This afternoon, it was announced that three of the four New York Rangers‘ restricted free agents, Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider, have filed for arbitration. The only one who did not was defenseman John Moore, and that was because he has no salary arbitration rights in his contract.
So, what does all of this mean for these players and the Rangers?
Without getting too complex and into all of the legal mumbo jumbo, this simply means that Zuccarello, Brassard and Kreider all want long-term deals for more money than what Rangers GM Glen Sather is willing to give them, and they are now bringing their cases to court. The good news is that arbitration will not take place until at least late July, and you can still negotiate up until the court date, meaning all three can have new deals in place without ever having to take their cases through arbitration.
Regardless though, Zuccarello, Brassard and Kreider have shown me just by filing for arbitration that they care more about money than staying a member of the Rangers and trying to win a Stanley Cup here. While I heard very little of Brassard and Kreider before the news broke today, Zuccarello said to the media that he was willing to take less because money does not mean much to him and that he cares more about staying with the Rangers and winning. Obviously Zuccarello lied through his teeth, because he would not have filed for arbitration if that true.
If no deal is reached by the arbitration date and the judge decides in favor of the players over the Rangers organization, and if the judge awards the players money that the Rangers just cannot afford to pay them, the Rangers would then have no choice but to let them go to free agency and lose all three players.
For the Rangers’ and the fans’ sake, either deals have to be reached with all three players before it goes to court or it goes to court and the judge rules against the players, because if not, the Rangers will be in serious trouble, with many holes to fill, and they sure will not get any help from these ungrateful players.