A brief history of arbitration cases under Brad Treliving
Photo credit:Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
Friends, newly-acquired Calgary Flames defender Nikita Zadorov has filed for salary arbitration. His hearing is scheduled for late August, and continues a pretty storied tradition of players going to arbitration with general manager Brad Treliving. Based on history, though, don’t expect this one to hit the hearing room.
The vast, vast majority of arbitration filings have settled well before the hearing date. Here’s a snapshot of the hows and whys of the Flames’ arbitration cases under Treliving.
Joe Colborne 
After several partial NHL seasons, Colborne was acquired by the Flames and had his first full season in 2013-14. He posted 10 goals and 28 points, easily surpassing his prior season high of five points, and filed for salary arbitration. Colborne settled eight days prior to the hearing, doubling his cap hit from $600,000 to $1.275 million.
Lance Bouma 
Bouma had a superb 2014-15 season, with 16 goals and 34 points. (That almost doubled his career point total up to that point.) This season is the prototypical example of the Backlund Bump: Bouma spent 30% of his season playing with Backlund and saw all his underlying numbers sky-rocket. He settled with the Flames on a three year deal that saw his cap hit jump from $775,000 to $2.2 million – they went to the hearing room but agreed to a new deal a day later, before the verdict could be announced.
Josh Jooris 
Jooris made the jump to the NHL in 2014-15 and had a really nice season, with 12 goals and 24 points as a rookie. He qualified for arbitration because of his age – he was a college player and so he signed later and qualified quicker. He ended up settling with the Flames four days before his hearing, bumping his $925,000 cap hit up to $975,000.
Paul Byron 
After three seasons split between the NHL and AHL (on one year contracts), Byron became a full-time NHLer in 2014-15 and posted six goals and 19 points. He settled with the Flames four days before his hearing on a one year deal that bumped his cap hit from $600,000 to $900,000.
Micheal Ferland 
Two years prior, Ferland split his season between the NHL and AHL. One year prior, Ferland was a full-time depth NHLer. But in 2016-17, Ferland emerged as a good NHLer with 15 goals and 25 points and played most of the season with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. He signed a two year deal with the Flames nine days before the hearing, bumping his cap hit up from $825,000 to $1.75 million.
Garnet Hathaway 
Hathaway split 2017-18 between the NHL and the AHL, but he was great as a depth player down the stretch. He settled with the Flames the day of his hearing, going from a $650,000 cap hit to a $850,000 cap hit.
Mark Jankowski 
Jankowski had a weirdly good 2017-18 season, including scoring 17 goals and 25 points – boosted by four goals against Vegas on the final day of the season. He settled with the Flames two days before his hearing, moving his cap hit from $1.493 million to $1.675 million.
Brett Kulak 
The only player who went to the hearing and had a verdict announced, Kulak had a quietly good 2017-18 season as a bottom pairing defender. He went from a $650,000 cap hit to a $900,000 cap hit, and was promptly traded to Montreal to open up a roster spot for Juuso Valimaki.
Elias Lindholm 
Lindholm’s representatives filed for arbitration right after arriving in Calgary from Carolina, primarily to put a clock on a contract negotiation with his new team. He signed his new deal with the Flames two weeks before the hearing date, going from $2.7 million AAV to $4.85 million AAV – still a bargain.
David Rittich [2018 & 2019]
Rittich went to arbitration twice. In 2018, he had wrested the backup job away from Eddie Lack and had a pretty good season – though he faded down the stretch when Mike Smith got hurt. He settled two days before the hearing and went from a $725,000 cap hit to $800,000. In 2019, he had played half of the 2018-19 season at a Vezina Trophy clip before suffering a knee sprain and fading down the stretch, eventually losing the net in the playoffs to Smith. He settled two days before the hearing (again), and went from $800,000 AAV to $2.75 million AAV.
Rinat Valiev 
Valiev was a minor leaguer and the filing was basically just to get some urgency behind that particular negotiation. He settled two weeks before the hearing for a deal that bumped him from $650,000 to $700,000, and that was because league minimum salary changed in the CBA that off-season.
Sam Bennett 
Bennett was coming off a good (but not great) 2018-19 season where he had 13 goals and 27 points. He settled with the club three days before the hearing date, bumping his cap hit from $1.95 million to $2.55 million.
Ryan Lomberg 
Lomberg was a minor leaguer and the filing was basically just to get some urgency behind that particular negotiation. He settled two weeks before the hearing for a deal that actually saw him take a pay cut from $710,000 to $700,000, but get more AHL salary in the deal.
Andrew Mangiapane 
Mangiapane became a full-time NHLer in 2019-20 after a few promising partial seasons. He had 17 goals and 32 points, forcing his way into the team’s top nine through being very good at ice hockey. He settled with the Flames four days before the hearing for a deal that converted his $710,000 “show me” deal into a multi-year deal with a $2.425 million cap hit.
Salary arbitration, at least in terms of the Flames, is usually filed for by players who took a step the prior season but it’s not quite sure what they are yet at the NHL level. It puts a deadline for negotiations before an independent third party imposes a deal. As such, almost all of the Flames’ arbitration cases have been settled way before the hearing date – usually four or five days.
You may notice that most of the players the Flames went to arbitration with aren’t with the organization anymore. That’s probably more of a case of “we’re not sure what you are” than “you filed for arbitration against us,” in the sense that the player may have a different idea of their role and/or value to the club than the club does and the arbitration and negotiation process exposes that gap and leads to a parting of ways. In a few cases – Bennett and Ferland come to mind – it could also make it apparent to the team that they wouldn’t be able to afford that player long-term once they’re approaching their next deal.
Long story short: expect Zadorov to sign a deal with the Flames well before his hearing date.
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