In this article, I will give my predictions and thoughts on all 67 players that filed for arbitration and what they will earn.Adrian Aucoin – $3 250 000
Aucoin has emerged as on of the league’s top ice-time loggers, and this year, he has made the All-Star game for the first time in his career. He had a career year in points(44), and +/- rating at +29 along with 13 goals. He has improved his scoring game very much while being able to maintain an excellent +/- rating. Because he is 31 years old and is one of the top league leading defensemen in ice-time he sure deserves a raise. I would estimate something around $4 Million.
Alex Tanguay – $1.5 Million
Tanguay has had a breakout year notching 79 points in 69 games. A average of 1.14 points per game. If he had played a full season he would of reached the 90 point plateau, the league leader, Martin St. Louis having 96. The 12th overall pick in the 1998 draft also managed to have a +30 rating. With him having this terrific pace he would of almost won the Art Ross trophy and that just tells you, BIG RAISE. Nevertheless, he is not the only star on his team and that will factor on his new money award. He is not the only star on his team like Jarome Iginla or Ilya Kovalchuk for most of the season. Despite, Tanguay showed he can put points on the board every game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him earn more than $5 Million next season, his sixth season with the Avalanche. The Avalanche could also afford it, with the almost certain departure of Teemu Selanne and possibly Paul Kariya. Forsberg has yet to make a decision but he will return to Sweden if not this year, next year and that would make Tanguay one of the cornerstones in the Avs organization. Joe Sakic is near retirement aswell.
Andrew Brunette – $1.1 Million
Brunette has started to slow down from his 20 goal, 60 and 70 point performances but not by much. He manages to reach almost 50 points (49). You may ask, why pay him if he is slowing down? Thing is, he has always been underpaid and now is the time to recognize it. He is also a great leader. I would say he could get $2 Million, $2.5 at the max.
Brad Brown – $750 000
Brown was traded by Minnesota along with a 6th round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for a 4th round pick on March 8th, this season. He is more of a spare defenseman, playing in half the season schedule this year. He got 1 assist in 30 games with Minnesota, and 2 assists in 13 games with Buffalo. He is 6’4 and 220lbs so he can stick to his man. Although I do not think his salary should decrease, I do not think it should reach $1 Million. He just isn’t a player you put in your lineup every night and you don’t want to have to pay a player $1 Million to sit in the pressbox.
Brendan Morrison – $2 450 000
The Canucks top line center for the last few seasons has flourished playing with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi.He has recorded atleast 60 points in his last three season along with atleast a +16 rating. But that only diminished because Bertuzzi missed the end of the season due to his well known attack-on-ice scene. But now, Bertuzzi may be suspended for another season and Naslund may return to Sweden. Where does this leave Morrison? At the bottom of the hill, basically falling down to line 2. Yet another year at $3 to 3.5 Million would be reasonable. After that year, we will have to see what he is worth then.
Brendan Witt – $1 750 000
Despite his –22 rating this season, he has been quite the attraction surrounding rumors and the trade deadline. The Leafs were interested in him at one point. He has maintained over 100 PIMs when playing a full season over his career. Witt has finally established himself as a good defender and has started to be noticed by other teams, and arbitrators will also notice this. Witt could get $2.3 Million and a few teams would be interested in him at that price. Hell, look at Aki Berg’s contract.
Brian Campbell – $550 000
Campbell was supposed to be an offensive defenseman. He is still quite young (25) but no defenseman has been able to score in Buffalo this season. Even Andy Delmore, the 20 goal-scoring defenseman did not record any goals this season and was eventually shipped off to Boston. Campbell will likely not get much of a raise, 500K seems to be the bottom of the league in terms of salary right now and I don’t think Campbell wants to remain in that pitt. $700 000 should make him happy.
Brian Rafalski – $3 Million
Rafalski, known more for his offensive play-making could have a bigger role as a defenseman with the departure of Scott Stevens and possibly Scott Niedermayer, unlikely though. Stevens will not remain healthy for long and may consider retirement as one of his options. Back to Rafalski, his offense is needed as not many of the Devils defensemen are offensively-orientated. He has had 40+ points since the 2000-2001 campaign with the Devils and if he was healthier this season, he would of made it again. His +/- did go down but departure of Scott Stevens, means bigger responsibility. Considering he is also 5’9 and 30 years old, not ideal figures, it would surprise me if he got $4 Million. $3.5 should be right.
Bryan Berard – $2 010 000
The former 1st overall pick managed to score 13 goals in 58 games and record 47 points. Forty points alone is very good for a defenseman. Berard making only $2 Million is quite a bargain, although he had a –22 rating, who didn’t in Chicago? He should of already gotten millions for what happened to his eye and this guy deserves more money just because of his determination and love for the game. Berard could fetch up to a max of $4 Million. Who knows, maybe he will breakthrough and prove that no. 1 selection wasn’t a mistake.
