Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry take a pass on salary arbitration

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One of the interesting wrinkles in the contract negotiations between defencemen Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry was that the players had the right to take the team to arbitration, a right that had to be exercised by 5:00 PM New York time on July 5 if a hearing was to take place.

In an interesting bit of non-news, neither player was among the 20 listed by the NHLPA as filing for arbitration.

The List

Fully half of the league’s 30 teams now face the prospect of an arbitration hearing if they are unable to reach an agreement with their free agent(s) beforehand. The full list via the NHLPA can be found here, and there are some interesting names on it.

Montreal has an interesting summer ahead. P.K. Subban, as expected, exercised his right to arbitration, but he was joined by Lars Eller, the 25-year old who was so good in 2012-13 and during the playoffs for the Habs.

New York had three different players elect, and all three are key forwards: Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello. Toronto will have to deal with both Cody Franson and James Reimer, a duo that have been frequently mentioned in trade rumours over the last few months.

Alberta’s other team also has an interesting hearing coming up. 24-year-old Joe Colborne, a 6’5” centre, scored 28 points in his rookie NHL season in Calgary and now will elect for arbitration.

Reading the Tea Leaves

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The decision by both players to pass on arbitration can be spun in any manner of ways, but the simplest is this: the team and the players are pretty much on the same page.

Petry in particular is interesting because he’s only a year from unrestricted free agency. If his camp had really wanted to play hardball, electing for salary arbitration would have been a great way to make sure that he both got paid and was free to test the market next summer. As Bruce McCurdy put in his take on the subject:

[Petry] held the “arbitration hammer” in what we can only presume are ongoing negotiations. That he chose not to exercise it may be a tell that things are close to a decision point. That could be an extension, or it could be a trade.

Possibly of interest is a comment from general manager Craig MacTavish on Jason Gregor’s show in mid-June, where he said the Oilers “fully anticipate” signing the defenceman to a new contact.

Schultz is less surprising, simply because of the many things Craig MacTavish has said about him in the past. For example, he was asked whether he’d prefer to sign Schultz to a bridge contract or a long-term deal at his end-of-season press availability and offered the following:

I’m open to both. It’ll be dependent on really what Justin wants to do. I think I’ve been clear all along on the upside that I see from Justin Schultz. He’s a developing player. He’s just completed his first NHL season, his upside is limitless. So I have a lot of confidence and would have the confidence to extend Justin on a long-term deal. When I analyze the deals that we’ve extended to some of the other players, some of the other long-term deals. I don’t think – I mean, the argument against a long-term deal for a young player is that it takes away their motivation, but I can’t say that any of those long-term deals has dissuaded any of those individuals from aspiring to be as good as they can be.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if in both of these cases the Oilers and the players involved have pretty decent communication and aren’t worried about arbitration. There are other possible interpretations, but Schultz and Petry opting to pass on the chance to get a second opinion on their value is probably good news for the team.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

    • Mike Krushelnyski

      Maybe, but it could also mean that both players are willing to look at offer sheets from other teams. Filing for arbitration makes players ineligible to sign offer sheets from other teams.

      • Mike Krushelnyski

        Both these guys are going to want to cash in now. Petry isn’t going to give up any ufa years unless it is really worth his while. What did Schultz make in these first 2 years?

  • ThinkingOutLoud

    Nice to see neither wanted to risk bad blood – seems both would rather say here long-term, which means they haven’t given up on the team and would like to be part of the solution. Also seems to indicate they buy into the plan MacT and Eakins are working on. Good news all-round.

  • bwar

    Rangers go to the cup final, three players file for arbitration. Oilers finish third last in the league and have no players file for arbitration. I guess the Oilers have some really potent Kool-Aid.

  • bwar

    @Kim
    We’re not trading Petry. Especially not for Frans Nielsen. Thats actually the worst trade edmonton could make. How much more lopsided can a trade become?

