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Predators sign trio of defensemen to contract extensions

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Nashville now has most of its roster for 2018-19 already locked up.

Nashville Predators v Los Angeles Kings

The Nashville Predators had a busy morning by signing three of their depth defensemen to contract extensions Tuesday. Matt Irwin, Anthony Bitetto, and Yannick Weber all signed new deals that will keep them with the organization for at least another season.

Weber and Irwin received identical two-year extensions worth $650,000 in 2018-19 and $700,000 in 2019-20, the team announced. Bitetto also signed for a $650,000 cap hit in 2018-19, although his contract expires following that season. Those are the league minimum salaries for each season.

The moves allow the Predators to maintain one of the best defenses in the league going forward. The team already has Ryan Ellis signed through 2019, Roman Josi through 2020, and P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm through 2022. So now Alexei Emelin is the only member of their eight-man defensive rotation not signed beyond this season.

Much of the Predators’ salary cap situation for the 2018-19 season is already in place with these moves. The team now has 11 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies signed for next season at a combined cap hit of $67.25 million, per Cap Friendly, which means there will be at least roughly $8 million in cap space for the team to fill out its roster.

Nashville’s only remaining free agents for the upcoming summer are Emelin, Scott Hartnell, Cody McLeod, Miikka Salomaki, and Juuse Saros. Re-signing Saros, an RFA and the potential long-term placement for Pekka Rinne, will be a top priority. But otherwise, the Predators have already done a lot of the hard work to build next season’s team.