The Fall freeze is officially over. After weeks of inactivity, the league has awoken and the signings are coming fast and furious now. After re-signing center, Mikael Granlund on Tuesday, the Nashville Predators backed that up by signing UFA forward, Erik Haula.
The one-year deal worth $1.75M is not prohibitive in any way – especially for a player who has proven capable of producing at a half-point-per-game or better over the last five seasons. The biggest question mark has been his durability. The 29-year-old has missed nearly 90 contests over the last two seasons. He missed a month in November 2019 but was healthy the rest of the way through 2019-20.
This move will add some offensive pop to the middle of the lineup for a team that is constantly in search of more goals. You shouldn’t expect any peripheral stats to be added to his repertoire though. Haula will bring a veteran boost to the second power-play unit and add some even-strength play creation, but the upside will depend on the opportunities. At first blush, you can expect those opportunities to be secondary.
Haula’s addition adds another hurdle for youngsters such as Philip Tomasino, Yakov Trenin, and Eeli Tolvanen to crack the main roster out of camp and push for real ice time. This is in line with where the club envisions its chances. Nashville will attempt to keep their competitive window open in the short term before adding those young pieces to core on the fly.
Adding Granlund and Haula at solid prices with no term secures that plan.