  • bazmagoo

    Happy to read this news! I really don’t want the Oilers to be trading any players right now, just picks/prospects for NHL players from teams struggling with cap issues. We are two NHL players away from having a team that is able to push for a playoff spot in my opinion.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Both of these guys are going to want more money, and are going to get more money, than arbitration would give them.

    An arbitrator will give you a league-wide average salary for comparable RFA players.

    Which means they won’t get the “Alberta Advantage”, where the Oilers pay you vastly over the market rate because they are stone cold desperate.

    And if the Oilers don’t back up the Brinks truck to your door, you can’t hold out if you’ve gone to arbitration.

    Now I know, I know, you’re thinking to yourself “There’s no way Justin Schultz would screw over the club that holds his contract rights like that. He’s just not that kind of guy.”

    But the simple fact is that if either guy holds out, the Oilers would cave and cave HARD. They are going to suck badly, playoff hopes will be dim by November, pressure will be high, the club will be starving for NHL level talent, and these guys will be sitting there with their skates on and wallets open.

    Arbitration that gives them the same salary that comparable players are getting on other teams is the last thing either of these guys wants, when they have every reason to expect to be paid considerably more.

    • Chainsawz

      This whole quote is a joke. Are you either of their agents? Are you in talks with MacT? Didn’t think so. Willis said it best with both of these players opting to pass arbitration is more likely good news then bad. I know you’re not an Oilers fan so if you’re going to comment on the team at least be reasonable, I bet you both Petry and Schultz sign fair value contracts and not cave HARD.

      • The Last Big Bear

        Well, it’s a good sign from the point of view that arbitration is probably the fastest route to free agency for these guys, so this is at least a sign that they’re not desperate to leave Edmonton.

        But neither of these guys is in real danger of being bent over and forced to take significantly less than their market value. So there’s no benefit for them to file arbitration from a salary stand point.

        They will get more money from negotiation (which may include holding out) than they ever would through arbitration.

    • Oilers4ever

      Thank you for explaining the reality of the current day Oilers to the kool-aid drinking masses. As you explain not going to arbitration is in the best interest of these players. They may choose not to hold the Oil ransom but if they wanted to they certainly could. For those of you who think that these players passed on arbitration because they see the Oil as a winning destination….you make me laugh. Have another drink.

    • The Last Big Bear

      Ok that’s it I am officially starting a I.D.I.O.T.S list…and you are one of the official members. It stands for: Individuals Disrespecting Intelligent Observations Through Stupidity.

      The following members either offer nothing but contrary negative remarks serving no real purpose other than pissing people off, or offer non coherent trade proposals on a regular basis.

      1. DSF
      2. Serious Gord
      3. Quick silver ballet
      4. Madjam
      5. Big Bear
      6. Fresh Mess
      7. Kozy Mel

      Congratulations, the list will be up dated soon!
      Wow looking at the list… I maybe out numbered? Maybe my Grand daddy was right when he said “the dullards are out breeding us son, it’s only a matter of time”…

      • The Last Big Bear

        do you disagree that the oilers have to overpay for FA’s? will you only be happy surrounded by yes men posting nothing but praise and mindless glorification?

        fact is they’re the worst team in the nhl for the past decade and one of the worst pro franchises in the world. sorry if some of arnt used to bending over and pulling our pants down.

        • Mike Krushelnyski

          1. DSF 2. Serious Gord 3. Quick silver ballet 4. Madjam 5. Big Bear 6. Fresh Mess 7. Kozy Mel 8. Rex Holez

          Congratulations!

          P.s disagreeing is good, debate is good, being contrary on everything with out reason or foundation …… Welcome to the I.D.I.O.T.S list!!

          • Big K

            Sure, if you can show me one case in which you showed any balance to your pompous tirades. As for DSF I think he might be looking up “pollyannism” from your post…. Could take him awhile. Do you see the irony in you complaining about the arrogance of Oiler management, and you’re “style” of posts and calls to the talk shows? Here’s a clue, look at how many trashes you get, but you probably believe it is because you are just smarter than everyone else….oooooh the irony!

