David Poile has defused at least some of the RFA Offer Sheet issue by signing four of his restricted free agents to new contracts today, including Nick Spaling, Cal O`Reilly, Matt Halischuk, and Chris Mueller. With Linus Klasen back in Sweden and Andreas Thuresson traded to New York, that leaves Sergei Kostitsyn as the major open question right now.
At $1 million for Spaling, $1.05 million for O`Reilly, and $600K for Halischuk (all one-way) these are certainly affordable deals to flesh out the forward ranks and leave money available for other free agents or trade targets.
Follow after the jump for the team's press release...
From the Nashville Predators:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed forwards Matt Halischuk and Nick Spaling to two-year contracts, and forwards Chris Mueller and Cal O'Reilly to one-year deals. Halischuk's contract is worth $1.425 million, paying him $600,000 in 2011-12 and $825,000 in 2012-13 while Spaling's contract is worth $2.1 million, paying him $1 million in 2011-12 and $1.1 million in 2012-13. O'Reilly's contract will see him earn $1.05 million in 2011-12 and Mueller's two-way contract will see him paid $550,000 at the NHL level and $65,000 at the AHL level.
Halischuk, 23 (6/1/88), led Nashville rookies in points (4g-8a-12pts) making his team debut on Jan. 16, 2011 at Chicago and playing 27 of the team's final 38 regular-season games. The Toronto, Ont., native also suited up for all 12 of Nashville's 2011 Stanley Cup Playoff contests, recording a pair of goals, one of which ended the longest game in Predators franchise history at 14:51 of double-overtime of Nashville's 2011 Western Conference Semifinal Game Two at Vancouver. The 6-0, 185-pound right wing also ranked fifth on the 2010-11 Milwaukee Admirals in points per game (.62; 11g-12a-23pts in 37gp) and tied for third in game-winning goals (3). Halischuk was acquired from New Jersey along with a second-round selection in the 2011 Entry Draft (Magnus Hellberg) for forward Jason Arnott on June 19, 2010.
Spaling, 22 (9/19/88), spent his first full season at the NHL level in 2010-11, posting 14 points (8g-6a) in 74 games; the Predators were a perfect 11-0-0 when he registered a point. The Drayton, Ont., native also posted six points (2g-4a) during the Predators 2011 playoff run, scoring two goals, including the series-clinching goal in Nashville's Western Conference Quarterfinal series vs. Anaheim, and setting up both Jerred Smithson's overtime goal - the first in the franchise's playoff history - in a Game Five victory at Anaheim, and Halischuk's goal in the double-OT victory in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals at Vancouver. Nashville's third choice, 58th overall (second round), in the 2007 Entry Draft, ranked second among Nashville forwards in average shorthanded ice time (2:40), helping the penalty kill finish with the League's fifth-best mark (84.9 percent). The 6-1, 198-pound forward spent three seasons as a teammate of Halischuk with the Kitchener Rangers (2006-09), winning the 2008 OHL Championship and reaching the 2008 Memorial Cup Final.
O'Reilly, 24 (9/30/86), ranked second on the Predators in points (6g-12a-18pts) in 38 games upon sustaining an injury on Jan. 2, 2011 that cost him the remainder of the 2010-11 season. The 6-0, 188-pound center posted a pair of five-game point streaks in his first 27 games of last season (Oct. 30-Nov. 11 and Nov. 30-Dec. 8), helping surpass his previous career total of 16 points (5g-11a) in 42 NHL contests in 2008-09 and 2009-10. The Varna, Ont., native also averaged 16:54 of ice time in 2010-11, more than 3:30 above his career average entering the season (13:21). Nashville's fourth choice, 150th overall (fifth round) in the 2005 Entry Draft played in back-to-back AHL All-Star Games in 2009 and 2010, and finished in the top three in the AHL in assists in both the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
Mueller, 25 (3/6/86), played 15 games in two stints with the Predators (0g-3a-3pts) in 2010-11, while also leading Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) in points (24g-26a-50pts) and goals. The West Seneca, N.Y., also ranked third in the AHL in shorthanded goals (4), and tied for the Admirals team lead in game-winning goals (5) in his third professional season. Mueller was signed as a free agent by the Predators on December 27, 2010, and made his NHL debut the following night vs. Dallas. The 5-11, 180-pound right wing posted 104 points (42g-62a) and 141 penalty minutes in 166 games (missing just four contests total) with Michigan State University from 2004-08, serving as an alternate captain during his junior and senior seasons and helping the Spartans win the 2007 NCAA National Championship.