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Season in Review: Nick Spaling

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Nick Spaling was a hot take-promoting player for the Penguins this past season. He became hated by many due to his contract, but he was 'okay.' Maybe best described as vanilla. Let's take a look.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Age: 26 (September 19, 1988)

Contract Status: Under contract for the 2015/16 season followed by UFA on July 1, 2016 - AAV $2.2M

2014-15 Stats

GP

TOI/GP

Goals

Assists

Points

82

12.65 minutes 5v5

8 17

25

Corsi For %

Corsi Rel %

Quality of Comp. (TOI%)

Zone Start %

PDO

51.62%

-1.6%

51.02

-3.69

98.74


Penguins 2014-15 Forwards

pensforwards1415

Most frequent forward linemates

Linemates

Goals For%

Corsi For%

Total 5v5 time (1037:18 for Spaling)

Brandon Sutter

55.0%

49.9%

366:36

Steve Downie

65.2%

52.0%

294:10

Beau Bennett

76.9%

56.9%

219.35

Very small sample size, but the numbers that Spaling and Bennett were able to put up while on the ice together were impressive. It could be fun to see that being maybe, part of the 4th line this coming season. No idea if it would work, but maybe a 4th line of Spaling, Bennett, and Oskar Sundqvist could be fun.

Non-Contact Player, Healthy, Contract Year Coming

The Penguins needed their depth improved and Spaling helped a bit. 2.2M is a bit high, but its a short term contract so it's not that big of a deal. Going into a contract year will be interesting, and seeing what UFA forwards are getting in free agency, its already very hard to imagine Spaling being part of the future.

The Good

He was healthy for 82 games on a team that was decimated by injury. Just having an able body for that many games is a great thing to have. He improved his offensive and possession numbers from Nashville, and it will be very curious to see how they could improve if the other Penguins can stay healthy going into a contract year for Spaling.

The Bad

Complete lack of physical play has to be the first thing that comes to mind. He doesn't play bad, just lacks any force with or without the puck to be the type of player you generally see making an impact on a 3rd line, or a checking line, despite those lines becoming less and less common.

GIF of the Year

Not a GIF, but still the best. (Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty)

Preseason expectations

I think expectations were for Spaling to be a good fit in the Penguins bottom six, and despite his lack of goal scoring and physical play, I still feel that he was a good contribution.

Verdict

I think Spaling was right on cue with his expectations, and those expecting a goal scoring dynamite season were thinking way too high with theirs.

Feel free to vote in the poll below to grade Nick Spaling's season on a scale from 1 to 10. Vote based on your expectations for him coming into the season -- i.e. 1 being "he was incredibly disappointing and I want him out now", 10 being "he was outstanding even beyond my craziest expectations".