July 24, 2016
The NHL's arbitration process is a tricky one, but once you get to the actual hearing, it works much like any other arbitration case -- both sides present their arguments, how much they the player in question is worth, and a third-party arbiter decides which number is most appropriate.
And in the case of Brayden Schenn, a deal in the $4.3 million-per-year range is too low, at least according to the Philadelphia Flyers forward.
Source: Flyers 2-yr offer to Schenn: $4.25m, $4.369. Schenn camp asking $5.5 for this season— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) July 23, 2016
Per CSNPhilly's Tim Panaccio, Schenn turned down the two-year deal offered by Ron Hextall and the Flyers that would have paid him $4.25 million in the first year and $4.369 million in the second. Apparently, he's looking for something closer $5.5 million for the first year, which is twice what he made in 2015-16 ($2.75 million).
As they stand right now, the Flyers have about $6.5 million in cap space (per generalfanager.com), but Schenn isn't the only player they have left to sign. They also have an upcoming arbitration hearing with Brandon Manning, who made $625,000 last season and is in search of a raise. Nick Cousins and Petr Straka also filed for arbitration, but the Flyers were able to sign both players and avoid an actual hearing.
If they were to sign Schenn for the $5.5 million he wants, that would leave them about $1 million for Manning and any other late additions they may look to add prior to the season. That's not a ton of flexibility.
One of the things Schenn has working in his favor is the fact that he's coming off a career year.
He finished third on the team in scoring (59 points), behind Claude Giroux (67) and Wayne Simmonds (60). He also finished ahead of Jake Voracek (55) and Sean Couturier (39). And while the Flyers' most recent offer to Schenn is in line with Couturier's average cap hit ($4.3 million/year), it's nearly a half million more per year than what Simmonds is currently making.
That being said, their contracts came with a long-term stability -- they both signed six-year deals -- that the Flyers don't seem ready or willing to give to the 25-year-old Canadian. Hextall has said all along that he was confident a deal would get done, but with Schenn's arbitration hearing less than 24 hours away, it's beginning to look like that may not happen.
And if a last-minute deal is not reached, Schenn can forget about getting that long-term deal during this free agency -- once a case goes to arbitration, the player can only be signed for a year or two, depending on which the team decides at the hearing's outset.
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