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Brendan Smith has filed for salary arbitration with the Red Wings

Updated at 7:28 PM: Via RedWingsFeed, restricted free agent defenseman Brendan Smith has filed for salary arbitration with the Red Wings. The Free Press's Helene St. James confirms that Smith, who earned $875,000 this past season (pro-rated for 48 games, of course), has indeed filed:

Jiri Hudler and Ray Sheppard are the last two Wings to have gotten to arbitration hearings, in 2009 and 1995, respectively. The Wings will "get 'er done" before the hearing, and as they're able to a) defer Daniel Alfredsson's $2 million in bonuses and b) exceed the summer cap by 10%, they won't have a hard time retaining the services of fellow restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist or Joakim Andersson, either.

Update: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and MLive's Brendan Savage confirm, and, as Savage suggests, this isn't a huge deal:

A restricted free agent, Smith can continue to negotiate on a new contract with the Red Wings until the date of the hearing, which has yet to be determined.

Smith's filing is considered a formality since the Red Wings rarely allow their cases to reach arbitration, which speeds up the process of getting a new contract in place.

The last Red Wings player to go through an arbitration hearing was Ray Sheppard in 1995.

Several Red Wings have filed for arbitration since then, including Kyle Quincey last year and Valtteri Filppula two years ago, but none of those cases were heard as an agreement was reached.

Neither side wants to go through a potentially messy arbitration hearing unless absolutely necessary.

By filing for arbitration, Smith is precluded from receiving an offer sheet from another team.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


perfection's avatar

i do hope this gets settled before the hearing only because Smith’s upside is totally unknown right now. He clearly has the potential to be an all-star caliber defenseman. With that said, he’s nowhere near there and needs to continue developing. There’s nothing like an arbitration hearing when your team has to highlight your deficiencies as persuasively as possible to stunt that development. This needs to get done without confrontation.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/10/13 at 05:57 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Smith is pissing me off. Aside from the many blunders on the ice he has been in trouble in the past. The Sheahan incident (Sheahan had his ID and was super drunk) and a few more questionable things going back as far as 2008.

Youthful indiscretions or character issues? His entire team went to bat for him including Uncle Mike. Of course he may develop into a top D man, but, that remains to be seen. Slimey agents may be behind this, but, I think at this point he is over estimating his value.

Me no likey.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 07/10/13 at 06:27 PM ET

Crater's avatar

I pointed this out over in the conversation at Winging it in MoTown. This puts Smith in the same group as Huds, Flip, and as soon as he is let go Quincey as Red Wing Busts who tried to fight for more money(and mostly got it)

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 07/10/13 at 06:48 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

This has nothing to do with the hearing itself. People who have filed for arbitration with the Wings have very regularly gotten deals done, and to some extent, the players and their agents can do so if a team is worried that it might see that player receive a RFA offer sheet as arbitration filings exempt players from RFA sheets.

This could very well have been a mutual decision. It does not reflect poorly upon his worth or loyalty to the team, and it should not be treated as a sign of betrayal or a sign that someone does not value being a Red Wing.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/10/13 at 06:50 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/10/13 at 06:50 PM ET

Thanks for the additional info.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 07/10/13 at 07:08 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

what did all the past ones file for?  Cause i dont see offer sheets flying around that often and smitty is no shae weber.

What did all the ones who FILED go for? Not the ones who actually went to hearings.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/10/13 at 07:26 PM ET


Hmmm… Sheppard, Filpulla, Hudler & Quincey.  Reads like a who’s who of guys we let have, so soon will, see depart for more money from mediocre teams.

Here’s my proposal: Smith & young forward (not Abdelkader or Andersen) for Edler—or Yandle.  Or Smith, Tater & excess forward (or maybe Quincey) for Weber.

You know Tik-tok has had such discussions in the past—and probably now again this week…

Posted by vfsvfl on 07/10/13 at 07:41 PM ET

henrymalredo's avatar

Seriously, people are taking this as a signal that Smith is being greedy and should be on his way out of town?  As George said, this is fairly normal.  I assume a deal will get done before a hearing and I don’t think Smith would get a big award anyways.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 07/10/13 at 07:47 PM ET


I love how quickly some people are willing to turn on players.

Posted by Garth on 07/10/13 at 07:48 PM ET

SYF's avatar

...the players and their agents can do so if a team is worried that it might see that player receive a RFA offer sheet as arbitration filings exempt players from RFA sheets.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/10/13 at 06:50 PM ET


This is the good side of filing for arbitration.

Posted by SYF from #GORDIEHOWEARENA on 07/10/13 at 07:57 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Lol whos turned on anyone?  Kate was pretty vocal about smitty during the season.

