Earlier this evening, restricted free agent Kyle Palmieri and twenty-three players in a similar situation filed for arbitration before the 5 PM EST deadline for players. Andrew Gross has the report at Fire & Ice as well as a note that the deadline for teams to file for arbitration is at 5 PM on Wednesday and a full list of the players who filed.
This is not exactly an uncommon occurrence in the offseason. Travis Zajac did it in 2009. Zach Parise did it in 2011. Both Eric Gelinas and Adam Larsson did it last summer. In those cases and in most arbitration cases, there was no actual hearing. The player and the team agreed on a contract before it took place. Usually, that's been the actual effect of these filings. It's to provide incentive for both the player and the team to agree on a contract before a deadline. Talks can even continue while the hearings are on going; although, those can poison the relationship between the player and the team very quickly. The team will use whatever argument they can use to minimize payment towards the player and the player may not like hearing that. Likewise, the player will use whatever argument they can use to maximize payment by the team and the team may not like hearing that either. But that's the worst case scenario.
In fact, I'm trying to recall the last Devil to actually go to arbitration. Scott Gomez from ten years ago, I think?
The point is that there's no reason to panic. If anything, this all but assures Kyle Palmieri will be wearing the red, white, and black next season. No one can give him an offer sheet at this point. The arbitrator's ruling will be a contract of some sort. Of course, if the two sides agree on a deal before there's a hearing, then he'll have a contract then. There's only two ways he isn't a Devil in 2016-17. The first is that this goes to a hearing, the hearing is completed, and the team elects to walk away from what was awarded. That would make Palmieri a complete free agent if I recall correctly; that would be a poor decision. The second is that the Devils trade Palmieri. I doubt they do that at all, although Peter Chiarelli could make a compelling offer at any given point.
As for how much a contract will be, well, back in May, I did a post guessing on how much Palmieri could get. Gross' post states the following with respect to actual negotiations and not guesses by hockey bloggers:
GM Ray Shero said last week he believed the sides were close on money, it was just a matter ofagreeing to a length of contract that makes sense for both sides.
Interesting. With Palmieri now at age 25 and eligible unrestricted free agency, term can play a big role as to whether or not the deal agreed upon will be favorable for the Devils. While the dates for arbitration are not set - they are usually announced shortly after the filing period ends - expect to see the two sides come together later this month.
One more thing, check out that list of players that filed for arbitration that Gross posted. With the Devils still sitting on a lot of cap space, it would be of interest to see how other teams handle those players. Toronto, for example, is technically over the salary cap right now. With three players filed for arbitration, some other move or moves will have to be made for space to be made. Or they walk away from those players, making them free. Likewise, Matt Hoffman filing will be the latest test to see how much Ottawa is willing to spend on their team. They have the cap space but they haven't had an internal budget that used it all in recent years. I don't expect many players to become free or available in trades since, again, these filings are done to encourage getting a deal done more quickly. It's still something to look out for in this offseason.
So, there's no need to panic yet. In the meantime, what do you think Palmieri should get in his next contract with the Devils? How much money? How long should the contract be? About when do you think we'll see a deal announced? Who else in the league should be concerned about today's arbitration filings? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Palmieri and the other players that filed for arbitration in the comments. Thank you for reading.