According to Adam Vingan of The Tennessean, the Nashville Predators and 25-year-old center Craig Smith have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday.
This, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, shows what separates the two sides heading into that hearing:
Smith, a restricted free agent, has emerged with back-to-back 20-plus goal seasons with the Predators, scoring 24 times with 52 points in 79 games in 2013-14.
His point production dipped this past season to 44 points, but he still finished tied for second on the team alongside James Neal with 23 goals, and behind only Filip Forsberg, who had 26.
“It’s just a process,” Predators GM David Poile recently told The Tennessean.
“It’s probably actually good it’s been done because we know they’re going to be signed. It’s just how much, and it gives both sides a chance to prepare as best possible for an arbitration or maybe for a settlement.”
After establishing himself with the Nashville Predators, 23-year-old forward Calle Jarnkrok has earned a one-year, $735,000 contract extension, per the team’s website.
The Detroit Red Wings selected him with the 51st overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and he went on to excel with Brynas IF Gavle in Sweden, scoring 13 goals and 42 points in 53 contests in his final campaign with the squad back in 2012-13.
After a brief stint with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins that season, he prepared for his first full AHL campaign in 2013-14. He had 13 goals and 36 points in 57 contests with Grand Rapids, but that marked the end of his tenure within the Red Wings’ organization as he was part of the package to acquire David Legwand from Nashville.
Jarnkrok went on to record two goals and nine points in 12 contests with Nashville in 2013-14. He spent the full campaign with the Predators last season, but was limited to 12:50 minutes of ice time per game and finished with seven goals and 18 points in 74 contests.
With Eric Fehr an unrestricted free agent and Nicklas Backstrom’s availability for the start of the season “up in the air” after undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery, the Washington Capitals’ situation at center is far from certain.
Washington has stated that Evgeny Kuznetsov will serve as the number two center and when Backstrom is healthy, he is the clear number one, but that still leaves the third line role undetermined.
“I think we’re going to let it play out,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan told the Washington Post. “We could address it internally, the third-line center spot, and also depending on how the contract situation plays itself out, there’s a couple options in the free agency market that we see, and we’ll explore the trade market up until training camp. There might be something in that venue.”
Andre Burakovsky, 20, is among their internal options, but they also have veteran alternatives like 29-year-old Jay Beagle.
If they do decide to sign a center to help fill the void, then their options include Stephen Weiss, Matt Cullen, Derek Roy and, of course, Fehr.
Washington does have some cap considerations though. They have a little more than $10 million in space, but still have to re-sign restricted free agents Marcus Johansson and Braden Holtby, per General Fanager.