Teams aren’t waiting around for their arbitration hearings, as the Nashville Predators have joined Calgary this morning in signing one of their restricted free agents. Miikka Salomaki, who was scheduled for a hearing on August 2nd, has signed a two-year contract worth a total of $1.5MM.
Salomaki, 25, is one of several forwards who will be battling for playing time at the bottom of the Nashville roster. The Predators signed several veterans like Zac Rinaldo, Connor Brickley and Rocco Grimaldi, while still having plenty of youth in players like Eeli Tolvanen and Ryan Hartman. While his playing time isn’t guaranteed, Salomaki does give the team another inexpensive option to soak up fourth-line minutes while the Predators dish out big money to other parts of their roster. Amazingly, the team still has around $7.6MM in cap space for this season even after inking their final restricted free agent. The team looks ready to compete for the Stanley Cup again in 2018-19, and has plenty of room to make an in-season addition if necessariy.
Through 58 games with the team last season Salomaki recorded just eight points, but was used for his high energy and physical play. Ready to go into the corners against any defender, he won’t hurt you on the scoreboard despite not contributing much offensively either. That’s enough for a team like the Predators, who have plenty of offensive weapons to carry them through the game. That responsible defensive presence actually still may bring about a role for Salomaki on the team this season, especially given Tolvanen’s inexperience. At the very least he’ll be a reliable 13th forward on the club for almost league minimum.