Petr Mrazek (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Salary arbitration season in the NHL begins tomorrow, giving restricted free agents who qualify and their teams a way of coming to a contract resolution without the threat of sitting out of training camp.
It’s early July, so obviously there’s another important day coming up on the hockey calendar. Coming up next: the deadline for restricted free agents to file for arbitration, which is on the docket for Tuesday.
This will likely be a procedural day for many players because so few actually end up going the full distance in arbitration, but one thing it will do is tell us which players will definitely be in uniform for their teams at the start of training camp in the fall. That’s because arbitration forces a ruling on both sides, meaning the player is under contract for either one or two more seasons.
If the player does not file for arbitration by the deadline, teams have the option of filing on Wednesday. Both sides still have a lot of time to come to a deal however, since arbitration hearings run from July 20 to Aug. 4 and an agreement can be reached anytime before the arbitration result is announced.
Here are 10 players who are eligible who have pretty favorable cases for arbitration, along with their cap hit for 2015-16:
Petr Mrazek, G, Detroit ($737,500): In February, Mrazek had the best save percentage and goals-against average in the NHL. Even though he faded down the stretch and was not the Red Wings starting goalie in the playoffs, he finished the playoffs for them and is regarded as the Red Wings goalie of the future.
Kyle Palmieri, RW, New Jersey ($1.47 million): After being dealt to the Devils for two draft picks last summer, Palmieri broke out in a big way in 2015-16, leading the Devils in scoring and almost doubling his totals from the previous season. The Devils might want to get him signed long-term before he starts playing with Taylor Hall.
Brayden Schenn, LW, Philadelphia ($2.5 million): Playing most of the season on a line with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, Schenn established career highs in goals (26), assists (33) and points (59). In fact, he outscored teammate Jakub Voracek, who made $4.25 million last season and will start a contract in the fall that averages $8.25 million. Twenty-two of his points came on the power play.
Mike Hoffman, LW, Ottawa ($2 million): After being awarded $2 million on a one-year deal in arbitration last summer, Hoffman once again showed he’s a high-level point producer. But he was also at times benched and demoted to the fourth line by former coach Dave Cameron when the coach was not happy with his two-way play.
Tyson Barrie, D, Colorado ($2.6 million): Clouding the whole situation with Barrie is his status with the Avalanche. The team says it intends to re-sign him, but rumors of a trade, most likely to Edmonton, simply will not go away. Either way, expect the talented offensive blueliner to file for arbitration and with 102 points in the past two seasons, he’ll have a good case.
Jaden Schwartz, LW, St. Louis ($2.35 million): After back-to-back seasons of 50-plus points, Schwartz missed 49 games this season and had a 55-point pace to go along with a strong playoff. GM Doug Armstrong has insisted he wants to get a long-term deal done so if Schwartz does file, it will likely be for insurance purposes.
Marcus Johansson, RW, Washington ($3.75 million): Johansson was awarded a one-year deal in arbitration last summer and could be back, even though he had three fewer goals and one fewer point in eight fewer games in 2015-16.
Chris Kreider, LW, NY Rangers ($2.48 million): Kreider didn’t have a bad season per se, but it’s probably safe to assume more was expected of him in 2015-16. Still, he posted his second straight 20-goal season. His possession numbers aren’t flattering and he did seem to have an extended run of bad luck.
J.T. Miller, LW, NY Rangers ($874,000): Miller’s totals were almost a mirror image of Kreider’s last season, except he did it with almost one fewer minute in ice time per game and less time on the power play. Miller has at times struggled to gain the confidence of his coach, but made enormous strides in 2015-16.
Dan DeKeyser, D, Detroit ($2.2 million): DeKeyser got off to a slow start, but his game and his numbers got better as the season went on. He led all Red Wings defensemen in blocked shots and shorthanded ice time and was behind only Niklas Kronwall in overall ice time among Red Wings. His possession numbers aren’t great, which might hurt his arbitration case.