The Calgary Flames may have a date with one of their restricted free agents and an arbiter. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov has filed for salary arbitration, according to a list published by the National Hockey League Players Association.
Zadorov, 26, was acquired from Chicago on Wednesday in exchange for a third round pick. He was a first round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft and had eight points in 55 games for the Blackhawks, playing out a one year contract that paid him $3.2 million against the salary cap.
Filing for salary arbitration is, if nothing else, a negotiation tactic. Nominally, it puts a clock and some urgency on negotiations and allows both sides to try to work out a deal. Otherwise, they go to an independent arbitrator who imposes a contract. Because of Zadorov’s age, he’s only eligible for a one year deal in arbitration that walks him right to free agency. Neither camp likely wants that, so expect a multi-year deal to get hashed out before then. Sources tell us that discussions are ongoing on that front.
Eligible for arbitration but not filing were defensemen Connor Mackey and Oliver Kylington and forwards Luke Philp and Justin Kirkland. Alexander Yelesin and Carl-Johan Lerby were technically eligible to file but since they both have active contracts in Europe for 2021-22, they weren’t actually allowed to file.