Notable NHL arbitration history

Scott Niedermayer and Mark Recchi are among the players who made out just fine in the modern arbitration system, but others have been cut loose by their NHL clubs. Take a look at some of the memorable moments in arbitration in recent years, leading up to Shea Weber's huge award this week.

Leading up to Shea Weber's eye-popping arbitration award on Wednesday, the following is a list of notable moments in NHL arbitration in recent years, since the foundation of the current system was set up following the 1995 lockout.

The list of players who were cut loose after teams rejected an arbitration's ruling is also presented.

1998: Recchi, Turgeon

Mark Recchi and Pierre Turgeron set records days apart for the highest award. The Canadiens agree to pay Recchi $4.5 million US for one year.

Turgeon's award is $4.65 million, paid out by the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues and Turgeon are able to continue their relationship for two more seasons, while Recchi is dealt late the following season to Philadelphia.

1999: Khristich

The Bruins become the first to reject a ruling, which was for $2.8 million to forward Dmitri Khristich. Boston had offered $1.95 million, the same salary as the previous season.

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Boston would go on in the next five years to walk away twice more.

2000: LeClair

John LeClair sets a new mark and then some after he was awarded $7 million. LeClair went for the moon at $9 million, while the Philadelphia Flyers submitted a $4.6 million proposal. Thus, LeClair got himself a 92 per cent raise from the previous year's salary.

2001: Guerin, Sykora

Bill Guerin and the Boston Bruins go to arbitration. (Are you sensing that maybe the Bruins didn't have the best management for a healthy stretch of years to go to the arbitration well so many times?)

Guerin nets the second-largest amount awarded in NHL arbitration history, $5.1 million.

The forward parts with the club the following season, signing with Dallas.

As well, New Jersey forward Petr Sykora gets an award of $3.3 million. What makes it notable is that it is a record 389 per cent pay increase.

You would think agent Rich Winter would be doing cartwheels, right?

"For a player who led the NHL in [cumulative] goal scoring over the last three seasons and led the Devils in goals and points each year and helped lead the team to a Stanley Cup and a trip to the Finals, you would have to say the award is on the low end of what is reasonable," Winter was quoted in USA Today. "But it's acceptable."

2004: Niedermayer, Thornton

Scott Niedermayer of New Jersey ties the LeClair record, and days later, Joe Thornton of Boston is awarded $6.75 million. His previous salary was $5.5 million.

The Bruins wiggle out of another award, though greater forces play a part. Boston says it will agree to $5.5 million for recently acquired Sergei Gonchar, a 51 per cent raise.

That never comes to fruition due to the lockout, and the Russian blue-liner goes on to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

2006: Gomez

Scott Gomez and his agent, father Carlos, ask for $6.5 million from New Jersey. He is awarded $5 million after having made $2.2 million the previous season.

The Devils say they will abide, but it ends up being his final season in New Jersey. Gomez makes out like a bandit with a seven-year, $51.5 million deal for the New York Rangers that is still in effect, just being paid out by the Montreal Canadiens.

2010: Niemi

Without question the biggest walkaway ever in the NHL. Chicago, with all kinds of cap issues, elects not to abide by a ruling for goalie Antti Niemi, who had just helped them to the Stanley Cup.

There are a record three rejections in one off-season, with Clarke MacArthur and Tim Kennedy also not able to cash in.

2011: Weber

The Nashville Predators initiate the arbitration process with their filing, but likely cost themselves substantial money with an offer of $4.75 million US, a minimal increase for a player nominated for a Norris Trophy. Weber's group put forward $8.5 million.

The arbitrator awards Weber $7.5 million.

Thanks, but no thanks

Here is a history of arbitration awards in which the team walked away. We've included the next stop for the player, and reported salary of their next deal where available.

1999  Dmitri Khristich  Boston $2.8M 4 yrs @ 2.06M per with TOR
2003  Bryan Berard  Boston  $2.5 1 yr @ 2.01 with CHI (after season started)
2004  Cory Stillman  Tampa Bay  $3.9 3 yrs with CAR
2006  David Tanabe Boston  $1.275 1 yr @ 900K with CAR
2006  J.P. Dumont  Buffalo  $2.9 2 yrs @ 2.25 per with NAS
2009  Nikolai Zherdev  Rangers  $3.9 Signs with KHL club
2010  Tim Kennedy Buffalo $1 1 yr @ 550K with NYR, forced to accept 2-way deal with FLA in 2011
2010  Clarke MacArthur Atlanta  $2.4 1 yr @ 1.1 M with TOR, new 2-year deal in 2011
2010  Antti Niemi  Chicago  $2.75 1 yr @ 2M with SJ, new 4-yr deal just months later


Chris Iorfida

Senior Writer

Chris Iorfida, based in Toronto, has been with CBC since 2002 and written on subjects as diverse as politics, business, health, sports, arts and entertainment, science and technology.