Wednesday's notes: SK74's journey to a new contract

ATLANTA GA - DECEMBER 06: Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Atlanta Thrashers battles for the puck against Sergei Kostitsyn #74 of the Nashville Predators at Philips Arena on December 6 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

With Sergei Kostitsyn filing for salary arbitration yesterday, I thought it might be worthwhile to review the steps involved here:

  • The first important date is this Friday, when an arbitrator will rule on the NHLPA's grievance over Nashville's restricted free agents. If he rules in their favor, then SK74 and the rest could be immediately declared unrestricted free agents, and they hit the broader market.
  • If the Predators win, SK74 remains an RFA, and they can continue to negotiate.
  • The salary arbitration hearing takes place sometime late July through mid-August. Each side is allowed to present their case, including relevant statistics, and comparable contracts signed by other restricted free agents around the league. That means for the purpose of arbitration, the UFA deals we've seen this summer (Joel Ward, etc.) are not relevant to the discussion.
  • The team gets to choose whether the term of the new contract is for one or two seasons. That's because the player elected to file for arbitration. In Shea Weber's case, since the team filed for arbitration, he gets to make the one- vs. two-year call.
  • After the hearing, the arbitrator has 48 hours to issue his ruling. The team and player can continue negotiating, if they like, all the way up until that ruling gets handed down. Quite often, you'll see deals struck right before the arbitration hearing begins.
  • Since SK74's is a player-elected arbitration, the team has the right to walk away from the result (as long as the salary is over $1 million, which this one surely will be) if they deem it too expensive, making the player an unrestricted free agent immediately.
  • UPDATE: One additional point I overlooked is that because this case is on the track towards arbitration, Kostitsyn is no longer open to receiving Offer Sheets from other teams. Blueshirt Banter pointed this out in a discussion of their RFA's, and I confirmed it after digging through the CBA.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of these situations get settled before the arbitration hearing ever occurs. Arbitration can be an ugly business between player and team, and is a situation few parties really want to get into.

Follow after the jump for your morning hockey notes...

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Nashville Predators News

First off, Pete Weber's been a busy guy lately! He joined Hockey This Morning yesterday to talk about the Cody Franson trade, among other items:

Pete Weber on NHL Home Ice 20110705 (mp3)

The View from 111: Predators Represented at 19,200 Feet
Has a Preds flag ever flown higher? Super-cool stuff here!

David Elsner to play in North America next season - Nashville Predators Examiner
Goc is gone, but is the Next Germanic Hope on the way?

Preds have an interesting start to Free Agency - NHL Hot Stove
Tyler surveys the last week of activity here in Nashville, and ponders what's coming next.

Preds draft 6-foot-5 Magnus Hellberg, offer trio of rangy goalies they hope alter game | Nashville City Paper
He's long, and strong, and down to get the goaltending on...

Around the NHL

Why #68 Signing in Philly Is A Good Thing - PensBurgh
After Jaromir Jagr passed on them, the Penguins signed Steve Sullivan. Might that, in the end, work out better?

A few stars still looking for work - The Globe and Mail
Eric Duhatschek reviews some of the big names on the market, which include Jason Arnott, Chris Drury, Cory Stillman, and a bunch more.

The Malik Report : Foot in or foot out? Khan says the Red Wings may sign Ty Conklin after all
Detroit may go back to a familiar backup goalie.

Keith Yandle Re-Signs with the Coyotes - Five For Howling
The Phoenix blueliner enjoyed a breakout year with 59 points, and cashes in big-time.

Filtering GM Speak and Some Speculation | Hockey Independent
Al breaks out his secret decoder ring to work through the PR-speak in Chicago.

Bourne Blog: After Heatley/Havlat trade, value of a fresh start - Puck Daddy
Might this trade turn out to be a win-win? That's entirely possible, writes Jason Bourne.

Reliant Stadium game just couldn't be worked out - The Dallas Morning News
Well, this stinks. An outdoor hockey game in Houston would've been a novelty for the ages.

Rangers Analysis: Sather's Built Tortorella the Team He Wants - Blueshirt Banter
If this is indeed the case, then there will be lots of pressure on the Rangers coach to deliver this season.

Frenzy Notes : Tom Benjamin's NHL Blog
Tom's representative of Vancouver fans who are shaking their heads at Christian Ehrhoff's contract with Buffalo.

How to Save College Hockey - Western College Hockey Blog
The earth is really shifting under the college hockey world these days.

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