The Nashville Predators and Colton Sissons have avoided arbitration, and will be together for a long time. The two sides have agreed on a seven-year, $20MM contract. That means Sissons’ cap hit is just under $2.86MM moving forward, and the hearing scheduled for July 26 is no longer necessary. CapFriendly has the full breakdown:
- 2019-20: $3.45MM
- 2020-21: $2.5MM
- 2021-22: $3.65MM
- 2022-23: $2.775MM
- 2023-24: $3.5MM
- 2024-25: $2.3MM
- 2025-26: $1.825MM
While a contract of this length is still surprising to see, it’s not like Predators GM David Poile hasn’t done it before. In 2016 he signed a 24-year old Calle Jarnkrok to a six-year, $12MM deal to secure one of his bottom-six forwards for a reasonable price and hope for a breakout. Jarnkrok had just completed a 16-goal, 30-point season for the Predators, both easily career highs. Those totals line up well with the 15 goals and 30 points that Sissons just had, also career highs. Knowing that he will likely provide at least that, Poile is betting on a potential breakout while mitigating his risk with a relatively low cap hit.
That’s not to say that Sissons is guaranteed to score 15 goals in every year of the deal. The 25-year old needed a 13.6% shooting percentage to do it in 2018-19, though there are many other factors to take into account. One of them is how often he starts his shifts in the defensive zone, almost never given the chance to take a faceoff in the opponent’s end. Even if that production does dip a bit, he’s a valuable penalty killer and defensive center that has proven he can step into a larger role if forced. With Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene, Kyle Turris and Nick Bonino still on the roster though, it seems unlikely that will be necessary.
The other thing to consider when it comes to Sissons is his off-ice influence on the Predators. The young forward has been known as a pure leader for quite some time, first serving as captain for the Kelowna Rockets before being named the youngest captain in Milwaukee Admirals history when he was just 21. That kind of presence is exactly what the Predators are hoping to lock up.
Like usual for the Predators, the deal includes no signing bonuses or trade protection. It will buy out five years of unrestricted free agency, taking Sissons to the age of 32.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet broke news of the signing on Twitter.