Nashville re-signs Josi to seven-year, $28 million deal

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The Nashville Predators have locked up one of the young cornerstones of their defense, agreeing to a seven-year, $28 million extension with Roman Josi on Monday.

“Re-signing Roman was a top priority as we look to regroup heading into the 2013-14 season,” Preds GM David Poile said in a statement. “Roman has proven, with his growth and success here in Nashville and on the international stage, that he is one of the best young defensemen in the NHL. Roman’s skating ability and instincts have allowed him to play in all key situations.

“With today’s signing, we have our top defensive pairing locked up long-term, and we look forward to Roman’s continued development and contribution to the Predators’ on-ice success.”

Josi, 23, enjoyed a solid 2013 campaign in Nashville, playing alongside Shea Weber and filling the role left when Ryan Suter signed in Minnesota. He had 18 points in 48 games while averaging 23:31 TOI per game.

Following the season, Josi represented his native Switzerland at the 2013 World Championships and enjoyed a breakout performance, winning Best Defenseman and Most Valuable Player of the tournament while leading the Swiss to a silver medal, their first medal in 60 years of competing at the Worlds.

The move will raise eyebrows as Josi is hardly a household name, but it goes with Nashville’s plan of retaining players it drafted and groomed into NHLers.

The team shelled out huge cash ($110 million) to retain Weber’s services last summer and, before that, locked goalie Pekka Rinne into a seven-year, $49 million deal.

Prior to the lockout, Nashville signed defenseman Kevin Klein to a five-year, $14.5 million deal and, earlier this season, inked forward Patric Hornqvist to a five-year, $21.25 million deal.

As per the terms of his new deal, Josi will make $2.5 million in 2013-14, $3 million in 2014-15, $4 million in 2015-16, $4.25 million in 2016-17, $5 million in 2017-18, $5.25 million in 2018-19 and $4 million in 2019-20.