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Thread: Sather Talks Candidly About Arbitration Process

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    Sather Talks Candidly About Arbitration Process

    Sather said, “what started in the middle 1980s was that managers started to get bamboozled by agents, and arbitrators got involved in this thing and decided that you can be on the worst team in the league and make the same money as the guy who is on the best team because your stats are basically the same. But there is no correlation between the best team and the worst team, because you play under entirely different conditions.”

    Sather added, “You can be a first line player on the last place team and get 25 minutes a game, or you can be the first line player on the best team and get you may not get 25 minutes – you may only get 15 because they have four other centers who are as good as you are. It is a strange way of doing contracts. the arbitrators looks purely at statistics. They don’t care what a guy does off the ice or whether he is a leader in the dressing room or an asshole.”
    http://snyrangersblog.com/coachesgm/...ation-process/

    --

    Thankfully we largely avoided this this season, but I can't help but agree with him completely.

    The NHL's arbitration process is so predictable, and predictably bad. Whether it's the type of situation he pointed out about arbitrators only looking at actual statistical lines to determine value or the entire concept of high/low pitching that history has shown us arbitrators simply split the difference between to reach awards.

    It's not "broken", but it's far from functioning smoothy.

    Brooks floated the idea days ago that the league should look to adopt MLB's arbitration model regarding the high/low aspect, where instead of player/team submitting high/low (in that order) to get the arbitrator to split the difference (a process Stepan just admitted is true earlier today), both player and team submit far more realistic numbers where the arbitrator actually picks one of the two awards. He/she doesn't determine his/her own figure. They simply choose which of the two submitted numbers better fit the mold. Not bad at all. At least on paper.

    Does anyone have more insight on that who watches or follows MLB? Has it actually resulted in an easier arbitration process?
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    I appreciate the candid nature of the comments, but I just don't know how they would do it any other way. Contracts are pretty much all stats based nowadays anyway. Look at what Nash got in Columbus. Is he that kind of player for us? Hell no because we don't care about padding stats, we care about points when it matters. It's all relative.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThirtyONE View Post
    I appreciate the candid nature of the comments, but I just don't know how they would do it any other way. Contracts are pretty much all stats based nowadays anyway. Look at what Nash got in Columbus. Is he that kind of player for us? Hell no because we don't care about padding stats, we care about points when it matters. It's all relative.
    Sure he is, but this isn't really talking about contracts in general. It's talking about contracts awarded via arbitration. The way arbitration works in the NHL, or how it used to, and why GM's respond to them the way they do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    http://snyrangersblog.com/coachesgm/...ation-process/

    --

    Thankfully we largely avoided this this season, but I can't help but agree with him completely.

    The NHL's arbitration process is so predictable, and predictably bad. Whether it's the type of situation he pointed out about arbitrators only looking at actual statistical lines to determine value or the entire concept of high/low pitching that history has shown us arbitrators simply split the difference between to reach awards.

    It's not "broken", but it's far from functioning smoothy.
    Love it.

    Well said Slats.

    Don't remember enough about MLB arbitration when I used to follow baseball avidly (long time ago).
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    I dont follow the MLB process too closely but from what I do follow is that a lot more players have their contracts decided in the arbitration process (as in they don't get done in the final minutes before the meeting), and you dont seem to hear much about the volatility of the meeting and how it may be damaging to the relationship between club and player.

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    Basically the arbitration process works as such.

    Parties have until December 12 to decide to elect arbitration. Both sides can attempt to hammer out deal between then and January 17. If there still is no deal the two sides go to an arbitration panel with cases held in February. It applies for players between 3-6 years of service.

    Believe it or not I learned this from Road to The Show as they have it outlined in FAQs etc.
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    It's not exactly in line with the conversation as such,but what I would like is if the NHL would adopt some sort of homegrown exemption/discount with the cap. Something to sort of alleviate some of the pressures to keeping a roster together. I'd propose it some manner to this
    1. ONE player per team that was drafted by the organization can use something called a franchise player where his cap hit doesn't count against the cap during a contract year (could be UFA or RFA depending on the organization, doubt many teams use it in an RFA situation).