Bryan McCabe – $3.5 Million
Here we go, how do we pay the beloved Leaf? He had an outstanding season scoring 16 goals and recording 53 points in 75 games. He has also elevated his defensive play and is a good liability to break up and 2-on-1. $3.5 Million seemed enough, if not too much for this guy at the start of the season but I wouldn’t rush into giving him much bigger figures. I am not so certain he will repeat his offensive feats. I say give the man $4 250 000 to shut the man up.
Chris Phillips – $1 675 000
Another one of a few first overall selections that opted to settle their contract thru arbitration this season. Phillips hasn’t shown he was worthy of a no. 1 selection but he has not played poorly either. He got 23 points and a +15 rating, but so did a lot of Ottawa Senators this season. He isn’t meant to be an offensive threat but he isn’t a defensive threat either. Take it the way you want it. Judge Judy awards the man $2.5 Million. Next!
Christobal Huet – $ 425 000
After being acquired in a three-way trade by Montreal and showing a few displaying shutouts during the season. Huet has proved that he can be a solid backup and can step in for some time while the starting goaltender is struggling. Huet was a seventh round choice and will be no more than a backup goaltender in this season, but even at that, he will be a solid one. Give him atleast more than $500 000, it’s the last-class figure.
Clarke Wilm – $575 000
Wilm had a regular job in Calgary, but he can’t cut it in Toronto. He is mainly a spare player to help you off kill penalties and forecheck. He doesn’t really deserve a raise, I wouldn’t give him $700 000 yet, not until he manages to playmore than 10 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Cory Sarich – $1 150 000
He contributed well defensively in Tampa Bay’s run to the Stanley Cup. He is a solid checker and hard to beat one-on-one.
Cory Stillman – $2 750 000
Another Cory, and another Stanley Cup winner. Acquired from St. Louis because he was not performing very well, he lead the league in goals a few times during the regular season. He was benched controversially during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final but he did not take it personal. He established a career-high 80 points and a +18 rating. He has scored 20 goals every year since the 1997-1998 season and finally has a Stanley Cup ring. Stillman was an important part of the Lightning’s run and if they want to continue on that path, signing Stillman would be taking a step in the right direction. $3 200 000 for one year.
Dan Cloutier – $2.5 Million
Cloutier is underrated but also underachieving. His potential goes down year by year and this year it finally reached No.1A Goalie. He already makes a decent amount of money but people seem to forget that he does win 33 games a season. That is 7 short of Brodeur. The Canucks will probably not re-sign him if he does get a raise but I think he is worth $3 300 000.
Daniel Briere – $1.6 Million
Briere was acquired by the Buffalo Sabres along with a 3rd round pick for Chris Gratton and a 4th round pick. Go figuere, Gratton is worth more than Briere and the 4th rounder Is worth more than the 3rd?! Briere has started to fulfill his first round potential in Buffalo, When he first joined them, he had 12 points in 14 games. No in a full season with the Sabres, he recorded 65 points. Look for his potential and his salary to go up. Briere could possibly get a high as $3.5 Million.
Daymond Langkow – $2 700 000
Daymond Langkow is also one of the league’s most underrated players but he has started to be noticed. Since arriving in Phoenix he has never had less than 20 goals and 50 points in a season. Although he is 27 years old, he is the club’s No. 1 center at times and that means more money to take on that role. I think the amount of money he is making is fine the way it is but to make him happy, I’m sure he isn’t going to arbitration to say at the same price, give the man $3 Million.
Denis Gauthier – $1.3 Million
The open-ice checker has been involved in a lot of trade rumors this season, the Montreal Canadiens being the most interested in his services. The first round pick from 1995 is a stay-at-home defenseman so do not rely on his offensive stats. He is solid back in his own end. He has a 6’4 frame and weighs 224lbs. Many teams are starting to see the defensive part of his game and that’s what makes him valuable. Gauthier could have a salary of $2.5 Million and many teams would still be interested in acquiring him. Calgary should try and re-sign Kiprusoff and Iginla first as their main priorities.
Eric Belanger – $743 800
As bad as the injuries were in Los Angeles, Belanger had to take the role of No. 1 center at some points in the season. He didn’t have the same numbers as last year, what people thought he would get. He registered 16 goals and 35 points in 62 games last season. This year, in a full schedule he only managed to get 15 goals and 33 points. Not that it merits a decrease but Belanger sometimes has to play on a few lines higher than what he should and for that he should get atleast $1 Million.
