There were five restricted free agents the New York Rangers had to get back under contract when the season ended. Thus far, Glen Sather has taken care of three of them, getting Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle and Mike Sauer to put their name on new pacts.
But, in the end, it was Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky that we were all worried about. And currently neither have contracts. That does not mean there's any reason to panic. I repeat: That does not mean there's any reason to panic.
We speculated earlier in the off season that it was unfortunate Dubinsky's arbitration hearing was the earliest of the bunch. Now you know why.
Obviously the Rangers don't want to have to go to arbitration with Dubinsky. The hearing wouldn't exactly do much to mend the incident two years ago, despite the fact that both sides have agreed that there are no lingering feelings from the holdout. An arbitration hearing, however, isn't desirable.
Join me after the jump to find out why.
For those of you who don't know what an arbitration hearing is, allow me to explain.
A judge will listen to both parties give their reasons for what they think the salary should be. Dubinsky's camp will give his side of the story and the Rangers' camp will give theirs. While Dubinsky will talk about all of the good things he brings to the table, the Rangers will talk about all the bad things he brings to the table. The catch? This is all done in front of Dubinsky. So he will hear every single flaw the Rangers seem to think he has.
See how things could get messy?
Now, for full disclosure, Sather is very seasoned with arbitrations. He got through one with Henrik Lundqvist a few years ago, and there was no linger bad blood after that ruling. The Rangers agreed to the contract brought down by the arbitration judge, and ended up signing Lundqvist to a long-term extension that January.
As of this point, however, we don't even know if the negotiations are going to need to get settled by a third party. The Rangers and Dubinsky's agent have been talking, and both sides would love to come to an agreement before July 21st. Since the Rangers brass generally plays situations like this close to the vest, there is very little information on how negotiations are going, or what's holding them up.
If, in fact, RFA Brandon Dubinsky's arbitration hearing takes place Thursday---I'm thinking there will be a longer-term deal done to avoid that---we'll know the dollars and term (one or two years) a few days later.
Sather does need to stick to his guns here, though. A $4.5 million cap hit is a little too rich for Dubinsky's services, despite everything he does for the Rangers. Don't forget, him and Callahan are looking for similar contracts, and if Glen overpays for Dubinsky then you better believe he is going to have to overpay for Callahan too.
Factor in Tim Erixon's $1.75 million cap hit if he makes the team (which seems like a very real possibility as of right now) and every penny counts.
By the same token, there's no need to severely lowball a veteran member of this team. Especially since him and Callahan are such important parts of the future.
No one said it was easy being a general manager.
Thoughts on all this guys?