The newest member of the Calgary Flames blueline will have a contract within the next three weeks. The NHLPA has released the schedule for arbitration hearings between clubs and players for later this month. Defenseman (and restricted free agent) Nikita Zadorov has his hearing scheduled for Aug. 26, the latest possible date.
Zadorov is a 26-year-old product of Russia who’s played as an NHL regular since 2014-15. He’s one year away from unrestricted free agency, so any arbitration result would walk him right to UFA status. That’s one reason to expect both sides to hammer out a deal before the hearing.
The other reason? Zadorov is kind of a unicorn. He’s played over 400 games but he’s not a huge offensive needle-mover in the NHL, as he has 23 goals and 83 points in his career – a points-per-game rate of just 0.20. But his defensive strength and his longevity have made him a bit of a challenge to find excellent contract comparables for.
In the last four summers, dating back to 2017, somewhat comparable defensemen on short-term deals include Erik Gudbranson (0.115 points/game, $3.5 million), Calvin de Haan (0.255 points/game, $3.3 million), Joel Edmundson (0.193 points/game, $3.1 million), Cody Ceci (0.268 points/game, $4.5 million) and Brandon Montour (0.374 points/game, $3.85 million). As you can see, player production and their resultant contracts vary pretty wildly. There’s no straight-forward linear relationship, and depending on what peculiarities the arbitrator feels are most appropriate, there’s no telling what Zadorov might get from the process.
Advertisement
Ad
In other words, it doesn’t seem like a negotiation that’s likely to reach the actual arbitration hearing.