BOSTON (CBS) — After an offseason filled with uncertainty, Ryan Spooner and the Bruins may come to an agreement after all. The 25-year-old filed for salary arbitration with the B’s just ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, the NHLPA announced on Twitter.
Arbitration hearings are scheduled to start on July 20, but it’s rare that teams and players ever get to that point. The likelihood is that the Bruins and Spooner, a restricted free agent, reach a pre-arbitration settlement that will give the forward a raise over his previous two-year deal worth $1.9 million. Spooner scored 24 goals and 88 points with a minus-17 rating in 158 games over the course of the deal.
Recent deals indicate that Spooner, who scored 11 goals and 39 points in 2016-17, could earn an extension worth an average annual value of $2-3 million. The Rangers’ Kevin Hayes scored 36 points in 2015-16 before earning a two-year, $5.2 million pre-arbitration deal.
A former second-round pick (45th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft, Spooner has often been criticized by media and fans. He has been maligned for his slow offensive development and subpar play in the defensive end.
Spooner has also had issues with Bruins coaches. He believed that Claude Julien, who often criticized him publicly, disliked him as a player. Current head coach Bruce Cassidy told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich that he didn’t like Spooner’s offensive game.
The Bruins protected Spooner from the Vegas Golden Knights ahead of the NHL Expansion Draft, which buoyed recent trade rumors. Despite the likelihood of a new deal, Spooner still possesses a combination of speed, skill, and power play acumen that could have trade value around the league.