Dallas Stars forward Antoine Roussel filed for player-elected salary arbitration this summer. It's one of the few bargaining tools that restricted free agents have in the NHL.
His hearing is set for Tuesday, July 22nd. If a deal is not reached before that time, the player and team will meet in Toronto where a third party arbitrator will hear arguments from both sides before ruling on a salary amount, on a one or two year deal. The team can then elect to agree to that amount or Antoine Roussel can become an unrestricted free agent.
Elliotte Friedman this morning reported that Roussel is asking for $2.35 million in arbitration while the Dallas Stars are looking for $1.15 million.
Roussel (DAL) ask is 2.35 in arb. Team counter is 1.15.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 20, 2014
Since one of the main parts of the arbitration negotiations are comparable contracts, I took to the ever-wonderful world of CapGeek to get a look at restricted free agents that had signed deals in that range in the last year. Not surprisingly, there aren't a lot of them to compare.
|Player||Position||Current Age||Status||First year of deal||Cap Hit||Prior year's stats||PPG|
|Carl Hagelin||LW||25||RFA||2013-2014||$2.25 M||48 GP: 10 G, 14 A, 24 Pts||0.50|
|Brayden Schenn||C||22||RFA||2014-2015||$2.5 M||82 GP: 20 G, 21 A, 41 Pts||0.50|
|Alex Killorn||C||24||RFA||2014-2015||$2.55 M||82 GP: 17 G, 24 A, 41 Pts||0.50|
|Mikkel Boedker||LW||24||RFA||2013-2014||$2.55 M||48 GP: 7 G, 19 A, 26 Pts||0.54|
|Antoine Roussel||LW||24||RFA||2014-2015||???||81 GP: 14 G, 15 A, 29 Pts||0.36|
I think the largest part of this that the team is going to point at for not giving Roussel a salary in this range is the points per game rate. All of the players that signed these $2M+ deals had a PPG of around 0.50, while Roussel clocks in at only 0.36.
While advanced possession metrics like Corsi aren't able to be used in arbitration hearings, I believe that evidence of the player's contributions to the overall success of the team can be provided.
|Player||Corsi||PP TOI||PK TOI|
I would imagine that Roussel's agent might use these contracts as comparables and then leverage the fact that so many of those players benefited from a much higher power play time on ice than Roussel inflated these guys' point totals. He also had a very big role as a penalty killing forward on the team as the second highest forward in short handed playing time.
Is that worth a $2.35 million contract?
I don't see it being that high for Roussel's next contract. Both Ryan Garbutt and Roussel played similar roles on the team and provided similar production, with Roussel leading in the penalty minute department (though both have a tendency to take dumb offensive zone penalties). While you can't use Garbutt's deal as a comparable in the arbitration hearing since he signed as an unrestricted free agent, I still believe Roussel's contract will be similar to that.
Garbutt signed a three year, $1.8 million average cap hit deal earlier this year.