The Nashville Predators made a big splash in free agency today by signing center Matt Duchene to a 7-year, $56 million deal.

David Poile is finally going to get his man.

The news actually broke last night on Twitter, with both Chris Johnston and Pierre Lebrun reporting the same news:

Then earlier today, as the July 1 free agency period began, we found out more of the contract details.

The contract value changing every other year is an interesting tweak to David Poile’s normal contract negotiations. As is the modified no trade clause, which is something Poile doesn’t normally hand out.

Finally, the Predators made it official with a tweet this afternoon:

This is obviously a huge step forward for the Predators. Signing Matt Duchene to a 7-year deal might sound like a big commitment, but getting him at $8 million per year deal is a solid contract. There was talk of Duchene getting north of $9 million per year, or close to $10 million.

Not only is this is a big move by Poile, it is also an unprecedented one. Never before has Poile spent this much money on a free agent on July 1. It’s also been well over a decade since Poile landed a highly coveted center on the free agent market.

The last time was July 2nd, 2006 when Poile signed Jason Arnott to a five-year deal. That was, at the time, the largest free agent deal for the Predators.

What This Means For Nashville

With this signing, the Predators’ offense instantly gets a much needed boost.

The Preds finished 19th in the league in goals scored per game last year, the lowest ranking in the Peter Laviolette era. Things weren’t any better in the playoffs, with the Predators getting outscored 18 to 12 by the Stars in the first round.

Matt Duchene arrives in Nashville coming off a 70 point season in which he spent 50 games in Ottawa and 23 games in Columbus. He is an eight-time 20 goal scorer and a two-time 30 goal scorer, Duchene can put pucks in the net.

But it’s his playmaking that will help the Predators the most. He has an innate ability to find guys open in the offensive zone and his passing is excellent. His 315 career assists is more than any current Nashville Predators player, and almost double that of any Predators forward (Ryan Johansen has 162 assists).

Speaking of Ryan Johansen, Duchene’s arrival makes the Predators top six one of the best in the league. Assuming Laviolette keeps Johansen with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, Matt Duchene would probably center a 2nd line with Craig Smith and Mikael Granlund. Both of his wings are excellent offensively and should compliment Duchene’s game well.

With Matt Duchene now a permanent member of the top six, look for the Nashville Predators’ offense to soar.

— Featured image via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports —

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