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Happy Birthday, Nick Spaling

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NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 13:  Ray Whitney #13 of the Phoenix Coyotes takes a faceoff against Nick Spaling #13 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on October 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 13: Ray Whitney #13 of the Phoenix Coyotes takes a faceoff against Nick Spaling #13 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on October 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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Today's Nashville Predators birthday boy is Nick Spaling, who turns 24:


Nick Spaling

#13 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-1

198

Sep 19, 1988



G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Nick Spaling 10 12 22 -7 18

Spals has forever earned his place in Predators lore due to some standout efforts during the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. His scored two goals in Game 5 against Anaheim to help lift the Preds to their first-ever playoff series victory, and assisted on Matt Halischuk's thrilling OT winner in Game 2 of the next round against Vancouver.

Nick is one of the few guys on the team who could have, but didn't receive a contract extension this summer, and it will be interesting to see where he fits into the mix, given the rise of younger players like Craig Smith & Gabriel Bourque, and the signing of Paul Gaustad to be the team's primary PK center and faceoff specialist. Will he fulfill that Vern Fiddler 2.0 potential and become the utility player who can shift from line to line as needed, or might he get squeezed out by the competition up front?