          • Big K

            I agree – Serious Gord, you should lighten up and change your user name to Cheerful Gord. Surely someone as negative as you needs a happy pill each morning. Cal1 1-800-cheer-up

          • Serious Gord

            Changing your argument mid-stream. Because you have no grounds to make it. (As I suspected)

            I absolutely have bias. So do you. I make no attempt to be balanced sometimes (I do on other occasions as any one who has heard me on stauffer et al shows can attest – but in a conversational situation that is much more likely because their is an immediate back and forth and taking one’a adversaries objections into account can be a very effective way of dulling the strength of their position and getting sympathy for yours.

            In the blogging word, this oftentimes is less effective in my experience as there are others on both sides usually participating.

            And as for the numbers of for/against – it is entirely understandable that I would get more negatives than positives – this is an oilers fan website after all – go look up the definition of fan. And it doesn’t bother me in the least.

            (Thanks for reading/responding)

          • The Last Big Bear

            Because I refused to jump through your hoops, looking up your old post to prove a point that most readers hear have already shown, through the trashing of your posts, means I am loosing a argument? Ok Winchester…look I am an educated person, but I must admit I had to re read your post a few times because after the first sentence it became. Blah blah blah. But if you do require proof of your un relenting unbalance approach, In one of your previous post instead of giving credit for a good move by management, you said ” even a broken clock gets it right a couple of times.” It is logical to disagree with the Oil management group, they have brought a lot of that on themselves. However, you will attack everything, you have lost all objectivity which therefore turns your opinions into nothing more than a bitch fest. You are right this is a ” Fan” website so if you are not going to be a “fan” of at least some of the moves, some of the times, then might I suggest a different site, or starting your own site. You could call it. Thoughts by Serious Gord & why I am smarter than You!

            P.s if you once said ” stellar move today by the Oil” then people would be more willing to listen when you did want to rip them for a bad move.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Since 30th, 30th, 29th,24th and 28th place finishes is above criticism, you’ve decided to go all crusade on him today. Are you even J,ewish?

            Whatever you’re on Slayer. Ask your dope dealer for a refund.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            The one drawback of summer.

            All these kids going from the classroom, to their moms basement to let us all know first hand, how awesome they are.

            Just imagine how bad it would be if these I.D.I.O.T.S (Slayer type kids) were old enough to buy their own drink.

          • Serious Gord

            We dont you remind us of your days bare knuckle boxing on the mean streetd there old gold gloves!!

            Remind us of the thrill of fighting and holding your.head high like a real man.

          • Spiel

            First, thanks for the compliment of thinking I am young. Let’s just say I am old enough to have witnessed the glory years. Second you need to read a little more carefully starting with my name, and then try to follow the point….disagreeing with the Oilers is logical considering some of the ridiculous decisions made, however try once in awhile to show some objectivity, and look at each decision with a fresh prospective. You might have some more fun in life, ….or just keep pissing all over everything if that’s your thing …WOW!

      • The Last Big Bear

        So your retort is to not address anything I’ve said but rather just to claim that you’re smart and I’m stupid?

        Maybe instead of pontificating about how genetically superior y’all are, and lamenting how lesser people like me are still allowed to pollute your race, your grand pappy should have taught you the basic tenets of civilised debate.

        Which does not include the use of “You’re stupid and I’m better than you” as a response to a point of discussion.

      • Spurzey

        7 members only 7 trashes Should tell you something. Should be 8 members you forgot Recthole. You 8 should try flames nation then the rest of us could carry on intelligent conversations

    • Serious Gord

      Excellent point well argued.

      Arbitration is the last thing any oiler should do as there is no mechanism in the directions to the arbitrator to account for the worst location in the nhl both geographically and – arguably – team management.

      Holding out when the time comes is much more effective.