    2. this contract can only be used once per player. If player X signs a contract under this franchise tag, when his contract is up, he is no longer eligible for that tag for the rest of his career.

    3. There is a maximum contract period, say something like a max 4-5 year deal.

    4. salary per year cannot exceed the highest salary in the league by more than say 15% or so to help against inflating salaries around the league too much and stop the concept of throwing a retarded amount at a player to say "hey, we'll way overpay now so you hopefully sign lower next go around."

    5. It cannot be used on a rookie.

    6. If player is traded, his salary changes to a standard cap-hit contract assuming he has no clauses against trades.

    Would still be a ton more to figure out with this idea but it could alleviate some of the times where a team is punished for having a good farm. Imagine if we could have used that on Henrik where we would be cap wise? In a small sense it rewards you for having a good team and at least gives one less player to have to juggle under a cap. Obvioulsy many teams wouldn't always use this at all times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keirik View Post
    It's not exactly in line with the conversation as such,but what I would like is if the NHL would adopt some sort of homegrown exemption/discount with the cap. Something to sort of alleviate some of the pressures to keeping a roster together. I'd propose it some manner to this
    1. ONE player per team that was drafted by the organization can use something called a franchise player where his cap hit doesn't count against the cap during a contract year (could be UFA or RFA depending on the organization, doubt many teams use it in an RFA situation).

    2. this contract can only be used once per player. If player X signs a contract under this franchise tag, when his contract is up, he is no longer eligible for that tag for the rest of his career.

    3. There is a maximum contract period, say something like a max 4-5 year deal.

    4. salary per year cannot exceed the highest salary in the league by more than say 15% or so to help against inflating salaries around the league too much and stop the concept of throwing a retarded amount at a player to say "hey, we'll way overpay now so you hopefully sign lower next go around."

    5. It cannot be used on a rookie.

    6. If player is traded, his salary changes to a standard cap-hit contract assuming he has no clauses against trades.

    Would still be a ton more to figure out with this idea but it could alleviate some of the times where a team is punished for having a good farm. Imagine if we could have used that on Henrik where we would be cap wise? In a small sense it rewards you for having a good team and at least gives one less player to have to juggle under a cap. Obvioulsy many teams wouldn't always use this at all times.
    These are good ideas, however there are plenty of teams who remain competitive and keep their stars under the current system.

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    not bad ideas.
    i don't think the league would ever go for completely omitting one player's salary from the cap, but perhaps the cap hit could be 50% of the actual salary.

    where a franchise player signs for 5 years at 6M, the cap hit would only be 3M.

    i think that'd be a pretty cool system.

    i'm also assuming that while you have one player under this franchise contract, the team cannot use it again until that player's contract expires or is traded, yes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keirik View Post
    It's not exactly in line with the conversation as such,but what I would like is if the NHL would adopt some sort of homegrown exemption/discount with the cap. Something to sort of alleviate some of the pressures to keeping a roster together. I'd propose it some manner to this
    1. ONE player per team that was drafted by the organization can use something called a franchise player where his cap hit doesn't count against the cap during a contract year (could be UFA or RFA depending on the organization, doubt many teams use it in an RFA situation).

    2. this contract can only be used once per player. If player X signs a contract under this franchise tag, when his contract is up, he is no longer eligible for that tag for the rest of his career.

    3. There is a maximum contract period, say something like a max 4-5 year deal.

    4. salary per year cannot exceed the highest salary in the league by more than say 15% or so to help against inflating salaries around the league too much and stop the concept of throwing a retarded amount at a player to say "hey, we'll way overpay now so you hopefully sign lower next go around."

