FTB Weekend: Arbitration, iron hooks and stretchy beanie space

The Maple Leafs added Calle Järnkrok on Friday, clarifying who will be on the Leafs’ roster this fall.

Right now with 21 players made up of 12F, 7D and 2G there is plenty of room for everyone you would expect to see on the roster along with a few people you might not expect to join in the AHL. However, that only works if Pierre Engvall and Rasmus Sandin simply accept their qualifying offers. Engvall is eligible for arbitration, and Sandin is not.

So it’s time to dive into the arbitration rules:

  • players have until 5 p.m. Sunday to elect arbitration
  • one minute later, a window opens for 24 hours that allows the team to choose arbitration
  • the party that does not choose arbitration decides the length of the contract if it goes to a hearing — the choices are one or two years
  • hearings take place at the end of July and August
  • any player subject to an arbitration hearing may be traded at any time, except while the hearing itself is in progress
  • any player subject to an arbitration hearing may sign an agreement with the team, except while the hearing itself is in progress
  • players in their final year as FRG can only get a one-year contract
  • teams cannot drop team-elected officiating
  • teams can drop player-elected arbitration decisions over $4.538958 million

Arbitration hearings begin with a team offer, which must be at least the player’s salary and bonuses in the second window for team-elected arbitration, and a player requests. The referee will choose a number between these two.

Traditionally, with very few exceptions, the choice falls on the golden mean.

If a bidder doesn’t choose arbitration, qualify, or sign a contract by Friday this week, the qualifying bid expires and their ability to simply accept it disappears. They have the option of proceeding to arbitration, if elected, or of negotiating an agreement. They can also sign an offer sheet if it is negotiated with them. RFA must sign before December 1 to play in the current season.

Only Pierre Engvall can take the route of arbitration. Rasmus Sandin must broker a deal or the Leafs can swap his signing rights, those are the only choices. The strategy for a player like Engvall to just take his QO is clear, it leads him to UFA status, and he can make any deal he wants. The Maple Leafs have no great incentive to sign him now for more than his QO — $1.25 million — unless they can buy UFA years with a reasonably low AAV term contract.

For Rasmus Sandin, he is in a different situation. He needs another year before he’s eligible for arbitration, prompting him to take the QO now and see where he stands next summer. But he’s probably going to want some security, duration, and a boost.

In other news, because this offseason is missing two weeks, we will soon be entering T25. More on that this week, but we’ll need official voters, so we’ll put out an appeal for that (it’s filling in numbers on a spreadsheet, it’s not hard).

Back on the free agent front, it’s easy to see things have stalled. Where is Nazem Kadri going? Canucks trade JT Miller? Will the Ducks ever reach the salary floor?

Leafs development camp begins Sunday, so expect to see engaging scrimmage game descriptions and on-ice videos from plenty of coaches.

So far, the Leafs have signed boundary-type players, but they haven’t signed any genuine AHL players with the NHL. They will probably get there as the summer progresses.

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