They didn’t need a neutral party to settle things after all.
On a day where they were scheduled to go to arbitration, the Bruins and Ryan Spooner agreed to a one-year deal on Wednesday with a cap hit of $2.825 million. That is essentially right in the middle of the two sides’ original offers with the Bruins offering a $2 million salary and the Spooner camp countering at $3.85 million earlier in the week.
“We are pleased with the process and are happy to have Ryan’s contract resolved. His agent, Murray Kuntz, and Ryan were both very professional, and our group was well prepared as they had worked very diligently prior to arriving at a settlement point,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said via press release. “We know Ryan has the offensive skills to be an impactful player, especially while on the power play. We expect Ryan to continue to take the necessary steps with his development to be an even more complete, two-way player.”
There’s no question that this is a slight overpay for Sweeney and company. Spooner has yet to score 20 goals or 50 points during his Boston tenure. Though last year’s drop in production was partly due to starting the year at wing before returning to his natural center position, Spooner’s consistency has plagued him at times and it ultimately proved costly for him as he was a healthy scratch in the last two games of the Bruins’ first round series with the Senators.
It hasn’t been all bad for Spooner, however. He’s been a fixture on the top Bruins power play unit over the last two years, tallying 35 points on the man advantage in that span. Only the Capitals, Sabres and Blues have a better success rate on the power play since the 2015-16 season.
Following Wednesday’s development, the Bruins have roughly $10 million in cap space. That still gives them plenty of room to signing David Pastrnak, who is one of Boston’s representatives in China this week joining Torey Krug, Tuukka Rask and former Bruin Hal Gill.
Spooner will still have RFA status after the 2017-18 season. Given his production over his first two full seasons in Boston, this is unquestionably a make or break season for the Bruins’ third line center.
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