Spaling files for arbitration

Wednesday, the National Hockey League Players' Association listed all the players who will be entering arbitration later this summer. Of the twenty-one players who has filed for arbitration, only one Nashville Predator has filed — Nick Spaling. 

If you are unfamiliar with what arbitration is, Jamie Fitzpatrick of explains it well.

NHL salary arbitration is a tool available to settle some contract disputes. The player and team each propose a salary for the coming season, and argue their cases at a hearing. The arbitrator, a neutral third party, then sets the player's salary.

Most players must have four years of NHL experience before they are eligible for salary arbitration (the term is reduced for those who signed their first NHL contract after the age of 20). The process is used by restricted free agents, because it is one of the few bargaining options available to them.

Teams can also ask for salary arbitration. But a player can be taken to arbitration only once in his career, and can never receive less than 85 per-cent of his previous year's salary. There are no such restrictions on the number of times a player can ask for arbitration, or the size of the salary awarded.

A decision must be made within 48 hours of the hearing. When the decision is announced, the team has the right to decline, or "walk away" from the award. If the team exercises this right, the player can declare himself an unrestricted free agent.

The evidence that can be used in arbitration cases:

  • The player's "overall performance" including statistics in all previous seasons.
  • Injuries, illnesses and the number of games played.
  • The player's length of service with the team and in the NHL.
  • The player's "overall contribution" to the team's success or failure.
  • The player's "special qualities of leadership or public appeal."
  • The performance and salary of any player alleged to be "comparable" to the player in the dispute.

A few weeks ago, GM David Poile said he has sent a qualifying offer to Spaling, keeping him as a restricted free agent. However, talks for a new contract has not gone as Poile hoped.

With all the latest acquisitions of Matt Cullen, Matt Hendricks, Eric Nystrom and Viktor Stalberg up front, it looks as if someone on the roster last season will go. Spaling seems like he will be the guy packing his bags.

Last season, Spaling played in 47 games totaling 13 points (9g, 4a) and a -10 rating. 

Likely, this could be setting up a trade involving Spaling and at least one other guy in order to potentially acquire a veteran defenseman.

(Photo by: Getty Images)