While many fantasy hockey general managers are still focused on where available unrestricted free agents might still sign and for how much, there could still be some battles left to follow.
Forty players have filed for arbitration (although Cedric Paquette agreed to terms with the Lightning after filing, so there are 39 names left) this year, and while many of the cases don’t make it to an arbitrator, a few do. Last year, for example, four of 44 players had their contracts settled by an arbitrator. Those four players were Jacob Trouba, Cody Ceci, Brett Kulak and Gemel Smith (coincidentally, those four players are no longer with the team that they brought to arbitration).
Many players try to avoid arbitration hearings, as it can really do a number on one’s psyche. The whole point of the team’s argument is that a player is worth a lot less than a player is asking for, and the only way to prove that is to rip that player to shreds during the hearing.
Of course, fantasy general managers who are in cap leagues have a vested interest in how this all plays out. A bigger contract might make the squeeze on a fantasy team’s cap a lot more interesting.
Here are the top 10 arbitration cases if it gets to the hearing.
10. Joel Armia
Armia was one of the few players who filed for arbitration who also spent significant time on the power play. From Nov. 1 to Feb. 10, in the 20 games that Armia played, he was on the ice for 51.6 per cent of the Habs power-play minutes. He had just two power-play points in that span and he was knocked off the top unit for the rest of the season. The Habs finished with the second-worst power play and Armia had a total of six power-play points.
9. Alex Iafallo
Kind of lost in the mess of the season for the Kings was the strong start for Iafallo. He had seven points in his first eight games and later posted 10 points in 9 games. If he could convince the arbitrator just to look at these 17 games, he’d be a very rich man. Unfortunately for him, he had only 15 points in his other 65 games. That’s a little disappointing considering his top three most frequent linemates were Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.
8. Sam Bennett
It’s fair to say that since a promising rookie season in 2015-16, Bennet has been a consistent, but disappointing, fantasy option. In the last three years, he’s had 13, 11 and 13 goals to go along with 26, 26 and 27 points. One good thing for fantasy owners is that he does contribute in the PIM and hits department, but he’s never been able to take that next step for overall production.
7. Will Butcher
On June 21, Butcher probably could have commanded a lo