Forty-four NHL players have filed for salary arbitration, the NHLPA announced Thursday afternoon. Of those 44 players, three Golden Knights will be going through the arbitration process in order to settle their contract disputes — Tomas Nosek, Colin Miller and, of course, William Karlsson.
The hearings will be held from July 20 to Aug. 4 2018 in Toronto.
For those new to the term, salary arbitration is a lot less scary than it sounds. When a player applies for arbitration, a date is set for that player and his team to discuss a reasonable salary. An independent arbiter will eventually make the final decision as to that player’s earnings. Following the arbiter’s verdict, the team has 48 hours to decide whether it accepts the proposed contract or not. If the team does not agree during that 48-hour window, the player will become an unrestricted free agent.
Further, the player and team are still permitted to negotiate a contract prior to the hearing, and it isn’t uncommon for players to agree to a new deal during this waiting period (see Trevor van Riemsdyk and the Carolina Hurricanes, for example).
Much of the attention ahead of the hearings will be directed toward Karlsson, who exploded last season for 43 goals and 78 points. The big argument against Karlsson is his 23.4 shooting percentage, which likely cannot be sustained long-term. Assuming Karlsson and the Knights don’t come to an agreement before the hearing date, his sky-high shooting percentage could significantly lessen the value of his next contract.
Miller and Nosek have intriguing cases as well. Like Karlsson, both Miller and Nosek put together the best statistical campaigns of their careers last season. Nosek proved to be a mainstay on Vegas’ fourth line and Miller excelled both as a play-driver and power play weapon all season for the Knights.
It’s unlikely the Golden Knights will allow any of these players to become unrestricted free agents after the arbitration process is all said and done, but this is still a hugely important storyline to watch this summer.