Monday, August 06, 2007

Cammalleri decision comes down

Rich Hammond is reporting at Inside the Kings that Mike Cammalleri has been awarded a two-year, $6.7-million contract in arbitration.

Those are some surprisingly low figures for a player who had an 80-point season last year, and the Kings will definitely match if they are accurate.

UPDATE The Kings are confirming they've come to terms with Cammalleri. No figures there.

UPDATE Hammond confirms the numbers and notes that GM Dean Lombardi said there wouldn't be a trade. It's curious just how tight against the cap Los Angeles is, even after this extremely favourable decision.

And with Steve Montador receiving an $800,000 decision in Florida, that's all she wrote for arbitration this summer. Monday was the final deadline for rulings.

UPDATE Hammond has a transcript of an interview with Lombardi regarding the aftermath of all this:
"I think part of this was a theoretical discussion about how the market is evolving under this new system, with free agency at such a young age, and its impact on young players getting a lot more money than they did in the past. So I think in a lot of respects, for the union and the league there was a bigger issue here than just Michael. Michael and the Kings couldn't get caught up in that."
If that's the argument he used in the arbitration, and Lombardi seemingly is suggesting it is, then he comes across looking like a genius here. "A theoretical discussion?" That's certainly changing the nature of these hearings (and no wonder it took so long).

Maybe the Kings' argument was that young players who give up a year or two of unrestricted free agency are getting the big dollars? Or maybe they're arguing that Cammalleri's decision shouldn't reflect "how the market is evolving" and the arbiter bought it?

I don't have a heckuva lot of time to get into this tonight, but I'm sure some of the other big bloggers are going to chew on this. If not, I'll weigh in again later this week because this is a decision that could change the way arbitration is approached for years to come.

P.S. Here's a final thought: How can Mike York be awarded a $2.85-million contract by an arbitrator after a 13-goal season in 2006, and a guy who has averaged 30 goals over the past two years (Cammalleri) get a shade more ($3.35-million per season) a year later?

There's a problem with arbitration and that problem is consistency.

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8 Comments:

At 10:35 PM, August 06, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

Cammalleri cannot be happy with this. I'm sure he is especially angry with Lombardi's failure to negotiate with him fairly to begin with, thereby forcing Cammalleri to opt for arbitration.

Then to top it of, Lombardi asks for a two year award - instead of one year - and the arbitrator comes in with a very low number.

My bet is that the damage is irrepairable between Cammalleri and Lombardi, and Cammalleri will privately ask for a trade.

In any event, when the two years are up and Cammalleri becomes a UFA there is no way he will re-sign with LA.

Of course if Cammalleri has another great year, Lombardi could make it up to him by offering a much higher long term contract extension next July.

In any event, Lombardi now has a bit of cap room to perhaps sign CUJO to a one year $1.5 million contract to provide insurance should Cloutier falter. I'm sure he was waiting to do this until he new the size of the Cammalleri award.

As I said before, Lombardi has done a great job with the team and they are going to surprise a lot of people - however, it is unlikely they can overtake Anahiem, San Jose or Dallas - and only three teams from that division will make the playoffs.

 
At 1:05 AM, August 07, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

however, it is unlikely they can overtake Anahiem, San Jose or Dallas - and only three teams from that division will make the playoffs.

I'm smelling a Battle of California, perhaps. :)

 
At 6:19 AM, August 07, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

All I can say is that, if the arbitrator ignored recent contracts, and where the market is going, in choosing his figure, then he violated the terms of the CBA. If I were the PA, and that's what happened, I'd make sure he never arbitrated again.

 
At 12:00 PM, August 07, 2007, Blogger John said...

J. M. Neal,

The only contracts that can be considered in arbitration is other arbitration awards and RFA contracts. UFA contracts that inflated this year's summer could not be included in the arbitrator's decision. I wonder if the impact of Vanek and Penner's contracts had any effects.

Cammalleri is one of the board members in the NHLPA. I wonder if he was pressured by the NHLPA to ask for a huge contract that would ensure an arbitration hearing. It's easy to say that Lombardi should have tried negotiating, but obviously the arbitrator thought that Cammalleri's demands were excessive as well, and to think that Cammalleri would have settled for anywhere close to what the arbitrator awarded in negotiations prior to the ruling is just naive.

By concentrating of the impact of contracts rather than denigrating Cammalleri's performance to get this award, Lombardi managed to avoid slamming and embarrassing his own player. Hopefully that strategy will provide an opportunity to negotiate a longer team deal at a more reasonable price than Cammalleri initially was asking.

 
At 4:46 PM, August 07, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More importantly, I have him in my keeper pool. I hope this doesn't throw a wet blanket on his season. I mean, who could get motivated with only $3 million/season.

 
At 4:49 PM, August 07, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

That's been a familiar refrain lately, but I don't think this will affect his performance at all. Cammalleri's quite the competitor.

 
At 8:24 PM, August 07, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anything this is probably only going to make him more determined to have an outstanding year. If the decision bothers him a lot, he has probably already decided to keep his mouth shut, buckle down, work hard for the next couple years, and go for the largest contract he can get, preferably not the Los Angeles Kings.

 
At 10:12 AM, August 08, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

The only contracts that can be considered in arbitration is other arbitration awards and RFA contracts.

I understand that. It looks like those recent RFA contracts were ignored, too.

 

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