But the arbitrator is not allowed to bring in his own "comparables" (also: more on Doughty, Weber, straw men)
Shea Weber’s Award Does Not Translate to Drew Doughty’s Contract, Part II - S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A.
Shea Weber received an award of $7.5 million for one season. That makes him literally the highest paid defenseman in the league. For one season.
- Christian Ehrhoff - $10,000,000
- Zdeno Chara - $8,500,000
- Duncan Keith - $8,000,000
- Chris Pronger - $7,600,000
- Shea Weber - $7,500,000
Fifth highest paid defenseman in the league this season.
[...] [Some] claimed that whatever Drew Doughty was asking for just went up and even went so far as to proclaim the market for all defensemen went up. Exaggerated? Absurd.
Actually, what I said was:
Weber award is $7.5MM (HIGHEST EVER); so Doughty deserves... - Jewels From The Crown
Whatever it was Drew Doughty was asking for, it just went up. I know it's apples-to-oranges. I know Shea Weber had arbitration rights and Doughty doesn't. I know Weber is a half a decade older. I don't think it matters. Of course it matters to Lombardi's argument. Doughty/Meehan can just argue that -- even if everything Lombardi is saying is true -- the market for defensemen just went up, for everyone. And, that's just one more reason for Doughty to want to get to UFA sooner. [...]
See? It matters to Lombardi's argument, but I assume Meehan will argue that it raises the bar for everyone. As of course it does. You can debate how much the bar is raised. But it's hardly "absurd" to think that a huge payday for one defenseman affects the value of the contracts of other defensemen. There's a counter-argument to be made? No kidding. I made it myself in that very paragraph.
Seriously, if Weber had been awarded $5MM, you think Lombardi wouldn't have used that fact in negotiating Doughty's deal? You think that wouldn't impact the contracts of other defensemen? Yes, I know Weber and Doughty are different. That's why they call it a comparison.
Here's more from Surly/Scribe, now quoting Larry Brooks:
From the NY Post[...]: Finally, an arbitrator who did more than split the difference between a club’s submission and the player’s. Finally, an arbitrator who did more than color by numbers upon reaching his decision. … the arbitrator reached his decision based on the compensation due Keith and Seabrook this coming season, including signing bonuses, rather than on their respective cap hits over the course of their long-term contracts.
I guess that would be because salary arbitrators are not interested in cap hits at all. They're interested in salary.
Also, by the way, Mr Brooks: you're praising the arbitrator for reaching his decision based on the Seabrook and Keith contracts, but it's not his choice. He's only allowed to consider comparables that one or the other side brings up in their argument. He is not allowed to bring in his own comparables. If the player or the club don't mention Seabrook and Keith, the arbitrator can't factor them in. Here's the relevant passage of the CBA:
(ii): The parties may offer evidence of the following: [...]
(G) The compensation of any Player(s) who is alleged to be comparable to the party Player, provided, however, that [...] the Salary Arbitrator shall not consider a Player(s) to be comparable to the party Player unless a party to the arbitration has contended that the Player(s) is comparable; nor shall the Salary Arbitrator consider the compensation or performance of a Player(s) unless a party to the arbitration has contended that the Player(s) is comparable.
(iii) The following categories of evidence are inadmissible and shall not be considered by the Salary Arbitrator:
(A) Any SPC the term of which began when the Player party to such SPC was not a Group 2 Player;
(B) Any SPC entered into by an Unrestricted Free Agent, including SPCs signed by Players after the Player's Club has exercised a walk-away right pursuant to Section 12.10;
(C) The SPC of any Player who is not being offered as a comparable Player to the party Player [...].
Back to S&S:
Intelligent and not reactionary discourse dictates that a 1 year contract for an elite defenseman does not "raise" the financial bar for all elite D, much less every Tom, Dick & Harry D-man.
The arbitrator correctly gave Shea Weber $7.5 million because he recognized what you do as well – if the "years" are going to be less (or, in this case, all of 1), then the dollars will be more for one of the best in this game. Years get longer, dollars get less.
Actually, no. The arbitrator didn't make any such calculation. He didn't award Weber more because the years were less; he awarded him more than Seabrook because he decided he compared favorably to Seabrook, and less than Keith because he decided he hasn't achieved what Keith has. The arbitrator's job is to determine what a player should be paid (in the next one season or two, depending on the case) based on any appropriate comparables that are offered by the club or the player. Here's your friend Larry Brooks again:
NHL arbitrator sides with Predators' Weber - NYPOST.com
Furthermore, the arbitrator reached his decision based on the compensation due Keith and Seabrook this coming season, including signing bonuses, rather than on their respective cap hits over the course of their long-term contracts. This was not about a multi-year deal; this was about compensation for 2011-12. Keith, who won the 2010 Norris Trophy, will earn $8 million this season [...]. Seabrook, Keith's partner in Chicago and on the 2010 Canadian Olympic Team (which also included Weber), will earn $7 million [...]. "All that I can know is that in the coming season, Mr. Seabrook, who in my view has not achieved to the level of Shea Weber, will receive $7 million," Picher wrote. "I find Mr. Weber's position relative to Duncan Keith to be somewhat more problematic, [but] I am satisfied that Shea Weber should be placed slightly below Duncan Keith in the compensation market for the coming season."