Earlier this morning, the New York Post reported that three New York Rangers players (Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider) filed for salary arbitration. While these players have yet to be signed, the fact that they opted for arbitration could kill the Rangers with cap space and potentially signing all three appears very slim.
Before I explain why this could be bad for New York, let me briefly explain what salary arbitration means in NHL terms. The deadline to apply for arbitration is July 5. While a player can file for arbitration, they can still agree to a deal before the hearings in late July and early August. A player can only be taken to arbitration once in his career, and can’t receive less than 85 percent of his previous salary. After 48 hours passes from the ruling, the team has a right to decline to the offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Now back to the bad news. While Zuccarello has said before he’d take less money to stay in the Big Apple, it appears he isn’t staying true to his word. Recent reports have Zuccs wanting a five-year deal worth $5 million a year. Clearly this would hurt the Rangers’ pockets and hopes of signing Brassard and Kreider as well. Brassard wants $4 million a year, and Kreider seems to want around $2-3 million per year.
If New York listened to their demands and went through with all three deals, they’d be tight with money while their center position would still be a gaping hole. If the players don’t lower their salary demands, it’s very likely one of the three will be packing their bags. Now at this point it’s all about waiting and seeing if either Glen Sather coughs up the cash or shows any of the three players the door. Regardless, expect some disappointment.