A lot of people have been writing about how bad arbitration is for the NHL.
Tim Panaccio is the latest, saying arbitration doesn’t give players their value relative to their team’s cap space, but instead gives their value across the league (login info.). Panaccio even mentions how Buffalo’s J.P. Dumont wanted a long-term contract but instead was let go by the Sabres after the arbitration ruling was too high.
Which to me, is the beauty of arbitration. GMs don’t have to accept settlements that are too high. And players can skip arbitration and take less to stay someplace they like. It’s not like Buffalo really wanted Dumont. If they had, they would have signed him before his arbitration hearing. Or afterwards. But Dumont thought he was worth one amount and the team thought he was worth another.
Arbitration is hardly a perfect process, but it’s not unreasonable. I mean, Brian Gionta skipped arbitration and went through the pre-season with no contract so he could remain a Devil. If a player wants to stay on a team, he can make it happen. If a GM wants a player, he can get it done.
Arbitration isn’t the problem. Players and GMs on different salary pages are the problem.