Of the 27 players who filed for salary arbitration this summer, eight of them have since agreed to new contracts before setting foot in Toronto for their scheduled hearings.
Two players who have made the trek have both been rewarded with favourable rulings, though only one came away with a shiny new contract in hand.
The Atlanta Thrashers exercised their option to walk away from the arbitrator's ruling that would have seen Clarke MacArthur get a hefty raise, from $1.4M to $2.4M, after scoring 16 goals and 35 points for the Thrashers and Buffalo Sabres.
A second, and possibly more satisfying victory for the players' side came a day later, when the Vancouver Canucks felt compelled to accept a ruling in favour of Danish-born winger, Jannik Hansen. The team had given Hansen a qualifying offer of $605,000 (the required 10% raise from his $550,000 salary from last season), but the arbitrator sided with the player, awarding him a one-way contract worth $825,000 for the upcoming season. The Canucks had opted for a one-year deal, meaning Hansen will become an RFA again next summer.
What does this have to do with the Senators, you ask? That's a good question. Pat yourself on the back for me.
The answer is .... well frankly, not much. Except that Bryan Murray is scheduled to attend a hearing on July 30th for another Danish winger, Peter Regin.
I say not much because Regin is forbidden to introduce as evidence any rulings made this year, so if it comes down to a hearing, his agent will not be citing the 50% raise given to Hansen. That does not mean, however, that this case will not be used to negotiate Regin's contract up until the day of the hearing.
Regin is coming off a two-year contract that paid him a cap hit of $607,500 over the past two years, at the NHL level, but whose salary last season was $620,000. This means that his qualifying offer would have been $682,000. If his agent is successful at convincing either Murray or the arbitrator that his client deserves a 50% raise, then his new salary would fall somewhere around $930,000. Bryan Murray has the option to sign him early and dictate the term of the contract, but if it does go to a hearing, his options are narrowed to either a one or two year deal. Regin would have no say, if it came to that.
Without knowing the comparables submitted by Hansen's agent, Mark Stowe, we can only guess that Regin's agent would be tabling similar evidence. Both players were drafted in 2004, with Regin being taken much higher (3rd round versus 9th), though Hansen debuted in the NHL a year earlier and has more career games under his belt (107 to 86) to go along with more points (36 to 31, giving Regin the edge in points per game). Additionally, Hansen has appeared in more playoff games (14 to 6), though Regin has scored more playoff points (4 to 3).
So given Regin's better pedigree, better per-game production, bigger salary, and greater importance to his team (Hansen is a fourth line player, while Regin's agent will argue that his client plays top-6 minutes - evidence that is permissable in a hearing), it is entirely possible that Regin receives a raise similar to, or greater than, that of Hansen, or even MacArthur, percentage-wise. If the Thrashers' veteran was good for a 71% raise and the young Dane took Vancouver for a 50% bump, then expect to see Regin signed to a new cap hit in the $950,000 to .$1,075,000 range.
As for the other eight players who chose to forego their hearings and ink new deals, the list looks like this:
- Derek Meech went from $483,333 to $500,000
- Jared Boll went from $743,333 to $725,000
- Jean-Francois Jacques went from $525,000 to $615,000
- Dan Carcillo went from $893,750 to $1,075,000
- Gregory Campbell went from $762,500 to $1,100,000
- Nate Thompson went from $550,000 to $625,000
- Brad Richardson went from $587,500 to $900,000
- Patrick Kaleta went from $522,500 to $907,500
Take what you want from those figures (all reported as cap hits), but for me, the best comparable is still Jannik Hansen. None of these signings are admissable in a hearing, but if Regin works out a deal before July 30th, it's hard not to compare one Danish player to the other. For me anyway.