The Montreal Canadiens and Lars Eller have an arbitration hearing scheduled for tomorrow, and reports suggest they are pretty far apart when it comes to negotiating a new contract for next season. However, this is not the case at all.
The way the arbitration process works is both Eller’s camp, and the Habs organization submit a proposed cap hit for the player next season. Obviously the Canadiens are trying to get the player signed for the least he will agree to, and the player is trying to get the best deal that the team will offer.
So when Eller’s camp submitted a proposed salary of 3.1 million next year, and the Canadiens countered with a proposal of 1.65 million, people took this to mean the team and player are nowhere near reaching a deal.
But this is just the way the arbitration process works. The Habs are submitting a number that they know is lower than the player will get, and Eller, or more likely his agent, are asking for a number a little higher than they feel he will be awarded.
When Cody Franson went through this process just a few days ago, he submitted to the arbitrator that he should earn 4.2 million, while the Toronto Maple Leafs submitted he earn 2 million. The case, like many others, did not even make it to the arbitrator, as the player signed a one year deal worth 3.3 million before the hearing began.
The same can be expected with Eller. Sure, it seems like they are far apart if you consider that Eller is asking for almost double what the team submitted, but they will settle in the middle before tomorrow. The middle would be a contract of 2.375 million, and since Eller elected for arbitration, it would be up to the team whether it is a one year or two year deal.
Expect the team to budge a little on mid-range cap number and sign Eller to a two year deal at 2.6 million per season before the case makes it to the arbitrator tomorrow.