About Salary Arbitration?

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by abev, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. abev

    abev Registered User

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    Is it safe so assume that in nearly every case of salary arbitration that the player has been made an offer and they feel they are worth more than that offer?

    And is it also safe to assume that the club feels the player isnt worth as much as the player thinks he is?

    Or can it just come down to a mutal agreement where the club says "lets not even talk $ and get involved in going back and forth, let an arbitrator do it."

    I just have this feeling like arbitration means disagreement.

    ("You know what happens when you assume" responses not required)
     
  2. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    Yes, it's about disagreement.

    I doubt the "lets not even talk $ and get involved in going back and forth, let an arbitrator do it" ever happens. The only time I've ever heard a GM make this claim was DW with Korolyuk, but I take that with a grain of salt.

    In many/most cases, the RFA has not been made an offer (other than the required Qualifying Offer to retain RFA rights) by the time they elect arbitration. The window to file for arbitration is pretty early and most GMs are focusing on UFAs, not RFAs at that time.

    But also remember, just because a player (or team) files for arbitration, doesn't mean it ever gets that far. The majority of arbitration filings end up with a new negotiated contract before ever reaching the arbitration hearing or award.

    There are other factors to consider, too:

    A team initiated arbitration avoids a potentially messy RFA holdout.

    Arbitration filing may give the player leverage in the ongoing RFA negotiations.

    Arbitration awards are for only one or two years, so it's a tradeoff - flexibility vs the security of a longer term deal. A soon-to-be UFA may choose arbitration, maximizing his dollars, knowing he would be a UFA after the arbitration contract. A younger player may prefer a lower annual salary, long term deal, rather than the risk of a 1 yr deal - injuries, bad season, etc.
     
  3. gooseman

    gooseman Registered User

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    Also, remember that a majority of the arbitration cases never go to the arbitrator, it is something that teams and players normally want to avoid. It is normally an indication that the player or team feels they might end up in an impasse, and as kdb stated, the window for filing is short, so they file just in case. It tends to force the sides into negotiations before they reach the arbitration date.

    Arbitration hearings are almost always bloody, the player's agent saying how great the player is and horrible the team is, and the team rips apart every aspect of the player. Things are often said that are hard to mend between the player and management.

    Some GM's will openly say they want players to file, Lombardi was one when he was in SJ, but once a player would file he would try to get them signed as quickly as possible. It will be interesting to see how he behaves in LA now that he can initiate the action. On the Koryluk case, that was a situation where the player and agent would not even sit down, he was simply going to Europe, and DW protected his future rights by following through with the arbitration. Alex is now still owned by SJ, he can't come back as a UFA at will.
     

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