Apr 8, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Nashville Predators center Nick Spaling (13) rests on the bench during the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Predators 3-2 in the overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Spaling, Pittsburgh Penguins 'Not Close' To Deal

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired forward Nick Spaling in the deal that sent high-powered winger James Neal to Nashville.

And they’re struggling to lift Spaling’s restricted free agent status.

According to William DePaoli of Inside Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh and Spaling reportedly went into this past weekend “not close” to agreeing on a new deal, with his arbitration hearing set for Jul. 31, and there’s nothing that suggests anything has progressed since.

DePaoli also tweeted that the arbitration deadlines tend to produce new contracts, but that Spaling’s camp has analyzed Vladimir Sobotka‘s situation, in which he received $2.75 million from the St. Louis Blues after winning his hearing.

Sobotka, who’s set to play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this next season, will pocket $2.75 million should he choose to return to the NHL, but will still remain with St. Louis.

It seems to be a case where neither party is going to budge, and will ultimately lead to one side giving in to the other’s demands. Which means, in all likelihood, Pittsburgh is going to gift Spaling with what he wants.

Spaling, 25, a left-winger, has played his entire career in Nashville, after being drafted in the second-round (58th overall) of 2007. Acquired to spell the losses of various wingers – most notably Jussi Jokinen and Neal – Spaling will undoubtedly improve Pittsburgh’s third-line efficiency.

This past season with the Predators, Spaling registered a career high in points (32), goals (13), and assists (19) in 71 tilts. When you think about it, that’s pretty sufficient, considering how atrocious Nashville’s scoring was last season.

His previous career-high in points was 22 back in 2011-12, and he also performed in six more contests than this past season.

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