Monday, July 16, 2007

And now...what?

Arbitration hearings will be held from the period beginning July 20 and ending on August 4, with decisions to be rendered by August 6. This might be expected to be the great void in NHL activity as the arbitration process works its way to its conclusion.

At the moment, based on the data compiled by the fine folks here, no one is over the “summer cap” of $55,330,000, but there are three teams over the opening night cap of $50,300,000:

-- Philadelphia: $54,376,039
-- NY Rangers: $52,505,757
-- Boston: $51,254,888

There are another four teams within 10 percent of the opening night cap (Toronto, Anaheim, Detroit, and Vancouver). Only the Rangers of these seven teams have players currently scheduled for arbitration (Sean Avery, Marcel Hossa). In fact, there are only 21 players left scheduled for arbitration representing 14 teams.

But we also find a host of unattached players still available. All of them have warts or flaws, to be sure, but with talents that might be a bargain….at the right price.

We’re stuck at one of those tipping points where one signing, one odd arbitration decision could start another cascade of movement. The trick is figuring out just where that is going to occur. There isn’t a lot at this time of year to satisfy our interest, especially since the frenzy of the early free-agency signing period has passed. Part of the fun right now is trying to figure out where the dam is going to spring a leak.

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