Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
The Islanders have not had an arbitration case that actually went to the independent decision maker in some time. I'm not sure many can even remember the last time it happened.
The one that sticks out in my head, and maybe the only one, is Mike Milbury and Tommy Salo in 1997. The Lubomir Visnovsky case does not qualify, as that decided the status of the defenseman's contract clause, rather than salary.
With the trade of Travis Hamonic to the Calgary Flames at the NHL entry draft, the case can be made for de Haan by his agent that his worth to the team has risen. Along with the fact that he was, arguably, the team's best and most consistent defenseman from start to finish in 2016-17 and had his best season as a pro will only enhance his defense.
Of course, the danger in taking this all the way to arbitration is that the team will almost assuredly come in at a low salary number and argue that de Haan is not worth what he is asking, potentially causing hard feelings to develop between the two sides.
The Islanders could have shot themselves in the foot by not opening up dialogue and getting de Haan signed prior to the market setting itself this summer with contracts like the one Brian Dumoulin signed in Pittsburgh ($4.1 AAV) and to a lesser extent, Dmitri Orlov ($5.1 AAV) in Washington. de Haan and his camp might have 'settled' at a three or four year deal in the range of $3.75 million around draft time, but that has now risen with some comparables being set.
Since it's been so long, here are the basics surrounding arbitration I was able to dig up by reviewing the latest version of the collective bargaining agreement. Of course, this could all be proven moot if the two sides reach an agreement prior to or just after the hearing date of Wednesday, August 2. De Haan was qualified at $2.5 million (per CapFriendly) before selecting 'player elected arbitration'.
- Figures to be submitted within 48 hours of hearing (Monday, July 31).
- Each side gets 90 minutes to present case.
- Arbitrator decision due within 48 hours of completion via email.
- Can come to agreement anytime prior to arbitrator's final decision, nullifying impending result.
- Decision binding, but team can walk away from award > $3.5 million. Player becomes UFA.
- Isles will have second buyout window, from 3rd day after hearing date (Aug 5), for 48 hours.
- Since it's player-elected arbitration, Isles can decide on one or two-year term.
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.
With all that out of the way, it benefits each side equally to come to an agreement sooner rather than later. Or risk what arbitration can potentially bring.