I want to know why, we knew huds wanted money ended up leaving asap. Qbert was expected and casual though, i just want the scoop on which way this is leaning instead od assuming everythings fine or everything not.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/10/13 at 07:57 PM ET

George Malik's avatar


This is business. Quincey filed for arbitration. Filppula filed for arbitration during a year that the team really was worried that someone would toss an offer sheet at him—think those magical Dustin Penner years—and the team was happy that he filed because it allowed them to negotiate a long-term deal with Filppula instead of having to worry about somebody tossing a silly-money offer too good to refuse, that might sever the relationship between player and team.

Sometimes players who file for arbitration are indeed pissed off at their employers and/or have agents who can’t get deals done.

Most of the time, arbitration filings are made to facilitate contract negotiations.

Given that the Wings are close to the salary cap and given that they have 3 RFA’s, I am not surprised at all that one has filed for arbitration, and it is entirely possible that the Wings may choose to file for a hearing with Nyquist or Andersson by the NHL’s team-vs-player filing deadline to further protect themselves.

In a situation like this, where you’ve got a defenseman who’s probably going to land a $2 million contract because he can skate in a straight line, and you’ve got a team up against the cap, it’s more likely than not that the arbitration filing will do little more than spur negotiations on while protecting the team from RFA sheets.

Unless we hear something from the Smith camp about frustration over the next week or two, there is absolutely nothing to worry about here. The Wings actually had many players file for salary arbitration over the years, and the point is that of all those filings, ONLY the Sheppard case went to arbitration, and the Hudler situation was complete oafishness by Petr Svoboda (Jagr’s agent) to help provide a legal basis for Hudler’s defection to the KHL.

Don’t worry too much about this. This does not speak to Smith’s disloyalty, if there is any (and I doubt it given how long a leash the Wings gave him, and how expertly they unlooped it from around his neck when Smith made game-killing mistakes, because as it turns out, they really do believe in his potential). It’s just business.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/10/13 at 07:58 PM ET


To hell with the business, off with with his head!

Seriously though, I say give him a $20 million contract. 10 years will work.

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 07/10/13 at 08:19 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Smith is one of three RFA’s in limbo status with limited salary cap available.

What this filing means is that Smith wants to get his done and stay with the Red Wings and not get caught on the outside.

Posted by RWBill from lead guitarist for The Pompous Dicks. on 07/10/13 at 08:40 PM ET

SYF's avatar

From Paul’s link:

Article 10.2:

(B) Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a Group 2 Player requests salary arbitration, or a Club requests salary arbitration, pursuant to Article 12, such Player will not be eligible to negotiate with any Club other than his Prior Club or sign an Offer Sheet pursuant to this Article 10, except as provided in Sections 12.3(a) and 12.10.

Thus proving more ammunition to George’s argument that there is not much to worry about with Smitty filing for arbitration.

Posted by SYF from #GORDIEHOWEARENA on 07/10/13 at 08:52 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

From what I’ve heard from people who know Smith off the ice, this is about what to expect from him.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 07/10/13 at 08:55 PM ET

Alan's avatar

This is simply a measure to protect both club and player. I’m not sure where “greed” or being a “sub par player” came from, but it’s completely and totally irrelevant in this discussion about Brendan Smith.

Clearly, Smith wants to stay and someone somewhere is worried about an offer sheet. With other RFAs that need contracts, and the Wings right up against the cap, I suspect Smith won’t be the only one to file.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 07/10/13 at 09:10 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I definitely don’t think this has anything to do with Smith being greedy or a traitor. It totally is business and I actually really like the him. I still think he’s going to be great.

with all of that said, none of us… and I mean NONE (including you george no matter how loudly you say it) actually know if the team told him to do it or his agent or if it is mutual or if they genuinely aren’t as close as we hope they’d be in negotiations. we just don’t know. and while it’s obviously likely that no matter the cause, it will still be solved amicably before a hearing, it’s still perfectly rational to be worried about a hearing taking place. Because Smith is definitely at a vunerable stage in his development and absolutely DOES have glaring holes, mostly due to his decision making both on and off the ice, and the team could go on at length about those holes to an arbitrator which could in fact turn things much more sour than they are now. What’s worse is it actually could damage his self image to an extent that it makes him develop slower.

It’s not likely to happen of course, but seeing that declaring arbitration is in fact the first step towards an arbitration hearing, it’s still a mild concern at the least.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/10/13 at 11:23 PM ET

perfection's avatar

i wrote above “i really like the him”... that’s not english. i sound like Holmstrom grin

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/11/13 at 12:08 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

By filing for arbitration, Smith is precluded from receiving an offer sheet from another team.

I was pissed too until I saw this sentence at the end of the post.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 07/11/13 at 10:59 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.