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Abel to Yzerman

Arbitration Rights Make A Difference

from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

This time last year, Athanasiou was in almost precisely the same position he found himself this summer, with one notable difference. In 2017, Athanasiou was coming off a 19-goal season and was a restricted free agent. But he did not have arbitration rights. An ugly, ugly negotiation ensued between the two sides that resulted in Athanasiou missing training camp and the first 10 games of the season before signing a one-year deal worth $1.4 million that left both sides bitter and upset with each other.

Contrast that to this summer when, by all indications, the Red Wings were prepared to take another tough stance on negotiations with Athanasiou. The difference this time was that Athanasiou had arbitration rights, a right he would have almost certainly elected to pursue when the deadline hit at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The same player and team that went to war last summer managed to somehow find a way to make it work five days into his tenure as a restricted free agent.

There is no way this deal gets done amicably without the threat of arbitration....

They still have to sign Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha to deals, but neither side has the option of going to arbitration because the players are too young. The Red Wings essentially view Larkin as about a $6 million-per-year player and Mantha somewhere in the $3-million range. If the two sides were faced with the possibility of going through arbitration, those deals probably would have been done by now. As it is, the Red Wings face the uncertainty of locking horns this summer with two of their top three scorers.


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So while I understand what having arbitration rights brings to the table, I don’t like the concept with the 2 remaining rfa’s.  Ken Holland has a history of paying for past performance and not current producers.  He has been overly generous with role players who are in decline.  Yet he holds the hard line with the young talent that are currently leading the team.  So if I am one of these guys and you are offering me $$ at or less than Helm or Abbie I would consider it an insult.  I would go into negotiations with these two with the assumption that they have arbitration rights.  Careers are short, every negotiation is a factor in each negotiation moving forward in their career.  The $$ compound themselves, so if you are underpaid now you will continue to be.  For these young guys, the promise of we will make it back to you after you’re on the slide, means nothing to you if the current GM wont be here when that happens.  The days of overpaying while in decline will hopefully be done.  At some point some of our talented players are going to Tavares, on us, and leave for money because we have used to much cap on ROLE Players. 

If the cap issues aren’t fixed, some other GM will grow a pair and take our players we need for the rebuild by giving them an offer sheet.

Posted by murph1jj on 07/06/18 at 01:04 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com