      And spinning the declining to go to arb as being a good thing is naive pollyannism.

    • Zarny

      Good grief, talk of hold outs is nothing but baseless gossip fitting the Enquirer or TMZ.

      You are correct though that an arbitrator would decide based on comparable RFA players.

      And the comparables don’t really favor Schultz or Petry. Whether you look at a bridge contract like Subban’s or longer extensions like Josi and Hedman there isn’t a lot of wiggle room.

      As Mr. Kadri found out last year teams hold the hammer with RFA’s and if you go to arbitration it isn’t a pleasant process for the players.

      I suspect Schultz and Petry opted to forgo arbitration to avoid seeing clips of cross ice passes being intercepted and Blake Wheeler overpowering Petry to win the game in OT on continuous loop compared to setting themselves up to hold out.

      At least they won’t get Deryk Engelland money. Now there is a beaut.

      • Serious Gord

        Justin Schultz made almost 4 million per year the last 2 seasons and is the Oilers top scoring defenseman. He’s going to take a 1 million dollar cut so he’s not making Deryk Engelland money? Will be interesting to see what happens with Petry who is 1 year away from being an ufa.

      • The Last Big Bear

        You start with a “good grief”, and then go on to repeat exactly what I said.

        That both of these guys will get paid more outside of arbitration than they would if they filed for an impartial judgement of their worth.

        Which means that them avoiding arbitration means nothing.

        I’m not saying these guys are planning on holding out. I was illustrating that even if they are planning on playing the hardest of hardball (and they do have the leverage to do it IMO), there is no scenario where it’s in their interest to apply for arbitration.

        And you think neither of these guys is going to get Derek Engelland money?

        Really?

        That’s… Wildly optimistic of you.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Frans Neilson a bonified 50 point 2nd line center in his prime for Jeff Petry a arguable number 4 on most good teams in the NHL?

    You can argue either wah wbicb has more value. Looks like saw off for me.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    The Oilers should be watching some of these arbitration cases closely, in particular Eller or Brassard. Either player would seem to be a good fit if they somehow became available.

  • Chainsawz

    By not going to arbritration, they also still can have another team negotiate their contract via offer sheet….

    If both players get market for their services, it’ll leave around $3 million for a second line center. I’m curious how this plays out as if both players are Oilers at puck drop, either a significant winger is out or a less than desirable option Is deployed at 2C.

    • Chainsawz

      Justin Faulk, 6 years, $29 million, $4.83 million cap hit

      Faulk, 22, 3 seasons, 169 GP, 61 pts, -20, was an RFA.

      Schultz, 23, 2 seasons, 112 GP, 55 pts, -37, currently an RFA

      • Mike Krushelnyski

        Im glad someone posted this. I am a Schultz fan but hes done next to nothing in the NHL to warrant a 3+mil per year contract. At this point all he has is potential. All Oilers fans can remember the terrible defensive zone play on almost a nightly basis. Why are people giving this guy 3-4+ million for 100 years?

        Just take a quick look at Subbans numbers after his 3rd season. Schultz wasnt even close to that kind of production. Subban got 2.5 then 3.75 or something close to that. Schultz shouldnt get a dime more than subbans bridge deal and in all reality im thinking 2mil then 2.75 for 2 years.

        Get a grip if you think schultz is worth more

        • The Last Big Bear

          It’s not about “what’s he worth”, it’s about “what’s he worth to the Oilers?”

          You say he’s worth $2.5m-ish.

          OK, well let’s say he holds out, or demands a trade or something.

          Can the Oilers replace him for $2.5m?

          Not. A. Hope. It cost the Oilers $4.5m to replace Nick Schultz… by signing the guy who lost his spot to Nick Schultz.

          Arbitration might say he’s worth $2.5m but there’s no way the Oilers could replace him at that price, so he’s clearly worth much more than that to this club. Arbitration would give him what he’s worth in the league, but negotiation will give him what he’s worth to Edmonton. And last time I checked I think he was leading the team in minutes.

