Yesterday during the 1st intermission of their eventual 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, the Nashville Predators announced they’d re-signed defenseman Mark Borowiecki to a one year deal for the 2022-23 season.

The cap hit for Borowiecki next year will be $900,000, which is a great deal for the Predators. Boro is currently in the 2nd year of his two-year deal signed in 2020, which was worth a total of $4 million. The Preds will gain just over a million in cap room for the 2022-23 season, by dropping the cap hit of Boro from $2 million to $900K. They also lock up a roster spot they would have had to fill on the open market this summer.

First of all, before we move to what this means for signing Filip Forsberg, you have to be happy for Borowiecki. He’s made Nashville his new home after leaving the Ottawa Senators in 2020, where he’d spent the first nine years of his career. He talked at length after the game about how much he loved Nashville and how his family has embraced it as their new home.

Borowiecki even ad libbed a special thank you to the city of Nashville at the end of his press availability. He seems genuinely thankful to be playing hockey in this city and you just don’t see that attitude very often.

A great dude, that Mark Borowiecki.

Now to Forsberg.

Signing Mark Borowiecki makes signing Filip Forsberg more possible

As mentioned above, the Preds accomplished two things by re-signing Borowiecki so cheap for next year.

One, they lock up a roster spot that they don’t have to fill this summer. Nearly every summer for the last decade, David Poile’s had to spend time looking for veteran defensemen to add to his roster. Anton Volchenkov, Barret Jackman, Alexei Emelin, Dan Hamhuis, and others.

Now he’s locked up that role for next year. One more thing checked off the to-do list.

And don’t forget that he’s got David Farrance, Jeremy Davies and other young defensemen in Milwuakee ready to compete next year as well.

It’s safe to say the Preds’ blueline is set for 2022-23 and beyond.

The second accomplishment, and even more important than the first, is Poile gained just over a million in cap space. This money can be used on Filip Forsberg directly, or on another of the team’s more minor players that need contracts.

More money and fewer players to sign means David Poile’s job just got a little easier.

Only five unrestricted free agents remain

The Preds now have only five UFA’s unsigned for the 2022-23 season. They are:

  • Filip Forsberg
  • Nick Cousins
  • Matt Benning
  • Ben Harpur
  • David Rittich

Note that I am not counting Rocco Grimaldi, who is technically a UFA as well. The Preds waived him earlier this year, which indicates the two will move on after this season. For what it’s worth, he is playing very well in Milwaukee for the Admirals.

Other players on that list that the players might not consider re-signing: David Rittich and Ben Harpur. Rittich because Connor Ingram has shown the ability to be a backup goalie, earning his first NHL win earlier this year. Harpur because he really just doesn’t have a role in the NHL, plus the blueline is already set as I mentioned.

(Quick side note, the Preds do have 12 restricted free agents. Most of these are qualifying offer level or just over. The highest price tag among those is Luke Kunin, who is probably not more than his current AAV of $2.3 million. Yakov Trenin probably comes close to Tanner Jeannot’s $800K AAV.)

So that really just leaves Forsberg, Cousins, and Benning.

Benning could be re-signed, as he’s been a good role player for the Preds this year. But I think it’s much more likely that Farrance claims his role next year. I thought there was a chance Farrance would make the roster this year, he looked excellent in rookie camp.

So, quite possibly, the Preds only have two legitimate UFAs to worry about: Forsberg and Cousins.

And they have $24.8 million to spend.

Preds have plenty of money to sign Forsberg

With over $24 million in cap room, the Preds can sign Filip Forsberg to whatever dollar amount he wants. Forsberg’s price will swell if he hits the open market this summer, but Poile can prevent that by handing him a contract with a dollar amount that he can’t say no to.

Think $10 million AAV or more.

Does he want to be the highest paid player in Nashville Predators franchise history?

David Poile has the ability to make it happen.

The highest contract value in the NHL on a per year basis is Connor McDavid at $12.5 million. Forsberg won’t touch that, as much as he might want.

But $10 million or even $10.5 million is very possible. And for a 27-year-old putting up his best season yet (he is poised to shatter both the Preds’ single season goal scoring record and the career goal scoring record) it’s also very likely.

The term of Filip Forsberg’s contract is another question. Perhaps that’s the sticking point. Players always want more term, teams always want less. If I had to guess, Poile wants him at six years and Forsberg wants the full eight.

But whatever the term is, Filip Forsberg is now more likely to be signed than ever.

And Preds fans can thank Mark Borowiecki for that.

— Featured image via Danny Wild/USA TODAY Sports —