After much speculation on the numbers, Elliot Friedman reported today that restricted free agent Rocco Grimaldi and the Nashville Predators sit roughly $350k apart on a new contract. According to Friedman, the Predators are looking to sign Grimaldi to just above the league minimum, while Grimaldi is hoping to sign for $1.25m per year. No term was specified.
Rocco Grimaldi and NASH — team offer: 700k/200k, player ask $1.275M— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 2, 2019
Quickly endearing himself to Predators fans for his constant hustle and work ethic, Rocco Grimaldi was a key cog in the Predators’ bottom six this season. However, head coach Peter Laviolette often dropped him out of the lineup after the trade deadline brought Brian Boyle, Wayne Simmonds, and Cody McLeod into the roster. There were a plethora of bodies competing for ice time, and Grimaldi did not always make the lineup.
At the same time, in his 58 games for the Predators, Grimaldi only posted five goals and eight assists for a total of thirteen points. While his advanced stats were impressive (including a 57.6 corsi-for percentage at even strength), especially when you consider his linemates at times, he still fell short in getting the puck into the net. He finished 14th on the team in shots and, when firing the puck, he only scored on 6.2% of his shots. As much as fans may like him, that’s not good enough to warrant a notable slice of the salary cap.
Nonetheless, he did appear to make those around him play better. While that’s hard to quantify in statistics, especially when his assist total is not remarkable, he often was the first Predator into the offensive zone. He fought and dug for the puck in every corner despite standing only 5’6” tall. Anyone who watched the Predators could tell you that he showed up to play in every game he dressed this last season.
Where do you think that Rocco Grimaldi’s contract situation ends up? Will it be more towards the Predators’ league minimum, or will he earn in the neighborhood of the $1.25m he desires?