          • Serious Gord

            Agreed. The sad, grim reality is that the teams management has such a stench of incompetence – and track record of having players underperform that in addition to their being a location charge to be paid there is also a management charge.

            If management was significantly above average with an excellent track record not only would there be no management charge the location charge would be waived – players could conceivably play for less than they could get elsewhere.

            Does anyone think the clowns running the oil currently will ever earn that kind of reputation?

          • Chainsawz

            What?! Do you honestly believe the constant whiny bullshjt you write on here? You think players get more money based on who the manager is? Management charge?!

          • Serious Gord

            If a teams management sucks then players – free agents – will not play there unless they get more than they would where a teams management does not suck.

            Just look at what Richards dis vis-a-vis Chicago. Do you think he signs to that little if Chicago management was as bad as it was during the latter years of bill wirtz’ ownership?

            Simple logic – not bull$hit.

          • Chainsawz

            If we are talking about a bridge deal Schultz will not get more than 3 mil per season whether its 2 or 3 years. Which works out best for Schultz and the team.

          • Big K

            His real money earned was 3.775 a year. I think his agent will push for 4+ That will barely put him in the top 60. Also, he puts up offense and offense gets paid. I have a feeling the oilers won’t play hardball with him as he was the first major free agent in a long time to choose the oil. They may wish to keep that goodwill going to show other players how well they treat their free agents. I may be way off but that is my feeling

          • Big K

            Real money and base salary are two completely different things. His base salary was 925k hes not going to get more than a 400% increase.

            Theres no way Schultz deserves 4+ per year. He’ll get a 2/3 year deal worth 2.5-3 per year

          • Serious Gord

            I think that the loyalty that management has to him because he chose to play for the oil is a major driver of them keeping him here. That loyalty is not unlike what they showed to gagner b signing him to a big contract with a NTC last summer.

            And look how that turned out…

        • Chainsawz

          If the Oilers want to buy up some FA years on Schultz on a 6-7 year contract, they’re going to have to pony up now close to $5 million a season.

          Schultz, 23, 2 seasons, 112 GP, 55 pts, 0.49 pts/gm

          Subban after ELC, 23, 3 seasons, 160 GP, 76 points, 0.48 pts/gm

          Subban got a 2 year deal worth $5.75 million, $2.85 million AAV. That’s a not bad comparable at the time and what I expect a short term deal to look like.

          • Chainsawz

            I agree. Schult is looking at a 2 year bridge deal. I dont think hes done near enough to warrant a 6-8 year deal.

            Although it worked out for Subban I highly doubt Schultz is as good as him. Thats not a knock on Schultz, him and Subban are in different leagues. You forgot +/- in your comparison also.

      • Spurzey

        Willis : No wonder Detroit having a harder time getting UFA,s to choose them . Look at their aging core to start next season . Alfredsson if he returns 41 , Bertuzzi 39 , Samuelson 38 (dec) , Datsyuk 36, Franzen 35 , Cleary 35 , Zetterburg 34 and soon 35 . Detroit is trending down rapidly .

      • Serious Gord

        From the late nineties on they had a defenseman by the name of lidstrom…

        Without him they have been exposed and need to rebuild/retool.

        Datsuyk would be an interesting player to put to market but I suspect the organization would only trade him if he asked to be and I doubt very much the oilers would be one of his choices unless he’s homesick for Siberian-type weather.

  • Lots of Petry for Frans Nielsen talk here.

    I can’t imagine the Islanders do it. Nielsen’s a legit Selke candiodate, one of the better two-way centres in the game, and gives the team the kind of 1-2-3 punch down the middle that every club wants.

    All that, and he only costs $3.0 million with a $2.5 million cap hit.

    I’m a big fan of Petry, but even so I don’t think he represents fair value in trade for the Islanders.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Jeff has done well for himself in the early part of his career. He’s one season away from calling his own shots from now on, and he’s American.

