Today at 5PM ET was the deadline for player-elected salary arbitration, and two Canucks players have exercised this right.
Forwards Michael Chaput and Reid Boucher have both chosen to exercise Article 12 of the NHL/NHLPA CBA for player-elected salary arbitration.
Brian Dumoulin, Conor Sheary, Colton Parayko, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Reid Boucher, Michael Chaput, Nate Schmidt,Connor Hellebuyck
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 5, 2017
The deadline for today is outlined in Article 12.2 of the CBA
There is a lot of procedural items within Article 12 that outlines the whole process. So to summarize it, both players have chosen to go to a non-partisan arbitrator to determine a fair value on their contract. The player can opt to seek a one-year or two-year contract ruling. Both sides, the player, and the club, will present their case on what they feel is fair value and then the arbitrator will come to a ruling based on that.
The player can be represented by the NHLPA or their own representations, such as an agent.
The arbitrators are 8 members of the National Academy of Arbitrators that were jointly appointed by the NHL and NHLPA. A date will be selected, generally in Early August, for the two parties to meet.
If the hearing does proceed, a coin flip will be done to see who goes first in presenting their case. The other side will then present their case. There is a lot more technical stuff to the proceedings but not worth covering. Once the case is completed, the arbitrator will have 48 hours to come to a decision.
Once that is completed, Article 12.10 covers the ability to “walk away” from player elected salary arbitration:
It doesn’t apply in either case, but teams cannot walk away from club-elected salary arbitration awardings.
Lastly, the team and the player can come to a deal between the filing of the arbitration and the hearing. This happens more often than not, with very few cases going through the full arbitration process.
With all that out of the way, we can look specifically at the two Canucks forwards that have filed for arbitration.
Reid Boucher came to the Canucks from the New Jersey Devils via waivers in December of 2016. He had been previously placed on waivers by the Devils, claimed by the Nashville Predators, placed on waivers again, claimed by the Devils and then placed on waivers AGAIN before coming to the Canucks.
In 27 games with the Canucks, he had 5 goals and 2 assists in 12:10 of average ice time per game. It is worth noting that he averaged 2.04 shots per game.
For Boucher, it is more about getting a one-way contract rather than the NHL dollar amount. Ultimately, the argument from his camp is that he was able to generate offence in his two chances in the NHL (with New Jersey in 15-16 and Vancouver in 16-17) and thus should be awarded a one-way deal. The Canucks may ultimately feel that Boucher is a bubble player and a two-way deal makes more sense from a financial standpoint.
Boucher will require waivers to be assigned to Utica, if he is unable to secure a spot in the NHL.
Chaput posted 4 goals and 5 assists in 68 games for Vancouver last season. He averaged 11:01 of ice time in bottom six role. He was signed to be an offensive leader for the Comets last season but due to injuries was recalled to the Canucks and never went back. Like Boucher, you would have to think that his ultimate goal is to get a one-way contract to provide some financial security.
With the recent signings and top end prospects pushing to secure a spot, the forward group has gotten a little crowded and will force some players down to Utica. Both Boucher and Chaput are on that bubble, so them filing for salary arbitration isn’t surprising as they need to squeeze out the best contract they can for themselves. Both players just concluded a two-way contract.
As mentioned in article 12.10, it requires a decision to exceed $3,500,000 for the club to walk away. That won’t be the case with either player. Furthermore, the Canucks and each player could work out a deal prior to the hearing in a few weeks.
If both players are awarded a one year contract, they will be restricted free agents at the conclusion of that deal. If a two-year deal is sought by Chaput, and is awarded, he will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of that deal. Boucher would be an RFA at the conclusion of a two-year contract.