Its my belief that there's always the possibility that GMJR never really wanted Spaling to be part of the Neal deal in the first place. Rather, a different asset than Spaling but the negotiations perhaps never went anywhere in terms of adding an asset other than Spaling to Hornqvist. Perhaps GMJR was underwhelmed with the other 14 offers and he wanted Hornqvist so badly that he was willing to do Nashville a favor & take Spaling in the deal to make it happen. From GMJR's point of view, this would also act as an insurance in case he came up empty handed with any reasonably priced UFA signings for the botom 6. You never know. Also, I recall reading elsehwere that Poile was experiencing difficulties signing Spaling before the trade and realized that they probably weren't going to meet his contractual demands. Rather than making him an UFA in the process, why not just throw in him the deal for Neal and hope the Pens bite. Should that be the case, GMJR may possibly walk away from the arbitrator's decision, thus making Spaling a UFA especially if he feels that he can sign somebody else @ a reasonable caphit like Penner, Setoguchi or Mueller.
This is something to ponder if he overspends on retaining Sutter & Spaling is awared a lofty contract...
Except that JR came out right after the trade and said that Spaling was a key piece in the trade. That Pittsburgh lacked bottom 6 depth last year, and Spaling was a versatile player that could line up anywhere on the 3rd line.
I've been looking for trouble... but trouble hasn't been cooperating!