Shea Weber is one rich dude. The NHL elected today to award the defenseman $7.5 million, making him the unquestioned winner of the arbitration case between he and the Nashville Predators, who tried to low-ball him with a $4.75 million suggestion heading into the case.
It is the largest arbitration award ever by the league and could have far reaching consequences for many defensemen and their teams in the coming years, starting with the Drew Doughty situation in Los Angeles. Sadly for him he is not arbitration eligible but this does provide a rather buxom comparable for Doughty's agent. As a division rival, we hope he gets paid. A lot.
More pressing for our purposes, however, is what this could possibly mean for those like the Dallas Stars and Alex Goligoski next summer. (And Tylers Myers and Erik Johnson, etc...). Goligoski will have completed his fourth full season in the league and that will make him, unless I am mistaken about when he signed his EL contract (at age 22), arbitration eligible because he did not go to arbitration before signing his extension with the Penguins. Players can only go to arbitration once.
That the two players might somehow be compared at all seems silly on the face of it to many. We realize that.
Weber is the Nashville captain, a Norris finalist, the alpha male, all that is man, etc... Goligoski is seen as someone still finding his way in this league, a little unsure defensively sometimes, etc. Consider, however, that the two scored basically the same number points last year and that Goligoski's +/- was much better. Consider also that with the way he performed down the stretch in Dallas with greatly increased minutes, expectations (at least from we silly fans) are that his offensive numbers will be even better next year.
Should he have to elect salary arbitration next year, this is the admissible evidence...
- The player's "overall performance" including statistics in all previous seasons.
- Injuries, illnesses and the number of games played.
- The player's length of service with the team and in the NHL.
- The player's "overall contribution" to the team's success or failure.
- The player's "special qualities of leadership or public appeal."
- The performance and salary of any player alleged to be "comparable" to the player in the dispute.
Weber's decision may have little bearing on Goligoski's situation directly, but it's part of a larger pattern of RFA's getting bigger and bigger deals, which could be a contention in the next round of CBA negotiations next summer (a huge piece of the puzzle that will affect all free agents next year, restricted and otherwise).
It all adds up to what could be an interesting off-season next summer for Dallas between Jamie Benn and Alex Goligoski RFA negotiations, though I don't think that Benn will be arbitration eligible. Don't fret, however. I am sure that new owner will take care of everything. You know... good old "What-his-name."
In the mean time this huge award must surely dismay those who still harbor crazy dreams of acquiring Weber for our very own. Signing an RFA to a $7.5+ offer sheet means giving up four first round picks, and any trade package that would be necessary to acquire him otherwise (should the two sides have a falling out) would be just as damaging long term, if not more so.
On The Forecheck had a good run down of other Group 2 Restricted Free Agents and their contracts signed, including Keith, Seabrook, and Phaneuf.