Initial arbitration offers from the Philadelphia Flyers and Brayden Schenn give hints of possible settlement amounts
Those initial offer amounts are fairly predictable. The halfway point between the 2 offers would be about $4.905. Granted, the process is supposed to be more nuanced than simply splitting the difference.
For example, the New York Rangers and Chris Kreider put in requests for $3.2 million and $4.75 million respectively. That situation was resolved at the last moment before arbitration with a 4-year contract at $4.6 million. Given how that situation played out, one can’t read too much from the arbitration numbers as to what the final contract settlement would actually be.
Getting back to Schenn, consider the latest comparables in these graphs.
As discussed in previous posts, Schenn is not among the top of this group in 5v5 play. He’s more similar to Schwartz and Palmieri, doing more damage on the power play while lagging at 5v5. Of course Schwartz is on top of the chart in contract value, while Palmieri’s on the low end.
Aside from pure amount, perhaps the biggest surprise is that the Flyers exercised their choice in arbitration contract length and chose a 2-year deal. If a 2-year deal is awarded through arbitration, Schenn would be an unrestricted free agent at the end of it. That’s risky for the Flyers.
Schenn is likely bargaining on the chip that he led the team (and was top-10 in the NHL) in points since January 1. The Flyers may not bite on that valuation, as shown in my season review, an examination of the underlying numbers shows little changed for Schenn other than shooting percentages. Therefore the advanced stats say Schenn did not in fact find a new, sustainable level to his game.
My prediction is that Hextall will not, nor should he go over $5 million a year with a 3-5 year contract prior to Monday’s hearing. This will give Schenn a choice. If he really believes in himself as a player and doesn’t feel an overwhelming desire to be a long term Flyer, he could well let things go through the full arbitration process.
There’s a decent chance Schenn will get more money ($5+ million) from the arbitrator, and then he will be a free agent and be free to get even more money on the open market. Of course this presumes Schenn’s following 2 seasons are close to the way he finished last season–a big if.
The ideal scenario for Schenn would be to get a deal like Schwartz did from the Blues. Schwartz got 5 years, $5.35 million. I don’t sense Hextall has as much belief in Schenn as the Blues do in Schwartz.
So today we got the news on the amounts the Flyers and Schenn have given the arbitrator. Truly it doesn’t tell us all that much, and we’ll still have to wait and see what the next 48 hours brings.