Eric Brewer – $2.5 Million
The fifth overall selection in 1997 has a good defensive game and also a very good offensive game. He has at least 7 goals and 20 points in each of his seasons since joining the Edmonton Oilers. And he also has a much-desirable 6’3, 200lbs frame. He was a member of the All-Star game last season and Brewer will only get better as the years come. Brewer, for his all-around game could make $3.5 Million but it is very unlikely that the Oilers would re-sign him for that amount of money.
Erik Cole – $495 000
He seems to have disappeared since the series against the Montreal Canadiens. Nonetheless, he is still an emerging power forward of the game. You may consider him a steal for a third-round pick. This guy played 80 games this season and should atleast be making $1.5 Million. The future only holds better things ahead.
Evgeni Nabokov – $3 625 000
After having an off year in 2002-2003 he bounced back again winning 31 games and losing only 19. He also had an impressive 9 shutouts. He was once considered a bargain goaltender, got his raise, flunked and now wants another one. Be careful, do not go too high above the $4 Million figure.
Frederik Modin – $1 870 000
Modin potted 29 goals and +30 rating with the Cup winning squad this season. Career-highs in points (57) and +/-. He really became the player he is when he joined the Lightning and it looks like the 29-year-old is still in the Lightning’s plans. Modin at under $2 Million is quite the bargain. He could get up to $3 Million.
Hal Gill – $2 Million
The 6’7, 250lbs stay-at-home defenseman has not done much more than his previous season. Unless you consider him a bargain for the last 3 season, then he won’t get much more than an added 500K.
Janne Niinimaa – $2.9 Million
Janne almost potted double-digits in goals for the first time since the 2000-2001 season back when he was with the Edmonton Oilers. He had a career low in penalty minutes while still being able to play some good hockey at both end. I don’t know about giving him more than $3 Million. $3Mil on the dot it is.
Jason Blake – 800K
Blake managed to get 20+ goals for the second consecutive season although his stats and going down and his age is going up. At thirty years old he has showed that he can remain consistent but for how much longer? $1.5 Million should pay his dues.
Jean-Pierre Dumont – $1.4 Million
The third overall pick of the 1996 draft has managed to get 22+ goals in all but one season with the Sabres. This year he had 22, along with 50 points. $2 Million on the dot should do it. I do not think he will keep up his 20-goal seasons.
Jesse Boulerice – 450K
Althought being a goon and only being up there to get penalty minutes, he managed to get six goals this season. Pretty good for his type of player. Still goons should be paid at the league’s bottom at they are not true hockey players. 500K it is.
Jochen Hecht – $1.3 Million
One of the very few German players to play in this league has started to light up with the Buffalo Sabres! Hecht had 52 points in 64 games this season along with a +17 rating. He is still young (27) and has showed he is capable of scoring 20 goals as he has done it with St. Louis. Hecht will probably get no more than $1.8 Million at this time in his career but down the road he could become valuable.
Joe Thornton – $5.5 Million
Super Joe had an off year and he thinks he is worth and could earn $10 Million per season. I think he is very capable of getting than and performing for every penny. Look at the top paid players in the league, they do not do nearly as much and none of them are as well-rounded as this guy. I am pretty sure Boston will not keep him if he gets more than $8 Million and I think that is what he just might get.
Karel Rachunek – $900 000
Karel Rachunek was traded along with Alexandre Giroux from the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Greg DeVries. He has proved he can be a reliable defenseman in Ottawa now it’s up to him if he can do it in New York without as much help. Karel has a great show but I do not think he should earn over a million this early in his career.
Kevyn Adams – $700 000
The 25th overall pick in 1993 has not done much to prove that selection worthy. He hasn’t proved capable of playing any higher than the third line. At 29 years old he hasn’t proved himself and it isn’t likely he will as he gets older. I would be surprised if he got anything higher than 750K
Kim Johnsson – $1 250 000
Every since joining the Flyers he has always had atleast 10 goals a season, which is great for a defenseman. He’s had an average of 40 points and was always over +10. Johnsson is a great offensive defenseman and doesn’t always make poor decisions in the back end. He could earn somewhere around $1 750 000.
Ladislav Nagy – $1 Million
One of the emerging stars of the game, Nagy scored 24 goals in 55 games along with 52 points. In a complete season he would of scored 36 goals and 78 points. He is on the rise of being a star. 25 goals is already good enough to earn a considerable raise. He could get up to $3 Million no problem.
