Arbitration – A High Price

The arbitration process will be one that teams will strive to avoid, as the price is high.  Teams risk losing their key talent (see Roberto Luongo), or are forced to walk away from a player due to the unreasonable size of the award. 

In Buffalo with J.P. Dumont, they could have traded his rights previous to the award, but now have been forced to walk away or sign him for an unreasonable $2.9m. 

Compare this to Jan Bulis, who the Canucks recently aquired on the open market for only $1.3m:

2006 UFA Jan Bulis, 20G, 20A, 40PTS.

2006 RFA J.P. Dumont, 20G, 20A, 40PTS.

Explain to me how an RFA gets more money in arbitration than Bulis gets on the open market. 

It doesn’t make sense, and that’s why the arbitration process doesn’t work.  Unless you can get arbitrators that understand the business and game of hockey, it will won’t work. 

The only benefit of having a player going to arbitration is that you know they won’t be sitting out the season to get a deal done. 

I think that it’s unlikely for this to be common anymore.  The age of free agency is dropping every year, and with the high awards being given in arbitration, you’re going to see players going down this path more frequently in future years. 

Either to get themselves onto the free agent market, or to ensure a big pay day for at least one year.  Not that there is anything wrong with wanting to get paid a lot of money, we all do.  But players will be using the system the owners put in place to get the most they can. 

It’s ironic isn’t it.

The Chief Canuck

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