The Nashville Predators locked up a key part of their core on Monday, signing RFA winger Filip Forsberg to a six-year, $36-million deal.
In the process, they set the table for a number of contracts to come.
"Filip is among the most skilled, dynamic talents we've ever had in the organization and is an integral part of our success for the next six years and beyond," Predators GM David Poile said in a statement. "While we have already seen his creativity, hockey sense and puck skills, he has yet to reach the peak of his abilities. We have full confidence that he will continue to blossom into one of the top players in the world.
"This is just another example of our ownership group's commitment to the franchise, our fans and the entire community to build a team that can reach our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup."
The 21-year-old led the Predators with 33 goals in 2015-16, a total that also placed him 10th in the league.
The contract will be watched closely by other teams that are looking to sign their own RFAs, and to fend off potential offer sheets from competing clubs on July 1. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov will command a very similar deal, as will Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon. Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau, who finished sixth in league scoring with 78 points, could do even better. He's looking at an AAV of upwards of $7 million per, while linemate Sean Monahan could net between $5 and $6 million.