The Nashville Predators will start the 2013-14 season looking to bounce back after few things went right for the team this season. The Predators have most of their veteran forwards under contract for next season, and will only have a handful of decisions to make in regards to some of their younger players. One decision that will have to be made is whether or not Nick Spaling will be coming back. Spaling will be a restricted free agent this summer, and after almost setting new career-high marks in goals and points the Predators should definitely think about giving him at least another year.
Spaling scored nine goals and had 13 points this season, almost tying his career highs of 10 goals and 22 points. That put him fourth on the team in goals, a definite improvement from the 2011-12 season. The Predators struggled to score this season, so an offensively gifted depth player like Spaling can only help things moving forward. While most of the lineup battled injuries all season, Spaling played in 47 of 48 games. He’s still very young, with 226 games under his belt since the 2009-10 season. Of players that saw regular ice time, he had one of the highest shooting percentages on the team, showing he is maturing and taking better quality shots rather than just a lot of shots.
Spaling had a cap hit of a little over $1 million this season, and he could see a small raise but would still be a bargain. The Predators used a lot of their young players this season, and that’s one thing working against Spaling. With Austin Watson, Filip Forsberg, Daniel Bang and Taylor Beck all looking for more ice time, the Predators may choose to let him go seek a bigger payday elsewhere.