During their game against Florida last night, the Nashville Predators announced that they have inked defenseman Matt Irwin to a one year contract extension. The deal will carry a cap hit of $650K, which represents a raise of $75K over his current salary. However, it’s also the new league minimum salary beginning next season.
Irwin is in his first year with the Predators and after clearing waivers and starting the year in the minors, he has become a regular on their third pairing. In 33 games this season, he has three goals and five assists to go along with a team-best +14 rating while averaging 16:42 of ice time per night.
The contract also carries some importance from an expansion draft standpoint. If the team decides to protect four defensemen (P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Mattias Ekholm), this deal allows the Predators to meet the exposure requirement for the draft, assuming Irwin plays in seven more games this season. Every team must expose one defender who is signed for 2017-18 and played in at least 40 games in 2016-17 (or 70 games in the past two seasons combined) and their other signed blueliners (Petter Granberg and Anthony Bitetto), are much further away from reaching that.