As of publishing, there are 23 players who have elected salary arbitration proceedings to drive their contract negotiations. Only restricted free agents can opt-in to the hearings.
(For the first time in what feels like ages, Ryan O’Reilly and P.K. Subban are not listed.)
From the NHLPA, here’s a list of the lucky contestants:
|Detroit Red Wings|
|New Jersey Devils|
|New York Rangers|
|Michael Del Zotto|
|St. Louis Blues|
There are some heavy hitters on this list. Players and teams can continue to negotiate contracts up until the day of the arbitration hearing date (sometime between July 20 to August 4). Conventional wisdom is to try to avoid the actual proceeding because things can get ugly.
Each side puts in a contract number they think is reasonable, and a neutral third party hears why the number is or isn’t justified.
Usually the player wants more than the team is willing to hand over. From there, the club puts up a ‘this is why you suck’ argument as to why they shouldn’t pay what the asking price is. Hurt feelings taken away from this hearing (yes, it happens) can impact a player’s decision as to if he wants to resign with the team when he hits unrestricted free agent status in the future.
Clubs have until July 6th at 5:00pm EST to declare if they are going to initiate arbitration proceedings with RFAs not listed here. Under the current CBA, a player can only go to club-elected arbitration once in their entire career.
(Read The Score’s piece on the process from last summer for more detailed information.)