Sunday, July 23, 2006

Arbitration Frustration

Thus far in the NHL arbitration season, two players have gotten rewards, at least publicly. Both Mike York and Daniel Briere got some raises in their future. York got an $850k raise based on an arbitrator's ruling and the Islanders are in their last 24 hours to see if they want to sign York or let him go free. As for Briere, he got much, much more.

According to TSN, Briere was awarded $5M for next season. That's a raise of about 259% for a guy who had 58 points in 48 games. No disrespect to Briere, but that's effin' crazy. Apparently, Briere and his agents used Marian Gaborik, Martin Havlat, and Alex Tanguay as examples in his case. This is why I'm not a big fan of arbitration.

When you look at the points-per-game of Briere (0.70) it is less than Tanguay (0.89), Havlat (0.79), and Gaborik (0.76). They are all younger than Briere and have more potential upside than Briere. When you look at what the other three got, Havlat ($6M/year) is a result of the Blackhawks spending insane cash, Gaborik ($6.3M/year) is the franchise player for the Wild, and Tanguay (avg $5.25M) is added punch for a weak-offensive Flames squad.

Granted, Briere could be considered a franchise player, but so should Ryan Miller, Chris Drury, and a host of others on the Sabres squad.

Arbitration is insane because you can have a guy who has one good season, then go to arbitration to get a boatload of cash and then stink it up that year of the contract. Happened to Brendan Witt, though do to the Lockout, he never got it.

While I'm all for some players to get top-dollar, there needs to be work done to the current system to fix the whole craziness that is going on surrounding it. If the past performance of the player has nothing to do with it, you may as well just give everyone raises and then raise the salary cap more so, throwing the NHL into a state it was before.....more so.

As the old saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It may not be broke, but it's almost to that point for the NHL and it's arbitraion rules.

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