Predators sign Roman Josi to 7-year, $28 million contract

Patrick McDermott

The Predators locked up young defenseman Roman Josi before he could hit free agency this summer.

The Nashville Predators have signed Roman Josi to a seven-year contract that will keep the defenseman in The Music City through 2020. The deal will pay Josi $28 million and keeps him from becoming a restricted free agent on July 5.

"Re-signing Roman was a top priority as we look to regroup heading into the 2013-14 season," Predators general manager Poile said. "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.

Josi is coming off of a great IIHF World Championship, where he was named the tournament's MVP, Best Defenseman and an All-Star. The 23-year old's play helped Switzerland capture the silver medal, their first medal in 60 years.

Josi played 48 games for the Predators in 2013, scoring five goals and adding eight assists, but the former second round pick still hasn't played a full season in the NHL. He played 52 games as a rookie in 2011-12 and last year's season was cut short by the lockout, but despite his inexperience, he is already second on the Predators' depth chart, behind Shea Weber.

The next step for Josi, besides playing a full season, is to "get bigger and put some muscles on," Predators head coach Barry Trotz said. Trotz lavished praise upon his young defensemen after the 2013 season, but emphasized his need to put on "man-strength."

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