Tanner Jeannot’s election to file for salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Lightning has made him the seventh Lightning player to do so under the current CBA that went into effect in 2013. All six previous Lightning players that elected for arbitration ultimately came to terms with the team before their case went before the arbitrator.
Using CapFriendly’s Arbitration Filing tool, here are the timelines those cases followed:
- 2021: Ross Colton — August 16th hearing date, August 9th contract signing
- 2019: Cedric Paquette — Filed for arbitration and signed contract on July 5th
- 2017: Tyler Johnson — July 20th hearing date, July 10th contract signing
- 2017: Ondrej Palat — July 25th hearing date, July 14th contract signing
- 2016: Alex Killorn — July 20th hearing date, July 17th contact signing
- 2016: Valdislav Namestnikov — July 29th hearing date, July 26th contract signing
Jeannot and the Lightning do not currently have a hearing date set, but when assigned it will fall between July 20th and August 4th. But as history shows, they will probably come to terms before then.
In fact, arbitration hearings around the league have been something most players and teams have been able to avoid. Over the past three years, only two cases have gone through the arbitration process.
In the event that the Lightning and Jeannot do end up having an arbitration hearing, here are the key points to know:
"Player & Club can settle on a deal at any point prior to the commencement of the hearing (Prior to the 2020 MOU, a settlement could be made at any point prior to the arbitration decision)Once the hearing has taken place, the Salary Arbitration decision must be issued by email within 48 hrs of the closing [CBA 12.9(n)(i)]Arbitration awards can only be 1 or 2 years in length [CBA 12.10(a)&(b)]The party (Player or Club) who did not elect for Arbitration decides on the awarded term [CBA 12.10(a)&(b)]Players who are in their final year Restricted Free Agency are only entitled to a 1 year term.Club cannot walk away from a Club elected Arbitration Settlement [CBA 12.10(e)]Player elected Arbitration Settlements of 1 year and greater than $4,538,958, Club can walk away from the awarded salary, making the player a UFA [CBA 12.10(a)]Player elected Arbitration Settlements of 2 years and greater than $4,538,958, Club can walk away from the second (2nd) year of the awarded salary, making the player a UFA at the end of year 1 [CBA 12.10(b)]via CapFriendly"
Two additional notes here are that if the contract is settled via arbitration, the contract term will only be one year since this is Jeannot’s final year of restricted free agency. Also, with AFP Analytics projecting Jeannot’s next contract to come in around $2.1 million AAV, the arbitration verdict should be around there and below the walkaway threshold for the Lightning, making the contract binding for next season.
With somewhere between $2-4 million of open salary cap space — depending on roster assumptions — the Lightning are not at risk of not being able to afford Jeannot, but how big of a number he signs for will determine how much flexibility the team will have the rest of the offseason and preseason.