Preds sign ‘integral’ Smith to five-year, $21.25M extension

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The Nashville Predators have locked in one of their best goalscorers, signing Craig Smith to a five-year, $21.25 million extension on Monday.

The deal, which carries a $4.25 million cap hit, is a nice raise from the $2M Smith made annually on his last deal.

“As evidenced by his back-to-back 20-goal seasons and performance in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Craig Smith is an integral part of our team’s young core and we are pleased to have agreed on a long-term contract that both parties are comfortable with,” Preds GM David Poile said in a release. “With Craig’s durability, work ethic and intensity, we see him continuing the build on his recent production and be a valuable contributor to our offensive attack for the next five seasons.”

Smith, 25, scored five points in six games during Nashville’s opening-round playoff loss to Chicago, and was one of just four Preds forwards to average more than 20 minutes per game. The former University of Wisconsin standout is, as Poile mentioned, also one of the organization’s most durable players — since breaking in during the 2011-12 campaign, Smith has appeared in 277 of a possible 294 games, and played all 82 last season.

With this deal done, Poile now has just one key RFA to re-sign — Colin Wilson, the former first-round pick that scored a career-high 20 goals and 42 points last season.