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How low can you go? Bertuzzi submits arbitration $, update - arbitration

October 23, 2020, 1:40 PM ET [56 Comments]
Jeremy Laura
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Things are tight right now in the NHL. We looked at some figures, and more news has come out since. The Winter Classic and All-Star game have been postponed. Whereas a regular season game draws around 1.7 million based on 17K attendees, the Winter Classic is an in person cash cow. With the uncertainty still surrounding crowds, there just isn’t any way to keep that event afloat. As for the all-star game, I’m not sure it will be missed as much as some suspect. In truth, the novelty has worn off for myself and others. The owners have to pay roughly 8% of player salaries for 20/21 by October 31 (minus 30% between escrow and deferment) and the majority of clubs haven’t had any real revenue come in since last March. This keeps getting more interesting.

Tyler Bertuzzi is learning the hard way how much things have changed. Arbitration numbers were exchanged. The club offered 3.5 million and Bertuzzi is asking for 4.25 million. That caught my attention. Many, myself included, had his next deal at around 5.5 million (near what Larkin is earning). It’s now become a bit more clear why things are taking time. Part of me is saying, “just give him the 4.25! He’s more than earned it”. At the same time I understand that this may well be a 1 or 2 year deal while ownership hopes for higher revenues. Still, the number is 2/3 to 1/2 what many thought it would be, and the player isn’t being greedy or unreasonable.

I have to assume that Mantha is looking to match Larkin’s 6 million. Yzerman may well be asking for a short term deal there as well. At this point, I have no idea. With 20 million in cap space, the GM seems to be looking to conserve at least half of it. There is still cap space available in LTIR available due to Z’s final year.

Is cap space being reserved for one or two more deals? I have no idea. The reality of teams needing to shed dollars is about to go into full force. A week of October and the month of November is about all they have left before camps are supposed to start (for the bottom 7). No definitive answers on the AHL season have been announced and those camps (if they happen) were supposed to start in November given the December start date. At some point, players and owners need to have a potentially painful press conference. The can has been kicked as far down the road as it can be, and fans, advertisers and TV and streaming services need answers.
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