NHL Arbitration Time: Part Two (Bouchard, Svatos, Filppula)
The hearings involving Bouchard will be very interesting.
He will be looking for a considerable raise from the Wild. There is a possibility that he will try to double the $2.6 million salary of his last contract.
He holds some interesting cards in his hand to make it happen. As of right now, Bouchard would go into camp as one of the few offensive weapons available in Minnesota, having just finished a career year with 63 points.
An example of another player in that point range is Flames center Daymond Langkow, who just signed a four-year $5 million contract with Calgary. Bouchard will also likely use Kristian Huselius' new contract as a bargaining chip. Huselius had 66 points last year, and he just signed a four-year contract with the Colubus Blue Jackets worth $4.75 million per year.
The Wild tried to trade Bouchard for Olli Jokinen before the draft. Offering him up in a trade for a player of that caliber can only increase his value.
It is likely that he will re-sign a one-year deal with Minnesota, and then leave when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next year. I don't see him signing a long-term deal, considering the last two deals he signed with Minnesota were only for one year.
On paper, Svatos seems to be in for a raise. He had 26 goals and 37 points last year, and was a +13 in 62 games on a offensively-challenged Colorado team.
The amount of games played will be a issue that the Avalanche will point out. He has played in the league for three years and has yet to play over 66 games. His health will be his biggest obstacle.
In 2006, he missed the last quarter of the season with a right shoulder injury. Throughout the 2006-07 season, he fought a groin injury. Last year, he missed the end of the regular season with a torn ACL. In his three years in Colorado, Svatos has also not appeared in the playoffs. He will most likely end up with a one-year, $2.8 million contract.
Filppula's situation wouldn't be as complicated if it wasn't for his production in the playoffs. He only put up 36 points in the regular season but put up 11 points during the Red Wings' Cup run.
The other issue that may complicate these hearings is the rumor that the Vancouver Canucks are going to pitch him an offer sheet. I think he will get a two-year, $2 million contract.
If he does get greedy and ask for more, I'll be surprised. Most players are more than happy to take a pay cut and play for an elite organization like Detroit.
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