Two of the Dallas Stars restricted free agents, Antoine Roussel and Cameron Gaunce, filed for arbitration before the arbitration deadline today according to Mike Heika.
I'm hearing Antoine Roussel and Cameron Gaunce have filed for arbitration. Stars will still negotiate and try to come to deal beforehand.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) July 5, 2014
The first thing to make clear is that this does not mean that Roussel or Gaunce are unhappy with the Dallas Stars. Filing for arbitration is just something that RFAs can use in order to strengthen their bargaining position when it comes to getting a new contract. They can still negotiate and sign a contract before the case goes before an arbitrator.
Just to clarify. Players are not unhappy with Stars. This is one step in negotiations. They have the rights, so why not use them?— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) July 5, 2014
Cases are heard during July and August and within 48 hours of a decision a team must decide to agree to the suggestion of the arbitrator. If they decline the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.
They consider a variety of factors that will help them decide what a RFA should be paid by a team.
The evidence that can be used in arbitration cases:
Evidence that is not admissible:
- 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.
- The salary and performance of a "comparable" player who signed a contract as an unrestricted free agent.
- Testimonials, video and media reports.
- The financial state of the team.
- The salary cap and the state of the team's payroll.
This doesn't mean it will go as far as the arbitrator. It is just a bargaining tool that the RFAs can use to get a little leverage on the organization.