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Lightning Round: Ross Colton’s arbitration hearing set. What does it all mean?

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In reality, not much has changed

2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

On Thursday the NHLPA announced the dates set for all of the arbitration hearings for the pending restricted free agents that elected to take their cases before an arbitrator. There were 17 players that elected to go through this process this year and the hearing will start on August 11th and run through the 26th. The Lightning have one player, Ross Colton, who is scheduled to have a hearing and it’s set for the 16th of August.

At this point nothing has changed. The two sides can keep negotiating right up until the hearing starts. The team will submit a number and the player will submit one as well. Once that happens it will be up to an impartial arbitrator to decide what is fair as the two sides argue their respective cases. Unlike Major League Baseball’s version of arbitration, it’s not one or the other. It can be, and usually ends up being, a number some where in the middle.

Most of the time, the two sides find a way to come to an agreement prior to the hearings starting. So far, of the 17 players that filed this year around the league, 5 of them have already agreed to new deals. No one wants to be in a room where management is arguing why a player doesn’t deserve a certain amount of money. Things can get acrimonious. The good news is that the Lightning have a pretty good history of settling things before they get to far and that’s likely to be the case with Colton.

According to the information on CapFriendly during the Yzerman/BriseBois Era of the Lightning, they’ve yet to go to an actual hearing. The previous seven players who have filed for arbitration; Nate Thompson (2010), Teddy Purcell (2011), Alex Killorn (2016), Vlad Namestnikov (2016), Tyler Johnson (2017), Ondrej Palat (2017), and Cedric Paquette (2019) all signed deals prior to the hearings. In the case of Killorn, Johnson, and Palat they signed long-term deals.

It’s doubtful Colton is going to walk away with a 6 or 7 year deal prior to the hearing, but there is a good chance they come to terms on some sort of two-year deal that gives the team a little financial security this year and next. As to how much the deal is going to be? Well, that’s up to the experts, but if I could hazard a random guess, it will be somewhere around $1.12 million, which would be a nice little bump for him.

There is no need to get too worked up over the lack of a contract for the next 10 days or so. The two sides will work things out at some point.

Lightning/Hockey news

Word trickled out yesterday that starting in 2022-23 the salary cap should start trickling up a little bit. By a little, about $1 million a year. Geo took a look at how that might help the Lightning out in the near future. [Raw Charge]

The AHL is shaking things up in regards to their postseason. There will be 23 teams that qualify for the playoffs and it will consist of five rounds. The first round will be a best of three series, followed by two best of five. The conference finals and the Calder Cup Finals will be the traditional best of seven. [The AHL]

Pierre Luc-Dubois is going to change his uniform number to 80 to honor his friend and former Columbus teammate Matiss Kivlenieks who died during a fireworks mishap in July. Dubois, now in Winnipeg, had been wearing the number 13. [TSN]