    Send him home while the Oilers still have some control over him. Petry++ for Sean Couturier, and let’s get this party started here in Edmonton.

    Did Jeff marry and Edmonton girl, or a girl from back home?

    • Serious Gord

      Interesting observation. I’m certainly not a fan of his play so far – and even though he’s only played a couple seasons in the NHL he’s quite a bit older and unlikely to get the kind of delta that a younger player would in the next couple years.

      Dealing him now should definitely be considered but I highly doubt the close-minded management of this team has seriously discussed it even once.

      • Zarny

        You doubt Oiler management has discussed trading Petry even once despite there being nothing but rumors that the Oilers will trade Petry over the last week.

        I believe the term is willfully ignorant.

          • Big K

            Funny, Serious Gord, how you criticize everyone who makes a mistake on this website, you slam everyone else’s opinion, and think that no-one else is right except you. Well, my friend. PollyANNAism is probably the correct spelling for what you meant, even though it’s not a word in the dictionary. Back to school for you.

          • Serious Gord

            Ha!! Spurred you to look it up. I’m well aware it is not a word per se but today’s world is the world of lmao etc. and I’m from newfoundland where creating new words is not a sin.

            And I don’t think I criticize people on this site very often at all. I criticize what they say/argue, but that is a very different thing.

  • The Last Big Bear

    JW,

    What do you think about signing Mike Ribiero to a 1 year deal? I have read rumors of bad attitude in Phoenix, and if so, maybe avoid. Otherwise though, might be a ok 2C for12 months.

  • Zarny

    Gm’s probably get calls on all players of note including Hall, Eberle , Hopkins, etc.. Good input in how the marketplace might be for each player . We did it even with Gretsky , so lets not be naïve and think Petry and Schultz have not been inquired about .

    If Marincin , Klefbom and Nurse are pushing now , and maybe Oilers are going to get another defenceman in Coburn and/or Boychuk , then there would be a good chance Petry could be moved incurring no damage overall .

  • Zarny

    SLYERS: I like your I.D.I.O.T.S list. Please could you add all those who make it a point of correcting grammar and spelling etc. Perhaps these people don’t understand that many people have English as their 2nd language, they may be dyslexic, or have other learning disabilities. They may also be poorly educated through no fault of their own. This website is for personal opinions regarding the Oilers NOT a forum for wanna-be school teachers berating people for things that may not be their faults.

  • Big K

    I started an account on here for one reason. I’m ahuge oilers fan and am soooo tired of all the supposed fans!!!

    I agree we have been terrible for years, but if your a fan show some faith!! Mac T has this, cause you all know you”ll be right back on the were the best team ever. For —- sakes these people i speak of sound like dirty canauck fans @!! Trust me I’m form B.C!!!

  • Spiel

    Schultz has been about the money since he dissed Anaheim to go to Edmonton.

    Think about it. He had a choice of almost any team, and instead of working his way up on a team with defensive depth and becoming an all-around player he chose the team that could give him PP time right away. PP time = points = money. He knew that the Oilers put him a situation where he could reach all the bonuses on his rookie contract. Other teams could not guarantee that playing time in the NHL, but arguably would have been better for his career development.

    Schultz will want the defenseman version of the Hall/Nuge/Eberle contract.

    Given the money that less talented UFA d-men receive on the open market and Schultz’s contract history, I don’t see him giving up that UFA opportunity that will be his in 4 years unless he is heavily compensated.

    If he signs a series of one-year deals, he can keep the pressure on the Oilers every off-season, and take a swing for that 7 year/$6M per deal every year.

    Even with the Oilers depth of defense prospects, they have no one in the system who profiles as the heir apparent to take over the point on the powerplay from Schultz. Years of picking up points from riding shotgun with Hall, Ebs, and Nuge on the powerplay is going to pay off big for Schultz.