Marc Savard – $2 Million
Savard flourished playing along side Ilya Kovalchuk this season, notching 52 points in 45 games. That 95 points in a full season and probably more if Dany Heatley would have been around for the whole season. Impressing! He has finally earned himself a big raise. $3.5 Million could be right, only if he plays with Kovalchuk or Heatley.
Martin Biron – $2 200 000
His backups, Mika Noronen and Ryan Miller are said to have more potential than him which could make him the odd man out at some point, but to be able to keep the job from being taken away by Noronen or Miller, he has done his part and is a greatly underrated goaltender. Goaltenders are one of the most valued positions in the game. These gems do not come cheap and neither should Biron. Verdict: $3 250 000.
Michal Handzus – $1 533 333
He has played some good hockey in Philly and the fans have appreciated him. They would likely want him to come back. The good thing about Handzus is that he also has size. At 6’5, 217lbs, he still managed to score 20 goals and almost 60 point as a Flyer this season. He is a great guy to have at all ends of the ice and you could earn up to $2 750 000.
Miikka Kiprusoff 880,000
Kiprusoff is my pick for best acquisition of the year. Although goaltenders are very hard to predict, they can be one hit wonders like Jim Carey. I believe Kiprusoff is the man and if he remains as good as he was he will gain a lot of fans, including me. Who knows, we may have the next Dominic Hasek here, both were unnoticed in the draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy got $5 Million! The Calgary Flames organization would have to trust him though. I know it sounds ridiculous, I am not talking about what the Flames can afford but what his market value could be.
Mika Noronen $550 000
Noronen will eventually be a No. 1 goalie and good reason why the Sabres might want to deal Biron while he has a high market value. He will be just as good, if not better than Biron and they have another potential starting goalie in Ryan Miller to back Noronen up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Biron moved soon. Noronen could only make up to $1.5 Million this early in his career.
Mike Van Ryn – $1 127 500
The 25 year old defenseman managed to score 13 goals this season, leading defenseman in goals for most part of the season. And the best part of it is he did it with the Florida Panthers. Florida is the youngest team in the NHL and have the most first round selected players playing for them. They will win the Stanley Cup with all those prospects. Van Ryn, a first round draft pick, should stick around as he played in 79 games this season. $1 750 000 for the offensive defenseman.
Milan Hejduk – $3 200 000
Last year’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard winner could fetch a lot of money. He is one of the Avs future players they have along with Tanguay. A lot of the other stars they currently have are aging. Hejduk only managed to score 35 goals and 75 points with a +19 rating in 82 games. Not as good as his previous season, but those are still awesome numbers! Hejduk could become one of the highest-paid players in the league eventually. I think he could get someone between $5 and 6 Million right now.
Nikolai Antropov – $925 000
The injury-prone Maple Leaf has started to get less and less appreciated by Leaf fans, him being involved in every trade proposal. At 6’6, 220lbs he could still become a power forward. He would of scored 20 goals had he played a full schedule with the Leaf this season. The future will tell but he could get somewhere around $1.5 Million for his services.
Nils Ekman – $575 000
Did this guy prove me wrong or what?! Last summer, I bashed this deal, why the hell did the Sharks swing this stupid minor deal, it is pointless. Well, look who scored 22 goals this season! Ekman could see playing time on the Sharks top 2 lines from now on and could fetch $2.5 Million, maybe not right away, only if he proves he can score that many goals again. He also had a flashy +30 rating.
Oleg Kvasha – $800 000
Kvasha, the 6’5, 230lbs winger could turn into a 20 goal scorer in the near future. He has earned playing time on the first line. Kvasha could get, at most, $1.5 Million but he should start getting more physical.
Pavel Kubina $2.5 Million
This guy looked like Al MacInnis was playing in a Lightning uniform. This guy plays defense, yet he scored 17 goals during the regular season! At 6’4, 230lbs he is a hard defenseman to play against and yoou better watch those point shots. He could earn a little above $3 Million.
Petr Schaefer – $600 000
Schaefer is more of a 3rd line player, he doesn’t have enough talent to always play on the 2nd line but he has enough to pot in a decent amount of goals. I would like to have Schaefer on any team’s 3rd line. Schaefer with 15 goals, 40 points and a +22 rating could earn almost $1.5 Million but it is unlikely a 3rd liner will earn that much money.
Richard Park – $800 000
Richard Park, is one of the league’s underrated players, as are many of the Wild players. Park can get you around 15 goals and 25 points but is exciting to watch and a great agitator on the ice. He should earn over $1 100 000.
Richard Zednik – $1 850 000
Zednik has been the Canadiens only player to score 30 goals in quite a while, that was last year though. Zednik can still prove he can score 20 goals a season and has the speed and the moves. He had 50 points for the last two season and I wouldn’t mind him getting $2.2 Million if only he would pass more often.
