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Michael Chaput and Reid Boucher file for arbitration

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.

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.

  • Tedchinook

    I don’t get the excitement over Boucher. I’d be happy if they just let him walk. At 24 when the season starts his best case scenario is that he’s a place holder until the kids mature.

  • Missing Lou

    I understand why they want one way deals but if you ask me neither of them played great enough to earn that. I think Boucher may have a higher ceiling given the right circumstances but I think this is a dick move and should earn a one way contract through his play. Earn it!!! I am indifferent about chaput.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I’m not sure I understood part of the article. The article seemed to imply the Canucks are commited to signing both players because they filed for arbitration and they won’t make more than 3.5 million. Did I read that right, or can Canucks walk away from them now? I liked how Boucher played, but I couldn’t care less if we lost Chaput.

    • Neil B

      The Canucks cannot walk away from the contracts now (unless they ask the arbitrator to award $3.6 mill, and frankly that would just see them get a punitive award, and likely a fine from the NHL). That’s the point of arbitration, from the players’ point of view.

      My guess is that Chaput is willing to deal down to league minimum, as long as it’s a 1-way deal (which doesn’t mean he can’t be sent down; all it means is that he gets paid at his NHL salary, regardless of where he’s playing). I’m not sure what Boucher’s game plan is; he’s not a typical ‘bubble player’ who would typically be looking for the one-way contract.

  • Td2funk

    Boucher has looked dangerous and exciting anytime he had the puck on his stick. His ability to be a sniper hasn’t gone unnoticed. As for Chaput I don’t see what the fuss is about. He’s a big body but haven’t seen anything too amazing from him.

    • The_Blueline

      I don’t mind having both on the team. Great to have depth in the form of bubble players. I just don’t want better players sent to Utica, solely because they are waiver excempt. Like keeping Biega over Stecher last year.

  • canuckfan

    Likely this was done because the agent thought that they needed some leverage in bargaining, unless Boucher comes into camp fully committed he will likely be a bubble player. Is he a sniper, sure he can fire the puck but has he the heart to play full minutes in a game I would say no and that is why he found himself on waivers more than once last year. If he does sign with Canucks it should be a one year deal as that is all he is going to be able to last with the game getting faster Canucks have more talent pushing for spot and Boucher is just filler until they get a bit more age on the young guns.

  • Puck Viking

    Let them walk and keep a few extra contract spots open for College or JR UFAs. There is only so much playing time to go around and they have plenty of guys who can be called up from Utica to play.

    • Ragnarok Ouroboros

      It looks like the Canucks cannot let them walk now that they have filed for arbitration. Seems strange, but Ryan Beach confirmed that interpretation of the rules above.

      • defenceman factory

        The Canucks cannot walk away now because they tendered qualifying offers to these players. The time to walk away was before tendering the offers. When the offers were tendered Management was well aware these players were eligible for arbitration and this was likely to occur.It seems they don’t want to issue one way deals unless arbitration forces them to.

        Putting this impasse solely on the players isn’t quite fair. They are RFAs. The qualifying offers prevent them from becoming UFAs and taking their services to the market. For all we know there was an amicable agreement on both sides to let arbitration set a fair contract. If the Canucks aren’t interested in these players or were worried about how the arbitrator might rule they should not have tendered offers.


    Yeah, get rid of these bums and get some size and toughness into the line up. All these dwarfs on skates need a few Gino, Murzyn and Tim Hunter types to protect them from killers like Kes, Juice and Getzlaf. Otherwise it’s gonna be like Custer’s last stand next season at Rogers.

  • If not a one way deal, they could probably compromise where they earn more than the entry-level $70k in the AHL. When Vey signed with the Flames, he lost his $1M one-way and got a $700k/$325k deal. Rendulic got $575k/$200k last year and played 1 game in the NHL. Stats-wise, he was terrible in the AHL.

    • Gregthehockeynut

      The Canucks bottom six struggled in faceoff win percentage for 2 or 3 years before Chaput was acquired. He was 52.7 wp , not a super shiny stat to fascinate us but it really does impact the team positively. Other than some physical play I agree he didn’t stand out.

      • Fortitude00

        In the majority of games won in the playoffs this season the team that won the face off percentage stat lost the game. The thing with that stat is it includes centre draws and face-offs mid ice which don’t impact the game.
        The other thing about face-offs is teams are losing the face-off and moving forwards in to grab the puck after the draw. Essentially the face-off win percentage stat is not a valid stat anymore because teams cheat off the draw.

        • Ragnarok Ouroboros

          I think there is some merit to your comment. They should track offensive/defensive zone draws and completely ignore draws in the middle zone. I’m not sure what you can do about draws where the team deliberately tries to lose it and fetch the puck afterwards. Perhaps whoever tracks the stats for draws can interpret such a play as a won draw for the offensive team successfully retrieves the puck, or the defensive team successfully clears the zone with the puck (IE when short handed)

  • Dan-gles

    No big deal. Their agent is just doing his job to maximize $$$$. I say sign them and bury them both in the ahl and only call them up on their one way if they catch fire and the team needs them. Otherwise leave them there.

    • RoCkFaThEr

      Exactly Dan-gles…. they both played in The NHL last year playing for a poorly coached team…. One more so than the other.
      They’ve both proven that they are capable call-ups, what’s a few hundred thousand dollars?