Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

How Will The Blackhawks Handle Antti Niemi?

from Jesse Rogers from ESPN Chicago,

Antti Niemi’s arbitration technically got underway on Tuesday when both sides exchanged written briefs in advance of their hearing on Thursday. All signs point to the Hawks going to arbitration for just the second time with a player (Kyle Calder in 2006) since the current CBA was signed.

As Niemi’s agent, Bill Zito, put it to me on Tuesday, this is an atypical arbitration.

“Most arbitrations are a disagreement in a player’s worth,” he said. “In this case, it’s about managing the [salary] cap.”

Sounds like the Hawks want to pay him, they just can’t. But is that entirely true?

First off, Niemi could accept less. Of course, that brings up the question, less than what? It’s simply more about accepting what the Hawks can afford. And therein lies the rub.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi

Comments

Avatar

“Most arbitrations are a disagreement in a player’s worth,” he said. “In this case, it’s about managing the [salary] cap.”

This could be interesting.  That may be how the negotiations went, but if Chicago wants to keep the cap hit low then they’re going to have to talk down his play/importance (I don’t imagine “we want to pay him more but can’t afford to” is an acceptable argument in arbitration) and it might be hard not to take that personally if the arbitrator sides with Chicago.

Ah well, I’m rooting for Niemi because…well…f*ck Chicago!

Posted by Garth on 07/27/10 at 08:24 PM ET

Avatar

“Most arbitrations are a disagreement in a player’s worth,” he said. “In this case, it’s about managing the [salary] cap.”

An arbitrator take a team’s salary cap issues into account? That seems real wrong. I won’t believe it ‘til I see it.

Posted by NathanBC on 07/27/10 at 09:00 PM ET

Moq's avatar

An arbitrator take a team’s salary cap issues into account? That seems real wrong. I won’t believe it ‘til I see it.

No, the arbitration process can’t take the team’s salary cap situation or general financial status into consideration. Admissible and inadmissible types of evidence are mentioned in section 12.9.(g) of the CBA.

I think you misunderstood the quote by Niemi’s agent.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 07/27/10 at 09:18 PM ET

Avatar

But

If they disagreed on his worth (translated to dollars) they would go to arbitration.

But they say they don’t, the salary cap is the factor.

Chicago wants to give him x amount, to fit in the cap, but Niemi wants x (higher) amount, which you would think still fits in the cap.

Isn’t that the agent thinking his worth is greater than the GM does?

Posted by NathanBC on 07/27/10 at 09:30 PM ET

Avatar

If they disagreed on his worth (translated to dollars) they would go to arbitration.

Not neccesarily.  They might think he’s worth $5M a year but they certainly can’t afford that, so they have to convince the arbitrator that he ISN’T worth that, even if they don’t believe it.

Worth is not neccesarily equal to how much a team can afford to pay.

They’re currently over the cap and want to lowball Niemi so that they can stop hemorraging Stanley Cup-winning roster players.

No matter what they believe he’s worth, they can only afford to pay him less than that.  On that basis, they haven’t agreed to terms.  Therefore, under the rules they have to go to arbitration.  And again, no matter what Chicago believes he’s worth, they have to try to convince the arbitrator to award him less.

This is all most likely posturing from the agent.  He wants everyone to think Chicago has said that he’s worth more than they’re offering which, if you believe it, would blow a pretty giant hole in Chicago’s argument.

Posted by Garth on 07/27/10 at 10:10 PM ET

Moq's avatar

Isn’t that the agent thinking his worth is greater than the GM does?

That probably applies to most negotiations between agent and GM.

In this case, the Chicago GM needs to save cap where he can. Under less strenuous cap circumstances, the salary differences could probably have been bridged. But there’s a chance that the arbitration decision could be lower than the current level of worth reached during negotiations, however reasonable, and help Chicago fill their roster financially. Perhaps.

As the article reasons, the salary difference between keeping Niemi (without sacrificing other players) or letting him go is rather fine. The best chance seems to be arbitration, even if it looks slim to me.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 07/27/10 at 10:12 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

image

image