He's baaaack: Lou Lamoriello might again figure into the Kings' off-season

Devils may choose to take Zach Parise to salary arbitration | 4/22/11 NJ.com

[T]he left winger is preparing for a battle off the ice as it seems increasingly likely the Devils and general manager Lou Lamoriello will file for club-elected salary arbitration this summer. Parise can become a restricted free agent July 1 and is open to negotiating a multiyear contract. But there have been no negotiations. If the Devils file for salary arbitration by the July 6 deadline

That's the deadline for the player to elect arbitration. The first club-elected deadline is either June 15 or 48 hours after the cup is awarded, whichever comes later. The second club-elected deadline is 24 hours after a player declines to sign an offer sheet an the player-elected deadline passes. That's the July 6 deadline he mentions.

it would make Parise ineligible to sign an offer sheet from any other NHL team and an arbitrator would determine his salary for the 2011-12 season. [...] "I’ve talked about that with my agent. We know that’s one of the things they may decide to do. That’s one of their options," Parise said today. "I guess I understand where the team would be coming from, but I wouldn’t be too thrilled about it." Parise earned $5 million this season. If he is taken to arbitration, the least he can be awarded is $4.25 million (85 percent of his previous year’s salary).

The 85% rule only applies if the club elects arbitration before the first (June) deadline. If the club elects arbitration after the player declines the club's qualifying offer, the least the salary can be is the player's salary for the previous season. 

If the club files for arbitration, the two sides can negotiate until the date of the hearing (between late July and early August). Once the case goes to the arbitrator, the team would be allowed to use Parise’s injury and stats in its argument.

Here's my question though. Last summer, I remember reading someone saying that the Hawks could trade Niemi before his arbitration hearing, and I thought: that doesn't sound right. How would that even work? The player would arrive at the new team and...what...he'd be bound by a pending arbitration?...with whom arguing the other side?? Nor could he just suddenly be an RFA with no qualifying offer just dangling in the wind in the middle of July. If the CBA meant for that to be possible, they would have provided for it with language that spelled out the status of the RFA after he's traded. No, that didn't make any sense. And it still doesn't. 

The problem is, I can't find anything in the CBA that explicitly prevents a team from trading a player who has a pending arbitration. Maybe I'm just missing it. The only thing (that I can find) that the CBA says is that the arbitrator's ruling is binding and in the case of a club-elected arbitration the club is not allowed to "walk away" from the ruling. The CBA also says that the arbitration notice prevents the player from receiving an offer sheet; it also says that, once a player has received an offer sheet, the club can't trade him. But it doesn't explicitly say anything about a filing for arbitration preventing a trade before the hearing. 

I throw myself at your mercies. Has this come up before? 

Back to Parise

The fact that Lamoriello is openly talking about club-elected arbitration (combined with the fact that they haven't even started negotiating and Parise sounds a little testy in his reaction to the arbitration subject), suggest to me that they are not going to arrive at a deal, that Lou is going to file, and an arbitrator will come up with a one-year deal for Parise. 

Then, depending on how ugly the arbitration was (see Cammalleri, Mike), Lamoriello can trade him without fear of offer sheets flying in from left field, and he would have all year to do it. Or else wait for the new CBA (next summer) which may well raise the UFA age to 29, in which case Parise won't be a UFA in 2012 (or whenever, if there's a ****-***), he'll be an RFA again. 

Lamoriello can trade Parise before June 15, or wait for the arbitrator's ruling and trade him after August 4. Or else he can wrap-up Parise for the next 15 years at $6.68MM per year. Wait, that sounds familiar. 

[More Parise thoughts in the next post...]

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