salary of $2.5 million.

The Nashville Predators surrendered a first-round pick in order to pry Gaustad away from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline. He should be primarily regarded as a third or fourth-line center, but he’s good at what he does.

He’s particularly impressive on the draw and maintained a 57.3 faceoff winning percentage in 2011-12. He should continue to provide the Predators with some depth and bolster their defense.