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Predators Sign UFA Erik Haula in Free Agency

It appears at least five NHL teams are circling around the idea of adding NHL free agent center Erik Haula. Who and at what price?

As per multiple sources and as confirmed by the Nashville Predators, the Preds have inked free agent center Erik Haula to a one-year deal on Wednesday. This is the second big signing for the Predators in 24 hours as they also signed Mikael Granlund.


The deal is for one year and a very friendly rate of $1.75 million.

According to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period on Monday, there were at least five NHL teams who have circled back on Haula, Predators being one of them. A player many insiders have been watching closely since free agency began, Haula seemed to miss the first wave of free agency signings and is now waiting for a team in dire straits to come calling and offer anywhere close to his asking price. With the $1.75 price tag, it doesn’t appear that happened.

Related: Duclair Reveals Why He Represented Himself in Free Agency

This report from Pagnotta came just two days after Chris Johnston noted there was new urgency from free agents and teams to get deals finalized. Haula, 29, was in that group.

Haula was easily one of the best centers still available on the open market. He ranked just outside the Top 50 UFA ranking and some had suggested he’d be worth between $3 and $4 million per season on a three-term. Clearly, teams weren’t willing to bite on that price, or simply didn’t have the room, even if they wanted to.

What it looks like has happened, is that Haula chose a one-year deal and then to test the free agent market again in the upcoming offseason.

Why Such a Good Value?

One of the reasons that a one-year deal seemed potentially more likely is because the problem for Haula is that his numbers have trended downward in the past two seasons. This is not good timing when you consider the market is already hurting.

Haula was badly injured while a part of the Vegas Golden Knights team in 2018-19, returned in 2019-20 with the Carolina Hurricanes and never quite found his rhythm, scoring just 12 goals and 22 points in 41 games. The Hurricanes traded him to the Florida Panthers and he scored just two points in seven games.

Which Player is Haula?

The question the Predators will be asking now is which player is Haula? Is he the player who once scored 29 goals and 55-points (the 2017-18 season) or is he the player teams have been watching over the past two seasons?

If he turns his game around again, he could be a strong middle-six center for GM David Poile at a bargain price.

Next: Renewed Urgency for Free Agents Like Mike Hoffman

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