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Predators forward Patric Hornqvist signs 5-year, $21.5 million contract with Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009, the Nashville Predators began their rebuilding process Tuesday by agreeing to a long-term deal with forward Patric Hornqvist.

Hornqvist signed a five-year, $21.25 million contract to stay in Nashville, where he has spent his five-year NHL career and has emerged as one of the Predators’ top offensive weapons.

“I think we have something really good here going,” Hornqvist said at a news conference announcing the signing. “Obviously we know we had a bad season this year. I think everybody is going to come back and improve and have a run in the playoffs next year. “

Injuries limited the 26-year-old Hornqvist to four goals and 10 assists in 24 games this season, as the Predators scored a league-low 111 goals. After advancing beyond the first round of the playoffs in 2011 and 2012, Nashville went 16-23-9 this year to finish below .500 for the first time since 2002-03.

“We absolutely missed his play this year with the injuries that he had,” Predators general manager David Poile said.

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When he’s healthy, Hornqvist is one of the Predators’ top offensive players.

Hornqvist scored 30 goals in 2009-10 to become the fourth player in franchise history to reach that benchmark. He tied for second in the NHL with eight game-winning goals that season.

He followed that up with 21 goals in 2010-11 and provided a team-high 27 goals in 2011-12. He ranks eighth on the franchise’s all-time list in power-play goals (28) and is 10th in overall goals (84).

“He is a unique player,” Poile said. “He is one of the fiercest competitors in the National Hockey League. He has that net presence like nobody else. He’s a courageous player. He can score goals. He brings a lot of energy to our team.”

Now he has a chance to continue bringing that energy for many years to come.

“I want to stay here,” Hornqvist said. “I really like it here. It’s a great place to live and great place to play, and the fans are great.”