The arbitration figures for the last few cases came out fast and furious today from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Rocco Grimaldi was third, with Friedman reporting that the forward submitted a $1.275MM ask while the Nashville Predators filed for a $700K/$200K two-way contract. Grimaldi is scheduled for a hearing on Sunday. It is important to remember that the two sides can continue to negotiate up to (and for a short period after) the hearing. The arbitrator does also not need to choose one filing or the other, but will almost always decide on a number near the mid-point of the two.
Grimaldi, 26, received the biggest opportunity of his professional career last season with the Predators when the team dressed him for 53 games. The former University of North Dakota standout had previously played just 47 NHL games in his entire career, despite being the 33rd pick in 2011. It’s not like he hasn’t kept up his offense, as Grimaldi has routinely been one of the most dangerous players in the AHL. His height however—standing at a generous 5’6″—still likely plays a part in how teams and scouts evaluate him for the NHL.
Regardless of his stature, Grimaldi became a valuable part of the Predators this season. Though he recorded just 13 points when he was on the ice the shot totals were drastically shifted in Nashville’s favor, and though part of that is quality of competition there is nothing wrong with having your fourth line feed the other team’s their lunch on a regular basis. Grimaldi averaged just ten minutes per game, but was effective in that role.
In the postseason he was given even more responsibility and it paid off. Grimaldi scored three goals in five games for the Predators, which amazingly actually led the entire team. Roman Josi was the only other Predator to score more than one goal in their first round loss to the Dallas Stars.
Grimaldi is coming off a one-year, two-way contract with the Predators that carried a $650K salary in the NHL, meaning he’s going to get a raise no matter what happens through arbitration. The league minimum has increased to $700K this season and it seems likely that he will be able to secure a deal even higher than that. Whether he can keep his job on the NHL roster is another story, but one that he’s ready to fight for.