The third and final restricted free agent has been signed.
The Nashville Predators went into the summer needing to re-sign goaltender Juuse Saros and forwards Ryan Hartman and Miikka Salomaki. Saros and Hartman put pen to paper last week while Salomaki’s player-elected arbitration hearing had been scheduled for August 2.
General Manager David Poile can now cross that date off his calendar as the 2011 second round pick signed a two-year, $1.5 million contract today.
Salomaki is in a weird spot. In theory, he should fit onto the fourth line quite nicely. He has speed, he’s willing to go into the hard areas and doesn’t shy away from physicality but can also chip in offensively. With 50 points in 75 games, he was the Milwaukee Admirals’ leading scorer in 2013-14, his first pro season in North America. His main issue, however, is he’s been in and out of the lineup often. He spent most of the 2016-17 campaign on injured reserve and then only played 58 games last season, including just eight playoff contests.
With the roster pretty much set, will Salomaki finally find a full-time spot? Or will the probable inclusion of prospect Eeli Tolvanen cause a ripple effect in the lines that pushes Salomaki out once again?