I decided to watch the Predators final game from last season and focused on Spaling. I took some notes, posted them in the Penguins Spaling thread, but that thread isn't even close to being on topic. Is this usually what you get from him?:
Originally Posted by Randy Butternubs
I watched the last Nashville game (@Minnesota) from this season.
Spaling wasn't too noticeable in the 1st period. He had good stick and board work. I noticed that he was playing both wings.
Then, near the start of the 2nd, he created/sustained a cycle that lead to an Ellis goal. Not sure if he got an assist. More good/sly board work behind the net that leads to another goal from a defenseman (Josi this time).
Weber just assaulted Cooke.
Spaling just cleared the puck during a PK on his backhand. That was something the Penguins PKers struggled with, even on their forehand.
Cooke gets assaulted by Clune this time. Clune with a misconduct. He just dropped his gloves after a whistle and went after Cooke.
Spaling just got some PP time in the 3rd. He did his work in front of the net. Nothing came of it though. More board play, first time I've seen him do it in the defensive zone however.
2 assists, +3, and 16:30 of ice time
Unrealted: how has Weber not won a Norris yet? We should've traded the 2nd overall that became Staal for him.
Obviously it was one of his best games. The point totals alone should show that. I'll say this, he is a better even strength player than Hornqvist in Trotz's system.
Which is more a statement on Trotz than anything.
Spaling is not and never has been a very good player, if you believe in the underlying numbers. We pickled Sergei Kostitsyn for his 13% shooting percentage, but Spaling was shooting 15 the last two seasons, and for being a defensive "dynamo," he was a horrible possession player throughout his career in the NHL, despite pretty level deployment.
He's basically Vernon Fiddler 2.0, with the same inexplicable favor from Trotz that Fiddler carried.
He's fine in the bottom 6, where Pittsburgh will play him, but I'm not a huge fan of paying that type of player 2M dollars.
I think the price tag is a little higher than I would have wanted to pay but while he will never create his own scoring chances or create them for others he does have a very good wrist shot and uses his size well when playing. He is also a really good PKer. I think the Pen are going to be happy with the player they got and it is only a 2 year contract.