With the Flyers and restricted free agent forward Brayden Schenn still not having reached an agreement on a new contract, and with Schenn’s arbitration hearing set to begin on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m., formal preparations for the hearing are now underway.
Both Schenn and the Flyers have submitted their initial dollar amounts to the arbitrator for review, and per CBC’s Tim Wharnsby, we now know what those are: Schenn has requested a $5.5 million award, while the Flyers have offered a two-year deal worth $4.25 million in the first year and $4,369,425 in the second year.
#Flyers Brayden Schenn— Tim Wharnsby (@TimWharnsby) July 23, 2016
Club offer: 16-17: $4.25m
Player asking:16-17: $5.5m
(That offer from the Flyers works out to an average value of $4,309,712.50 per season.)
For those unfamiliar with the arbitration process, the act of these offers being submitted does not forbid the two sides from reaching an agreement prior to Monday morning’s hearing. In all likelihood, Schenn (and his agent) and Ron Hextall will continue to spend the weekend trying to work out a contract before 9:00 on Monday morning rolls around. (In fact, they even have up until the moment the arbitrator announces his decision — which can come as late as 48 hours after the hearing ends on Monday — to reach a deal.)
However, once the parties are within 48 hours of the hearing’s scheduled date (which they now are), they must submit their respective offers to the NHL as to what they believe Schenn should be awarded in arbitration, which is where the above numbers come from.
Note that, were the hearing to take place and the Flyers and Schenn still failed to reach an agreement, the arbitrator is not bound to select either Schenn’s ask or the Flyers’ ask. Rather, he/she can and almost certainly will pick a number between the two sides’ asks for a contract for Schenn. (The arbitrator could even go outside of that range if he/she so desired, but that would be extremely unlikely.)
The Flyers’ ask also means that Schenn would get a two-year award from the arbitrator. Additionally, it guarantees that the team can not fully walk away from the deal; they would have had that opportunity on a one-year deal, but by offering a two-year deal, they can only ‘walk away’ from one year of the deal. So this offer guarantees that, barring a trade, Schenn will be a Flyer next year. (Though it was never too likely that the Flyers would walk away from a deal.)
About a week ago, Charlie looked at potential comparables for a longer-term deal for Schenn, and found that a deal that would make the most sense would likely be somewhere between $4.5 million and $5.25 million per year, depending on the exact contract length. The fact that both the Flyers’ and Schenn’s submitted numbers are outside of this range comes as little surprise, as they are both looking for as advantageous a deal as they can reasonably argue for, and odds are very high that any sort of agreement will be within that range.
The Flyers and Schenn will probably still reach a deal before Monday’s hearing. Both teams and players generally tend to try and avoid the arbitration process, and as such, deals frequently get done in the days or hours (or even minutes) before the hearings are set to begin. But we haven’t received any indication that the sides are particularly close on a deal yet, so an actual hearing certainly appears to be possible. We’ll find out soon enough.