Braden Holtby noted near the completion of the 2014-2015 season that he would like to secure a long-term deal with the Capitals this summer, but admitted, working in a contract year helped with his focus and inspired him to have a good year. Well, because Holtby elected to go to arbitration, barring a last-minute agreement, Holtby will once again be entering into a contract year this coming fall. More importantly, depending on who is deemed the so-called “winner” tomorrow (Thursday), how arbitration is handled, the content of the cases presented by each side, and the overall tone of the hearing will have a lot to do with how the Capitals-Holtby relationship moves on from here.
The Residue of Arbitration
By its general nature, an arbitration hearing can be confrontational, and in some cases, become damaging and leave lasting negative effects with both the player and team. In an attempt to keep costs down, the Capitals will be looking to knock-down and marginalize Braden Holtby’s value – the antithesis of what they have been trying to do for the past few seasons. The Capitals will likely look past last season’s excellent work by Holtby and try to utilize previous low or soft spots in Holtby’s career against him. How pointed and aggressive the Capitals will be, and the effects this could have on Holtby are unknown at this point, but something worth keeping an eye on. Will the Capitals-Holtby relationship change or remain the same is also an unknown at this point, and also something worth keeping an eye on for this coming season.
The Affects of a One-Year Deal
Since the player (Holtby) filed for arbitration, it is the Capitals choice to go with a one or two-year contract. The Capitals have already made it known that they will select a one-year agreement. This means that the two sides will be back at the table again next year, unless a long-term deal can be reached during the season. So what dynamic will this place on Holtby and the team for the coming season? What effect, if any, will this have on the play of Braden Holtby? And more importantly, what effects will this have on the Capitals-Holtby relationship over the long haul. A sensitive time for sure.
Contract Negotiations and Salary Arbitration in the NHL…An Agents View, by Stephen J. Bartlett
The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHLPA and the NHL, January, 2013