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The Predators announced the signing of Ryan Johansen to an 8-year deal
Video by Autumn Allison

When the Nashville Predators traded for Ryan Johansen in January 2016, they did so with the confidence that he could become the top center that Stanley Cup-challenging teams build around. 

Their faith justified, the Predators signed Johansen to an eight-year, $64 million contract Friday. 

“I really feel in these next eight years, we’re going to do really well,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “And when we do really well, Ryan Johansen is going to be a big, big factor in all of our winning.”

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It is the longest and richest contract that the Predators have offered a player. That excludes the 14-year, $110 million contract that former captain Shea Weber received in July 2012, with the team matching an offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers. 

Johansen’s $8 million cap hit is tied for eighth among NHL centers next season, according to capfriendly.com. He doesn’t have any trade protection in the contract. 

Johansen, who was a restricted free agent, tied for the team lead last season with 61 points, including a career-high 47 assists. 

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Nashville Predators announced a new eight-year contract with center Ryan Johansen.
Autumn Allison/USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee

He, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson merged to form what arguably was the NHL’s most fearsome forward line. They combined for 180 points and controlled 58.9 percent of total shot attempts when on the ice together, according to datarink.com. That percentage was the league’s highest among 10 lines that played at least 600 minutes. 

All three players are under contract for at least the next…