While all of us are unfortunately caught up in all of the Erik Karlsson rumours, news broke about two of the team’s important young players on Friday afternoon.
As per TSN’s Brent Wallace, forward Mark Stone and defenceman Cody Ceci have filed for player-elected arbitration by today’s 5:00pm deadline. This means that neither can accept an offer sheet (if magically proposed), and that both will be back with the Senators next season unless there’s a trade.
Stone is coming off a career year (20G, 42A, 62P in 58GP) and a three-year contract that carried a $3.5M cap hit. He made $4.5M in salary last year, and is expected to come in at around the $7-8M mark. Ceci is coming off a two-year contract ($2.8M cap hit) and made $3.35M in salary. With Karlsson expected to leave via trade, Ceci is likely to be thrust into first-pairing minutes and it’ll be interesting to see how the team handles his case.
Last year, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Ryan Dzingel both filed for arbitration, but contracts were settled before their case was heard. We’ll keep you updated on when they’re scheduled to meet with the arbitrator, as it would present a deadline for the Sens to avoid another potential messy situation. The last known cases where the team and player had their cases heard by the independent arbitrator was three years ago, when ex-forwards Mike Hoffman and Alex Chiasson were restricted free agents.
Finally, with two players filing for arbitration, the team will have opened up a second buyout window where Pierre Dorion and co. could consider shedding the contract of Marian Gaborik. Whether this will happen remains to be seen, especially with the team needing to hit the cap floor, but it is a possibility that can now be considered under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.