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Preds ink Roman Josi to entry level contract…

Apparently Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile’s focus has been on the 2008 draft class recently.

Just yesterday we got official word that seventh round pick Anders Lindbäck was signed to a two-year deal and, just 24 hours later, we see this report from a Swiss Hockey online mag stating that second rounder Roman Josi has signed as well.

While we’re still waiting for an official announcement from the Preds, the report states that the 19-year old Bern, Switzerland native will make $787,500 per year at the NHL level or $65,000 when he’s skating with Nashville’s minor league affiliate the Milwaukee Admirals.

The scouting super-site says “Josi is probably the most complete Swiss junior player for quite some time. He is very mature for someone of his age and he displays a high confidence level on the ice. As a result he’s hardly lost in traffic in the Swiss league.”

The site ranks Josi as the 10th top prospect in the Nashville system and the fourth top defenseman. Some of the blueliners he’s ranked behind? Oh, a few guys named Jon Blum (ranked #1 overall), Ryan Ellis (#7), Charles-Olivier Roussel (#5) and Cody Franson (#3 but, really, shouldn’t count considering he played the majority of this season with the big club). And with Shea Weber and Ryan Suter at only 24 and 25 years old respectively, the future of the Preds defensive corps looks even brighter than it did last year when most were calling it the best in the league from top to bottom.

Taking the “defense” one step further, the Nashville goaltending situation looks stacked as well. Starter Pekka Rinne is locked up for another couple years, Mark Dekanich and Chet Pickard are developing nicely in Milwuakee, Jeremy Smith won a Kelly Cup Championship with the Preds’ ECHL affiliate the Cincinnati Cyclones last week and they just signed Lindbäck.

Now if only the Preds could draft a pelthora of scoring forwards…

UPDATE (6/28): The Predators have officially annouced the signing of Josi. Terms were not disclosed but the official release does say that the defenseman does plan on playing in North America next season.


PHOTO CREDIT: Andre Ringuette (Getty Images)