Winger Justin Fontaine was the only restricted free agent from the Wild to file for salary arbitration by Saturday’s deadline, according to the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo. Fontaine will continue to work toward a new contract, as most players who file for arbitration do, up until the scheduled hearing with an independent arbitrator, which could be any time between July 20 and August 5.
In almost all instances RFAs sign with their team prior to arbitration, a reason why many have suggested that the NHL should embrace arbitration as a method toward getting players the money they deserve but ensuring that salaries aren’t grossly inflated. Across the NHL, only 20 players have filed for arbitration. Most of these filings just serve to protect the player’s rights. They file in case it becomes necessary, but continue to negotiate.
Darcy Kuemper and Jonathon Blum, the other Wild RFAs eligible to file for arbitration, did not file. Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker are not eligible to file for arbitration.
The deadline for club-elected arbitration is today (July 6) at 5pm EDT. This is used even more rarely, but it is used on occasion, like with Ryan O’Reilly and the Avalanche this year. The Wild are not expected to file for arbitration with any of their free agents.
Fontaine is 26 and just finished his first NHL season, placing fourth on the team with 13 goals, which ranked 12th among all NHL rookies last season. That was a rookie record for the franchise.