After acquiring Nick Spaling as part of the trade with the Nashville Predators that sent James Neal the other way, the Pittsburgh Penguins have struck a deal with the restricted free agent forward. Spaling was due for an arbitration hearing Thursday morning. The deal comes with a $2.2 million annual average according to the team's announcement.
Spaling was reportedly seeking $2.85 million in arbitration while the Penguins countered at $1.65 million, so this is pretty close to the middle of those two offers.
The $2.2 million annual average represents a nice raise for Spaling who made $1.5 million last season while with the Predators. The 25-year-old forward had a career year in 2013-14 with 32 points including 13 goals in 71 games. Spaling also averaged a career-best 16:01 per game.
In 297 career NHL games, all with the Predators, Spaling has recorded 84 points. He is a former second-round draft pick.
For the Penguins, Spaling will help improve the bottom of the team's lineup which was woeful last season. The question is whether or not he brings $2 million-plus worth of improvement as a depth forward. If he continues his upward career trend, then it's possible.
Pittsburgh now has about $4.2 million in cap space remaining with Brandon Sutter left to re-sign as a restricted free agent.