Ronald Petrovicky – $467 500
Petrovicky has been a fun player to watch. He has also gotten his goal-scoring ability on track scoring 16 this season along with 131 points while also being in the penalty box for 123 minutes. He deserves around a million but he still is just an enforcer.
Rory Fitzpatrick – $375 000
The 6’2, 215lbs defenseman is making $375 000, nobody makes that low. He played in 60 games and scored 4 goals and 11 points. Will probably get 500K, at the most.
Ruslan Fedotenko – $950 000
A key addition to the club that helped them win the Stanley Cup, this guy is definitely going for a raise. If he remains with the Lightning he could earn somewhere around $2 Million. He is an important player in the Lightning’s organization.
Ruslan Salei – $1 750 000
He is not recognized for his defensive talent but he does have it. He had 100 PIMs for the first time in his career, showing he can play well defensively without having to sit in the press box. Salei is worth $2 Million.
Scott Gomez $1 MillionThe departure of Mogilny did hurt him but he was able to match his career-high 70 points this season. He is a great-passer, kind of like Peter Forsberg, way more assists than goals. Gomez has never had over 20 goals in his career. Some teams would give him more than $3.5 Million. He is a young gem.
Scott Hannan $1 250 000
He showed he is one of the league’s top and underrated players defensively. Not to mention he is a first round pick, had 21 points and a +10 rating. This guy is gonna turn out just like Barrett Jackman, the future best defensive players. They both are good comparisons with Regehr. Defense is a very important aspect of the game and it doesn’t come cheap. Hannan could make $3 Million this early in his career.
Scott Niedermayer $4 Million
Scott has pretty much gained the title of best defenseman in the league, if Lidstrom isn’t. Scotty has Bobby Orr like offensive play-making ability and and awesome defensive coverage. He is going to get paid like a league-best-defenseman. Lidstrom makes $10 Million but I doubt Niedermayer will be awarded that much. Niedermayer is seeking $8 Million and he could very well get that.
Scott Parker $665 000.
Haha, the goon wants a salary increase!
Sergei Gonchar $3 650 000
Proven to be the best scoring defenseman in the league repeatedly, I’m surprised he hasn’t scored 30 goals yet. This guy is just awesome. Likely, again, the Bruins will probably let him go. Gonchar could make $5 Million on the open market.
Stephane Robidas – $727 502
Robidas does not have much potential. I have watched him play in Montreal and he is very limited. He might get 800K.
Steve Sullivan – $3 Million
Steve Sullivan has made $3 Million for the last three consecutive seasons. He will likely get a raise, he has proved he can pot 70 points a season and $5 Million wouldn’t be surprising.
Tomas Kaberle – $2 750 000
Kaberle had an off-year this season. He usually manages to score double-digits in goal but atleast this year he was able to maintain his +/- rating to +16. Kaberle is good offensively but when it comes to defense, he’s not worth the money. I don’t think he will increase at all. This is not the right time for him to file for arbitration, especially after the year he had.
Vesa Toskala – $575 000
The San Jose Sharks organization decided to stick with this guy instead of Kiprusoff. They better expect good things of him. He always puts up good numbers and finished the season with a .930 SV%. He participated in 28 regular season games.
Vladimir Orszagh – $700 000
He is young and has the speed, after notching an average of 16 goals per season, he will eventually reach the 20 goal plateau and you gotta be making at $1 Million if you are scoring 20 goals. Orszagh is a two-way player and there’s a plus. Orszagh could make $1 100 000. Not based on his current play, but he is 27 years old and will only get better.
Willie Mitchell – $1 350 000
Willie Mitchell has been well coached by Jacques Lemaire and is very underrated defensively. The 6’3, 205 pounder managed to have a +12 rating on a Minnesota Wild club that did not make the playoffs this year. I would be comfortable giving this guy $2.3 Million and I would have him on any team.
Wyatt Smith – $325,000
Who? Well the poor man wants a raise. He is the lowest paid player that has filed for arbitration and nobody makes his previous type of money, unless you’re a goon. Smith, the Preds’ center had 3 goals in 18 games this season.
Zdeno Chara – $2 400 000
The biggest man in the NHL, Zdeno Chara stands at 6’9, 260 pounds. Ever since he arrived in Ottawa in the Alexei Yashin deal, he had three seasons with a +30 rating. Chara also had 16 goals and 41 points along with 147 penalty minutes. He doesn’t shy away from the opponent and stands up for his teammates. Because Chara has everything, size, strength, defense and can find the back of the next, he could find himself with a $5 Million paycheck. He was a Norris candidate this season.
Adam C. Mancini