With Tomas Fleischmann’s arbitration hearing looming in the next few days it doesn’t look like the two sides will come to an agreement beforehand. GMGM moved pretty swiftly to avoid the courtroom drama with Fehr and Schultz indicating, at least to this writer, that the two sides are VERY far apart.
My guess is GMGM is taking the “show me you can do this again” attitude while Fleischmann is trying to cash in on what could be his peak season statistically. Either way, we are looking at arbitration. While it isn’t exactly Judge Judy, the player and team each propose a salary for the coming season and argue their cases at a hearing. The arbitrator, a neutral third party, then sets the player’s salary.
The evidence that can be used in arbitration cases:
- The player’s “overall performance” including statistics in all previous seasons.
- Injuries, illnesses and the number of games played.
- The player’s length of service with the team and in the NHL.
- The player’s “overall contribution” to the team’s success or failure.
- The player’s “special qualities of leadership or public appeal.”
- The performance and salary of any player alleged to be “comparable” to the player in the dispute.
Evidence that is not admissible:
- The salary and performance of a “comparable” player who signed a contract as an unrestricted free agent.
- Testimonials, video and media reports.
- The financial state of the team.
- The salary cap and the state of the team’s payroll.
Tomas Fleischmann was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2nd round (63rd overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. In February 2004 Flash was traded to the Capitals by Detroit along with Detroit’s 1st round choice in 2004 (which was used to draft Mike Green) and their 4th round choice in 2006 for Robert Lang.
As a prospect he was (aptly) described as a “flashy winger with great offensive tools” while being graded as “not quite good enough to play on the top line or pairing on a regular basis, but still possessing enough talent to contribute offensively.”
For the fourth consecutive season, Fleischmann improved upon his regular season goal and point totals but continued to fall flat in the playoffs (three goals and two assists in 22 career NHL playoff games) where he finally became a healthy-scratch in Game 7.
Despite his awful playoff numbers we can expect a significant increase to his cap-friendly $725,000 salary last year. JP from Japer’s Rink has already gone on record predicting an arbitration award of $2.9 million and that the Capitals won’t walk from any award under $4 million. Personally I take the “over” on the $2.9, especially with the Atlanta Thrashers being forced to walk away from a $2.4 million salary arbitration award to forward Clarke MacArthur and the comparables likely to be used in the Fleischmann arbitration.
To find comparable players I did a search at Hockey-Reference for players who were between the ages of 25 and 27, had seasons of 20 or more goals (Fleischmann had 23 in ’09-10) and fewer than 60 points (Fleischmann had 51).
Before we narrow down that list we should keep in mind the salary and performance of a “comparable” player who signed a contract as an unrestricted free agent is not admissible.
Forwards who have had similar seasons to Fleischmann’s 2009-2010 campaign
(69 games, 23 Goals, 28 Assists, 51 points):
Joe Pavelski, F, San Jose Sharks
67 Games, 25 Goals, 26 Assits, 51 Points
Pavelski, a 7th round pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft had almost no points after the first eight playoff games, but resigned with the Sharks for 4yrs/$16 million.
Alex Steen, F, St. Louis Blues
68 Games, 24 Goals, 23 Assists, 47 Points
The St. Louis Blues signed Alex Steen to a four-year contract extension (with an average value of $3.36mil) the summer after enjoying a bit of a breakout season with 24 goals last season.
Thomas Vanek, F, BUF
71 Games, 28 Goals, 25 Assists, 53 Points
Vanek was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1st round (5th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. While he has shown to be a much more prolific scorer than Fleischmann there is no denying that their ’09-10 campaigns were virtually identical on paper in the box score stats. Look for Evans to push the envelope and have his client ask for a near identical salary award to Vanek’s $6.4 million.
The average contract value of the list above is roughly $4.6mil. Now I am not suggesting that this is what Fleischmann is worth nor that this is the exhaustive list that will be used in arbitration. As a matter of fact, the page limit for evidence is 40 pages. Forty. Oh. So yea, there is going to be a lot of stuff thrown around. So think of this post more as a conversation starter until July 28th and let us know:
- What do you think Fleischmann will earn?
- Who do you think Fleischmann’s comparables are?