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New Penguins winger Spaling files for arbitration

| Saturday, July 5, 2014, 6:15 p.m.

Penguins right wing Nick Spaling has filed for salary arbitration.

He was one of 20 NHL restricted free agents to file before the 5 p.m. deadline on Saturday.

The other Penguins' restricted free agents β€” center Brandon Sutter, defenseman Simon Despres, right wing Jayson Megna, defenseman Philip Samuelsson and forward Bobby Farnham β€” opted against the arbitration process.

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said earlier this week that he hopes to ink Sutter, the Penguins' third-line center, to a contract extension of multiple years.

Should the Penguins and Sutter only agree on a one-year deal this summer, the 25-year-old center will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2015. The Penguins watched as millions were spent around the NHL when the free agency period opened earlier this week and would prefer Sutter not reach the open market.

Spaling is no stranger to this process. The physical winger, acquired along with right wing Patric Hornqvist in a trade for right wing James Neal during the NHL Draft, filed for arbitration last season as well.

However, Spaling's case never reached a hearing; he and the Nashville Predators agreed on a $1.5 million deal.

Spaling is coming off the finest season of his career in which he scored 13 goals. He also was one of Nashville's better penalty killers last season and is capable of playing all three forward positions.

Spaling, 25, is a veteran of five NHL seasons, all played with Nashville.

The only Penguins player to file for arbitration last season was defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, but his situation was resolved before the hearing process.

Some big names around the NHL filed for arbitration on Saturday, including Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban, Toronto goalie James Reimer and Rangers standouts Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider.

Boston defenseman Matt Bartkowski, a Mt. Lebanon native, also filed for arbitration.

Rutherford, while stopping short of saying he would sign all of the restricted free agents on the Penguins roster, said he isn't concerned about the situation.

β€œAt some point, we'll have them signed,” he said.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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