NHL arbitration tracker 2023: Latest updates, contracts for restricted free agents using third-party system

July 20 marks the start of arbitration hearings in the NHL. 

Arbitration is one of the few tactics that are utilized in the NHL to sign restricted free agents to new contracts. Only certain RFAs are eligible to file for arbitration, where a third party determines the next contract value for the player. 

The specific arbitration hearing dates for each restricted free agent have been set, and will run over the course of two weeks. However, clubs and players can negotiate a deal prior to the hearing, avoiding arbitration entirely. 

The Sporting News is tracking the latest updates on the RFA arbitration hearings. 

MORE: What is an NHL offer sheet?

NHL salary arbitration tracker 2023

There are 22 players total that filed for salary arbitration in the 2023 offseason.

Hearing dates are scheduled between July 20 and August 4. Teams can negotiate a new contract with a player before the hearing date, which has already occurred with some of the players that filed for arbitration. 

Some of the most notable names on the list are Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov, Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn, Lightning winger Tanner Jeannot and Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman. 

Thursday, July 20

  • Philipp Kurashev (Chicago Blackhawks)
  • Brandon Duhaime (Minnesota Wild) (signed one-year, $1.1 million contract before arbitration date)
  • Alexei Toropchenko (St. Louis Blues) (signed two-year, $2.5 million contract before arbitration date)
  • Noah Cates (Philadelphia Flyers) (signed two-year, $5.25 million contract before arbitration date)

Friday, July 21

  • Ilya Samsonov (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Monday, July 24

  • Brett Howden (Vegas Golden Knights) (signed two-year, $3.8 million contract before arbitration date)
  • Vince Dunn (Seattle Kraken)
  • Tanner Jeannot (Tampa Bay Lightning) (signed two-year, $5.33 million contract before arbitration date)

Wednesday, July 26

  • Ian Mitchell (Boston Bruins) (signed one-year, $775,000 contract before arbitration date)
  • Will Borgen (Seattle Kraken) (signed two-year, $5.4 million contract before arbitration date)

Thursday, July 27

  • Ross Colton (Colorado Avalanche) (signed four-year, $16 million contract before arbitration date)

Friday, July 28

  • Gabriel Vilardi (Winnipeg Jets) (signed two-year, $6.8 million contract before arbitration date)
  • Cale Fleury (Seattle Kraken) (signed one-year, $775,000 contract before arbitration date)

Sunday, July 30

  • Jeremy Swayman (Boston Bruins)
  • Jack McBain (Arizona Coyotes)

Tuesday, August 1

  • Trent Frederic (Boston Bruins)

Wednesday, August 2

  • Morgan Barron (Winnipeg Jets) (signed two-year, $2.7 million contract before arbitration date)
  • Troy Terry (Anaheim Ducks)

Friday, August 4

  • Ryan McLeod (Edmonton Oilers)
  • Brandon Scanlin (New York Rangers)
  • Filip Gustavsson (Minnesota Wild)
  • Drew O’Connor (Pittsburgh Penguins)

What is salary arbitration in the NHL?

Salary arbitration is a tool used in the NHL to settle contract disputes between teams and certain restricted free agents. 

Players can file for salary arbitration, in addition to teams electing to take a player to arbitration. Once that is filed, a hearing date will be determined during a two-week span, but the two sides can continue to negotiate and come up with a new contract before the hearing. For example, in 2021, every player that filed for arbitration settled before their hearing, according to CapFriendly

Both the player and the team present a salary for the upcoming season to a neutral third party. The two sides will argue their case to the arbitrator.

MORE: NHL entry-level contract, explained

The evidence that is allowed to be presented during these hearings included a player’s performance/statistics, injury history, length of service, leadership qualities and contribution to the team’s results. 

Teams/players cannot use other players’ salaries or the state of the team’s cap situation during these discussions. 

The arbitrator determines what the salary should be for the player, which must come no more than 48 hours after the hearing has concluded. If a team elects to decline the decision made by the arbitrator, then the player becomes an unrestricted free agent and they can sign with any team. 

A player can only be taken to arbitration once in his career and can never receive less than 85% of his salary from the previous season. A player can request arbitration as many times as they are eligible and can ask for any amount of salary. 

Who is eligible to file for salary arbitration?

Restricted free agents are the only kind of players who can file for salary arbitration.

Players 18-20 must have four years of NHL experience before they are eligible, someone that is 21 must have three, a player 22-23 years old must have two and a player 24 or older must have 1. A player earns a year of NHL experience by playing in at least 10 NHL contests. 

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