    5. It cannot be used on a rookie.

    6. If player is traded, his salary changes to a standard cap-hit contract assuming he has no clauses against trades.

    Would still be a ton more to figure out with this idea but it could alleviate some of the times where a team is punished for having a good farm. Imagine if we could have used that on Henrik where we would be cap wise? In a small sense it rewards you for having a good team and at least gives one less player to have to juggle under a cap. Obvioulsy many teams wouldn't always use this at all times.
    As mentioned in the other thread today, a luxury tax may be the simplest and most graceful solution to a lot of issues the players, teams and league face.
    Even if it allows only another 10 mil with an escalating tax, the last few mil could be taxed at 30 to 40%. Then that rev gets redistributed to the rest of the teams that are under, adding a rev source to the smaller mkts. The players essentially get more money in the general pool.

    If no luxury tax, the other idea I have is to allow teams to rip up a contract in the final year and replace it with a new long term (3 years or more) deal where the cap money if spread over the current and future years. Essentially that allows teams to use free cap space in the current year to put towards a players new contract.

    For example, let's say we have 1 to 2 mil cap space still remaining near the deadline. We could renegotiate Kreid, tear up the remaining 2.5 mil contract and start him on a new contract that with the prorated cap space has an AAV of say 4.5 mil over 4 years instead of maybe 5 mil over 3 years.

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    The problem with a luxury tax is that it flies in the face of the spirit of the CBA, which is designed to level the playing field for "non-traditional" markets. A luxury tax allows the Flyers and Rangers and Leafs and all the "big boy" clubs who routinely spend to the cap and are considered high-end destination markets for players to spend beyond the same number less desirable cities/clubs can spend to, which kicks the feet out from under those clubs. Forget superstars, too. Even above-average players would end up sticking with the popular teams.

    Take Florida, for example. If the Pens can just pay a luxury tax for going over the ceiling, Jussi Jokinen probably never leaves to sign with them.

    The only way that'd work is if you also limited the actual luxury tax to also include a ceiling. Teams, for example, cannot exceed 10% of the cap ceiling. Meaning the Rangers could spend up to 10% of the total cap in any given year over the cap ceiling figure for that season and then pay in that luxury to be redistributed to lesser clubs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    The problem with a luxury tax is that it flies in the face of the spirit of the CBA, which is designed to level the playing field for "non-traditional" markets. A luxury tax allows the Flyers and Rangers and Leafs and all the "big boy" clubs who routinely spend to the cap and are considered high-end destination markets for players to spend beyond the same number less desirable cities/clubs can spend to, which kicks the feet out from under those clubs. Forget superstars, too. Even above-average players would end up sticking with the popular teams.

    Take Florida, for example. If the Pens can just pay a luxury tax for going over the ceiling, Jussi Jokinen probably never leaves to sign with them.

    The only way that'd work is if you also limited the actual luxury tax to also include a ceiling. Teams, for example, cannot exceed 10% of the cap ceiling. Meaning the Rangers could spend up to 10% of the total cap in any given year over the cap ceiling figure for that season and then pay in that luxury to be redistributed to lesser clubs.
    But even a cap hasn't caused parity. Small market teams don't spend to it. So all you're doing is limiting the large markets to what they can spend, and the competitive teams for the most part have the highest payrolls, anyway.

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    Sure it has. Just not for stars, who still choose more luxurious markets to go to. Florida picked up a lot of players they probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to otherwise because of the salary cap. The same with Colorado, Winnipeg and others.

    It's not the full-bore parity the NHL was hoping for, where the Coyotes would be able to compete with the Rangers to sign Brad Richards, but it has given a lot of teams players they probably would have no shot at had they not drafted the player where those players got priced out of the markets they were in before. Jussi Jokinen, Ed Jovanovski, Tomás Kopecky, Jarome Iginla, Brad Stuart, François Beauchemin, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    Sure it has. Just not for stars, who still choose more luxurious markets to go to. Florida picked up a lot of players they probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to otherwise because of the salary cap. The same with Colorado, Winnipeg and others.

