Red Wings' forward Jiri Hudler filed for arbitration earlier today. The Wings hope to re-sign the forward before arbitration; however, an arbitrator will determine Hudler's salary if a deal cannot be met in time.
The Good: Our restricted free agent can no longer receive an offer sheet from another team now that he has filed for arbitration.
The Bad: If it goes to arbitration, the Wings can't control what Hudler's salary will be, which isn't good when we're so close to the cap as it is. Arbitration will result in a one- or two-year contract. The Wings are usually able to get better deals with a longer term so that's not ideal, but if it's a higher salary I guess a short-term contract would be best.
The Ugly: Arbitration can get nasty because the team has to lay out why it thinks Hudler does not deserve the salary he is asking about -- in front of his agent and possibly Hudler. If the arbitrator awards a salary to Hudler that the Wings can't afford, Hudler will become an unrestricted free agent and the Wings will get nothing in return.
Fortunately for Detroit, the Wings have not had a player go to arbitration since 1995 when Ray Sheppard did (via Ansar Khan at MLive.com). Let's hope a deal gets done before hearings begin in Toronto on July 20. The hearings will conclude by August 4. Teams have until 5 p.m. EDT on Monday to decide if they want to take any players to arbitration. The player's deadline was today.