David Poile won’t have much time to ruminate on Nashville’s Stanley Cup Final defeat.
Just days after his club lost in Game 6 to Pittsburgh, the Predators GM was back at work, mapping out a course of action for what promises to be an extremely busy rest of June.
“We have a few contracts to do. The most notable are Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson,” Poile said on Wednesday, per NHL.com. “We’ll meet with them in Chicago [at the draft] to start that process next week.”
The Johansen extension will be a big one.
The 24-year-old is a bonaifde No. 1 center, coming off a year in which he co-led the team in scoring — 61 points, tied with Arvidsson — and was dynamic in the playoffs before undergoing season-ending thigh surgery in the Western Conference final.
A restricted free agent, Johansen is coming off a three-year, $12 million pact with a $4M average annual cap hit. The real question now is how big a raise he’ll get, and how long the term will be. Other teams have invested heavily in top-line centers around the same age — Winnipeg gave Mark Scheifele $49 million over eight years, Calgary gave Sean Monahan $44M over seven — so this figures to be an expensive negotiation for Poile.
Arvidsson’s will be a bit different, as he’s coming off his entry-level deal. But he too is in line for a pay bump, given he led the Predators with 31 goals during the regular season, impressing onlookers with his mix of skill and relentless puck pursuit.
Finally, there’s the future of team captain Mike Fisher. He’s currently without a contract for next season and, given he just turned 37, there have been discussions about him contemplating retirement. Poile said the Preds want Fisher back, but haven’t spoken to him yet.
“We’d like to give him as much time as he needs to make a decision,” Poile said.