    It's not the full-bore parity the NHL was hoping for, where the Coyotes would be able to compete with the Rangers to sign Brad Richards, but it has given a lot of teams players they probably would have no shot at had they not drafted the player where those players got priced out of the markets they were in before. Jussi Jokinen, Ed Jovanovski, Tomás Kopecky, Jarome Iginla, Brad Stuart, François Beauchemin, etc.
    The salary cap hasn't helped teams be competitive on the ice. The Yotes have always been bad, the Panthers have always been bad, Atlanta/Peg and Calgary are just now starting to be good, etc.

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    A combination of the salary cap and drafting has improved bad teams. The cap gives the poorer, less desirable markets a shot at filling out the middle of their roster with established NHL players like they were not able to do in years past.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    The problem with a luxury tax is that it flies in the face of the spirit of the CBA, which is designed to level the playing field for "non-traditional" markets. A luxury tax allows the Flyers and Rangers and Leafs and all the "big boy" clubs who routinely spend to the cap and are considered high-end destination markets for players to spend beyond the same number less desirable cities/clubs can spend to, which kicks the feet out from under those clubs. Forget superstars, too. Even above-average players would end up sticking with the popular teams.

    Take Florida, for example. If the Pens can just pay a luxury tax for going over the ceiling, Jussi Jokinen probably never leaves to sign with them.

    The only way that'd work is if you also limited the actual luxury tax to also include a ceiling. Teams, for example, cannot exceed 10% of the cap ceiling. Meaning the Rangers could spend up to 10% of the total cap in any given year over the cap ceiling figure for that season and then pay in that luxury to be redistributed to lesser clubs.
    That is why I said 10 mil above, but I like your 10% better. The NHL still ends up with a regular cap and then a hard cap which is 10% more that is taxed. It is basically a compromise that should work for everyone, which means it probably should be the big change to the next CBA. It is a move that highlights the spirit of the free market and adds money to the player pool while providing dollars to the smaller market teams or teams that choose to stay under the tax.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    These are good ideas, however there are plenty of teams who remain competitive and keep their stars under the current system.
    I'm aware that there are teams, but there also are teams that by circumstance cannot keep everyone together. We are a good example of that. Tampa soon will be a good example as well. Chicago in a sense too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyb™ View Post

    i'm also assuming that while you have one player under this franchise contract, the team cannot use it again until that player's contract expires or is traded, yes?
    Exactly, cannot use it on anyone else until that first one is expired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keirik View Post
    I'm aware that there are teams, but there also are teams that by circumstance cannot keep everyone together. We are a good example of that. Tampa soon will be a good example as well. Chicago in a sense too.
    Well as long as teams can be successful under the current landscape (and I'll argue Chicago is a better example to support my case), there is no reason to change it.

    We need to be smarter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Well as long as teams can be successful under the current landscape (and I'll argue Chicago is a better example to support my case), there is no reason to change it.

    We need to be smarter.
    Well, i guess we will agree to disagree. In the current landscape, you are almost punished by having too many players developed that blossom and flourish I'm not talking about having everyone from the farm be exempt. It would just alleviate slightly one tough decision to keep a player who might be worth the money, but unaffordable because there are just too many players developed. Tha trickles down to a second or third player too since one large salary isn't a cap hit.

    I just find the system slightly flawed. The idea of the draft is to draft players that hopefully one day make an impact on your NHL roster. Some are late rounder fillers with no hope of making it but still. The point is to draft players that one day will be good NHLers. If a team does it right and scouts well with a bit of luck mixed in, they can draft multiple top level players that eventually are going to cost a lot of money to retain. To a sense they are slightly punished for that. While I do like parity, I do also like a good dynasty if it's done right and the idea these days of a player spending his entire career with one club is getting very few and far between.

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