The deadline for NHL players to file for salary arbitration was 5:00 pm today. 44 players elected to submit for arbitration, with Liam O’Brien being the only Capitals restricted free agent to file. Most notably not on the list was Tom Wilson.
NHLPA announces that 44 players have elected salary arbitration: https://t.co/ePXoeLJeTz
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 5, 2018
So what does this mean with regards to Tom Wilson? Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan stated earlier in the week that he would prefer to sign Wilson to a long-term deal. The fact that Wilson did not file for arbitration could be a good sign, and possibly an indication that the two sides are close to an agreement, whether short or long-term. The two sides were to meet again on Wednesday.
Tom Wilson did not file for arbitration ahead of today’s deadline. The RFA and the #Caps will continue to negotiate. GM Brian MacLellan said earlier this week, “I would like [a] long-term [extension]…I’d prefer to keep him around for as long as we can.”
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) July 5, 2018
Wilson can now field offers (sheets) from other teams at this point. Should Wilson sign an offer sheet with another team (rare), the Capitals would no longer be able to negotiate a new contract or trade the player rights to another team. The Capitals would have seven days to make a decision whether to match the offer sheet, or decline and receive draft pick compensation from the team making the offer sheet.
The RFA offer sheet can be used by any general manager, but it’s generally frowned upon in the community and not used very often. The last time a player signed an offer sheet was in 2013 when the Calgary Flames signed Ryan O’Reilly for two years and $10 million. The Avalanche matched it and later traded O’Reilly to the Sabres because they thought his next contract would put them in a salary cap bind. A list of players who have signed NHL offer sheets can be found here.
As per CapFriendly, the Capitals are currently $8,265,705 under the salary cap, and have plenty of room to re-sign Wilson.
The deadline for Club-Elected Salary Arbitration notification is July 6, 2018 at 5 p.m. ET. Salary Arbitration hearings will be held in Toronto from July 20 to Aug. 4, 2018.
By Jon Sorensen