New York Hockey: arbitration

Rangers must ink RFAs

July, 14, 2011
Blueshirts fans with ESPN Insider accounts will be interested in the latest post from Doug McIntyre on today. The Insider blogger chats with Ryan Callahan's agent and explains why the Rangers need to get restricted free agents Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Boyle under contract before they go to arbitration.

The logic is simple, in an arbitration hearing the player's representation will attempt to build him up while the team will attempt to tear him down and limit the awarded salary. If you're the Rangers, that's not exactly something you want to get into if you plan on handing Callahan a 'C' in a few short months.

A second reason is that an arbitration-decided one-year contract will leave Dubinsky and Callahan as unrestricted free agents next season -- where just about every team in the league will want a shot at a couple of high-character wings capable of 20-plus goals and who demonstrate a willingness to lay down in front of a Zdeno Chara slap shot. The Rangers could always pursue extensions during the season, but think of how much more leverage they would wield on the open market.

Based on their stats, you'd have to think Dubinsky and Callahan should come in around the Brooks Laich-like $4.5 million per season range. Of course they could argue for more given their leadership roles and that they've produced their goal totals with significantly less talent around them.

An additional $9M on the books for that tandem, plus another $1M-$1.5M for Boyle leaves the Rangers with more than enough room to round out their roster this season and build onto it in 2012-13 when the contracts of Wojtek Wolski and Sean Avery come off the books.

If the Rangers can't get deals done with these core cast members ... well, then things get complicated.

The arbitration hearings begin July 21 for Dubinsky, with Boyle following on the 25th and Callahan concluding things on the 28th.

D-Day: Part Deux for Kovalchuk contract

September, 3, 2010
No, you’re not experiencing déjà vu. It’s Decision Day Deadline Day for Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils, when the league and the NHL Players Association will might announce a verdict on the Kovy contract and other long-term deals under scrutiny by the NHL. Or they could delay the decision. Again.

The only certainty is that, by 5 p.m. Friday, the league will announce something about the status of its negotiations with the NHLPA concerning the future treatment of long-term contracts. As reported Wednesday night by the Post, Kovalchuk’s 15-year, $100 million pact with the Devils hangs in the balance.

Tom Gulitti sets the stage over at Fire and Ice, quoting a source last night as saying it’s too early to tell if the sides will reach an agreement by the 5 p.m. deadline. Another deadline extension would almost certainly push the decision beyond the holiday weekend. That could be problematic if previous reports are accurate that Kovalchuk's camp has the Devils on a deadline of their own and that he may play the season in Russia if it is not met. The Kontinental Hockey League begins its season Sept. 8. (A little more on that in the Morning Links below.)

ESPN’s Scott Burnside had heard from another source Thursday night that the NHL and NHLPA were close to an accord that would make both sides look good.

Gulitti also notes that the NHLPA has begun preparing a grievance to be filed on behalf of Kovalchuk should the deal again be disallowed. That would send the contract back to arbitration.

Morning Links
  • SI’s Jim Kelley says that while it seems the league is muscling around the NHLPA, Commissioner Gary Bettman has a lot to lose if the Kovalchuk contract goes back to an arbitrator.
  • In Lou We Trust assigns some blame to the parties involved in the Kovy contract fiasco, and finds that the majority lies with the NHL.
  • A KHL vice president says the offer to Kovalchuk still stands, but that he expects him to remain in the NHL.