The final arbitration case of the 2019 off-season is in the books. The Nashville Predators announced that the independent arbitrator has awarded forward Rocco Grimaldi a one-year, one-way, $1MM contract. The Predators had requested a minimum $700K salary and two-way contract for Grimaldi, while the 26-year-old filed at $1.275MM, resulting in a $988K midpoint for the case. As such, this award is a win for Grimaldi’s camp in terms of both the nature and value of the contract.
Grimaldi finally found a fit for himself in Nashville last season and failing to impress in stops with the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche. After recording ten points in his previous 37 NHL appearances over four seasons, Grimaldi played in 53 games for the Predators last season and contributed 13 points, plus three goals in five playoff games, while also developing an effective two-way game. Given his meager 5’6″ frame, Grimaldi’s defensive growth came as a nice addition, as did his ability to win puck battles and create offense when called upon by the team.
There are still doubts that the former University of North Dakota star can be a regular in the NHL, seeing as Nashville still sat him for nearly 30 games last season. However, a one-way deal makes it even less likely that the Predators will try to pass Grimaldi through waivers this season. Most likely, he will continue to serve an important depth role and could fight for even more starts in the upcoming campaign.
The award for Grimaldi currently leaves the Predators with just $1.34MM in projected cap space. However, he was their final unsigned restricted free agent, meaning Nashville is done adding to the payroll if they so choose. Additionally, that projection also accounts for 24 players, meaning the team will open up additional space when they are forced to cut a player from camp.