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Preds sign Johansen to 8-year, $64M deal

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) General manager David Poile has made it clear he's been looking for a top center since first hired to build the Nashville Predators 20 years ago.

He believes he has just that in Ryan Johansen, and that's why the Predators rewarded the 24-year-old center Friday with an eight-year, $64 million contract. It's the biggest deal the franchise has ever handed out.

"I think he is ready to take that next step to become an elite player in the National Hockey League," Poile said. "Your actions say volumes about what you and how you feel, how this is the longest contract that we've ever given out since I've been here. Eight years, the money is significant, but we feel we got the right man to be our No. 1 center for a lot of years."

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