Predicting a Fair Salary for Pittsburgh Penguins Forward Nick Spaling

By Shane Darrow
Getty Images
Getty Images

The figures for Nick Spaling‘s arbitration were finally released on Wednesday, and to say that the amount of money Spaling is asking for in arbitration is ridiculous would be an understatement. Now, the way arbitration usually works is that the player gives a number that’s always more than he’s worth, the team responds with a low-ball offer and then the dispute is settled by a neutral, third party at a hearing.

So, a player giving an over-the-top number isn’t unusual, but what Spaling is asking for is hilarious.

Spaling, who came over to the Pittsburgh Penguins as a part of the trade for James Neal, has only 93 career points in 325 career games and was paid $1.5 million by the Nashville Predators last season on a one-year deal. To put into perspective how ridiculous the amount of money Spaling is asking for, look at the forwards already on the Pens’ roster who will be paid less than $2.85 million next season.

That list includes Marcel GocBeau Bennett and Steve Downie, who have a combined salary of $3.1 million next year. The $2.85 million that Spaling is asking for is only $900,000 less than Pascal Dupuis – a regular on the Penguins’ top line – will make next season. After signing Downie and Blake Comeau in the offseason, Spaling is really just an added bonus to the bottom-six for the Pens.

The $1.65 million that the Penguins offered Spaling is fair considering his history in the NHL, but the fact is that the Pens don’t really need Spaling with the depth they have up front. It’s kind of a shame that they even need to go through the arbitration process with him.

In my mind, anything over $1.75 million is a win for Spaling, who will hopefully surprise his critics next season with the talent-infused Penguins. The best thing that can happen for the Penguins is that this deal gets settled quickly so they can focus on re-signing Brandon Sutter, who is far, far more important to the Penguins’ roster than Spaling.

With Spaling’s playing history and the likely fact that the arbitrator won’t side fully with the Penguins, I’m predicting that his contract will land at one-year and exactly $2 million, which is about $250,000 more than what he’s worth.

Shane Darrow is an NHL writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @ShaneDarrow for more up-to-date information on the NHL offseason. 

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