This summer's salary arbitration hearings will be in Toronto from July 20 to Aug. 4. The NHLPA announced the full schedule of hearings Tuesday for all 40 players who elected arbitration.
Zach Aston-Reese, the only Penguins player to elect arbitration, has his hearing scheduled for July 22, one of the earliest possible dates.
Both the team's side and the player's side must submit all evidence which will be used in the hearing 48 hours before the hearing. Each side receives 90 minutes to present its case, with time for rebuttals. The arbitrator then issues a ruling within 48 hours.
Although many players file for arbitration each year, most cases are settled before the hearing date. Last summer, 44 players filed for arbitration and 40 players reached an agreement with their teams before needing arbitration. In 2017, 30 players filed for arbitration and all cases were settled before hearings were set to begin.
One player who elected arbitration this year, Malcolm Subban, already reached a new deal with the Golden Knights just minutes after the hearing schedule was released.
As explained in the primer, restricted free agents have very little bargaining power. Electing arbitration creates pressure to get a deal done sooner. Neither side wants to sit through a hearing while the team rips the player's performance, impact and popularity to try to convince the arbitrator why the player deserves a lesser salary. It's awkward for all parties involved. Filing for arbitration gives the player a little more bargaining power because he knows the team will likely want to settle on a deal before the hearing date.
The website hockey-graphs.com projects players’ contracts based on a combination of their current salary figure, salary figures around the league, and players’ statistics from the previous season. The tool projects the salary and term by finding similar players, and averaging what the current market is for a comparable player.
The market suggests that a player like Aston-Reese is likely to command a two-year deal with an average annual value of $1.2 million.