The first round of arbitration hearings came back with decided wins for the players. Buffalo's Danny Briere was awarded $5M and the Islanders Mike York was awarded $2.85M Darcy Regier Garth Snow, respectively, will have 48 hours to accept or "walk away".
The Briere arbiter took slightly more than the allotted 48 hours to hand down his victory. While we were waiting, the Mike York hearing served as a good watermark. I expect to see different reactions by the general managers.
Mike York, who came to the Islanders in the Peca trade, was an upgrade from the overpaid, underperforming Peca. In 2006, York earned $2.05M and totaled 52 points (13/37) in 75 games. An average of 0.69 points per game. The arbiter awarded him $2.85M, which amounts to a 39% increase. Garth Snow will have to make his first real decision. I suppose his first "decision" was which one of these whores he wanted to contract syphilis from.
There is a history of the Islanders throwing away money (Yashin), and they might do the same on this one. Garth Snow's only qualification for his job, in his own words, is that he's "watched a lot of hockey" and has "read the CBA". By that standard, just about everyone who writes a hockey blog is "qualified" for the job. If I'm Garth Snow, I "walk away" from the hearing and allow York to go sign for $2.1M for the Blue Jackets. But I'm not, and Garth probably won't.
Danny Briere had a phenomenal season as the rotating Captain in 2006. While getting paid just $1.93M, he put up 58 points (25/33) in just 48 games. This is 1.21 PPG, which would play out to 99 points over a full, healthy season. Briere missed 8 games with an abdominal injury and another 24 after having surgery for the injury. The award amounts to a raise of 159%.
Does Briere deserve a big raise? Absolutely! Is it too much? Possibly. Three years ago, Miro Satan won an arbitration hearing that gave him two years. After his salary was rolled back because of the new CBA, it would have taken right at $4M to extend him a qualifying sheet last summer, but Regier declined to do so, and the Sabres leading scorer signed with the Isles for $4.015M. I would argue that Miro Satan has been a better player, and certainly I would argue that you get more bang for you buck paying Satan $4M than paying Briere $5M.
Obviously, Briere brings more to the table than just his offensive stats. He's the co-Captain. And while he isn't busy throwing his team under the bus during the ECF and getting Lindy Ruff in a huff, he provides excellent leadership for the team.
By my estimations, this ruling will make it VERY difficult for the Sabres to get everyone signed. Especially with Ryan Miller holding out. Also, the Tallinder "undisclosed" contract looks like it's going to be $1.6M, which is well above my estimation.
If you're Darcy Regier, do you accept the arbiter's ruling, knowing that you'll have to sacrifice some of the other free agents, or do you walk away from it, giving yourself room to sign everyone else and still have wiggle room? There's always option C. Accept the ruling, then trade him away.
This will be a VERY hard call for Regier, and I imagine Sabres fans will be waiting with bated breath.
If you force me to make a prediction on this, I'd guess that Briere won't be wearing the blue and gold slug in the fall.
If you force me to make another prediction about the remainder of the arbitration season, I'd guess that these two open up a huge Pandora's box that could bring disease to certain teams with lots of guys slated for arbitration. However, remember that according to legend, Pandora shut her box, keeping just one thing in there -- hope.
5 years ago