Johansen ready to lead Predators: 'That's why I was brought here'

John Russell / National Hockey League / Getty

Ryan Johansen signed the biggest deal ever handed out on an annual basis by the Nashville Predators on Friday, inking a $64-million contract to spend the next eight seasons in Smashville - a fact that obviously has the soon-to-be 25-year-old fired up.

Related: Poll: Did the Predators overpay Ryan Johansen?

"This is probably one of the best days of my life right now," said Johansen, according to Robby Stanley of NHL.com. "I'm just so thankful for my family and my brother and friends. They've done everything they can to guide me in the right direction and teach me and learn from."

With Johansen's future now secure with the Predators, Nashville and general manager David Poile fill a major need up the middle - a position that is arguably the club's biggest weakness.

"That's why I was brought here, to be a No. 1 center," Johansen said. "That was my motivation going into the playoffs and throughout the series and putting ourselves in a position to play in the playoffs."

Despite only spending a season and a half in Nashville, Johansen was always clear on where he wanted to be.

"This is where I belong. This is where I want to play. There's no better staff, management, team, group of guys, friends, place to live, city, fans, there's a whole list. There's no better place to be right now."

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Johansen ready to lead Predators: 'That's why I was brought here'
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