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Red Wings file for salary arbitration with Petr Mrazek

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Detroit makes a move to get a fair deal with their starter, one way or another.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As free agency season churns along, we’ve reached the second milestone in the dead period between the July 1st signing frenzy and all of the other wheeling and dealing that will happen before the late summer camp-invite show-me-contract signings that tend to happen every year (and Dan Cleary).

Before we can get to that period though, we had to get through the salary arbitration filing deadlines. The first of those deadlines passed yesterday and saw Red Wings RFAs Danny DeKeyser and Jared Coreau file for arbitration. Coreau has since signed a two-year deal, but DeKeyser’s status remains pending.

The second deadline was today at 5pm, and it marked the deadline for NHL teams to file for arbitration with unsigned RFAs. Chuck Pleiness gives us the confirmation that the Wings did indeed file with Mrazek.

Getting to Know the CBA: Arbitration

What Does This Mean?

Like with DeKeyser filing, the Wings can continue to work out a deal prior to an arbitration decision being made and sign whatever contract they want with their #1 goaltender. If the two sides can’t get a deal done, they’ll have a hearing between July 20th and August 4th for the arbitrator to decide. It also means that Mrazek will not be eligible to sign an offer sheet with another team now.

Since the Red Wings filed instead of Mrazek, there are three considerations at play here:

  • Mrazek will get to decide whether they are going to go for a one-year deal or two-year in the arbitration hearing.
  • The Red Wings will have no rights to walk away from the arbitrator’s decision after a hearing is held.
  • No matter what happens (including a contract prior to the hearing), Petr Mrazek can not be taken to salary arbitration by any NHL team from here out.

Another thing to consider is that no matter what happens here, Petr Mrazek cannot qualify for unrestricted free agency for the next three years, so any deal that he selects in arbitration will still leave the Wings with rights of first refusal on him. Also, just because the Wings won’t have the ability to file for arbitration again doesn’t mean Mrazek loses such a right. He could file in the future.

Expect that Mrazek will get a significant salary increase from the $737,500 he earned on his previous one-year deal (which was probably signed intentionally short to get him to this season where he would be arbitration-eligible).

Comparisons

If both sides end up in arbitration, the only signings that can be used as comparable are RFA deals. This may work out in favor of the Red Wings. Since the Maple Leafs gave the very-comparable Frederik Andersen 5 years at $5M AAV, more cap-friendly deals have been signed, such as:

Andrei Vasilevskiy - 3 years at $3.5M

Darcy Kuemper - 1 year at $1.55M

Calvin Pickard - 2 years at $1M

Unfortunately, with these four goalies, Mrazek compares more closely to the two more-expensive options, as Andersen is the only declared Starter and Vasilevskiy will be rather soon. However, we know Mrazek is going to get paid a fair chunk anyway. I feel if it goes as far as arbitration, the award will at least be fair, since that’s kind of the whole point of arbitration in the first place.

As always though, we should expect that the Red Wings will reach a deal with Mrazek before the process even gets to the arbitrator. This is true for a majority of cases. If they do take it forward to a hearing, Ken Holland is going to have a fun time explaining why the guy he called their starter doesn’t deserve more money.