Dallas Stars Have Three Players File For Arbitration: What That Means

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 3: Devin Shore #17, Mattias Janmark #13 and the Dallas Stars celebrate a goal against the St. Louis Blues at the American Airlines Center on March 3, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 3: Devin Shore #17, Mattias Janmark #13 and the Dallas Stars celebrate a goal against the St. Louis Blues at the American Airlines Center on March 3, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) /

On Thursday evening, the NHL released the complete list of RFAs that filed for arbitration across the league. Three of those players are Dallas Stars. What does that mean and what can be expected for each player?

The process of arbitration isn’t a regular occurrence for the Dallas Stars. In fact, the last time they even came close to an arbitration case was the summer of 2014.

On July 5, 2014, the NHL released the list of players that elected for arbitration. Antoine Roussel and Cameron Gaunce, who were both Stars at the time, had not signed new contracts with Dallas and decided on arbitration.

But neither ever got to their meeting. That’s because GM Jim Nill agreed on contracts with both restricted free agents before their scheduled meeting times.

Nill has always been one for locking down his RFAs on new deals before things get too out of hand. Whether it’s towards the end of the regular season or just before free agency begins, he is known for getting them out of the way early. That’s part of the reason why his dealings with arbitration are practically non-existent.

More from Blackout Dallas

But after four years of no worries with it, the Stars are back in the arbitration realm. That’s because on Thursday evening, the NHL released the list of players that have filed for arbitration in the 2018 offseason. 44 total players elected to go the arbitration route, and just under seven percent of them are Dallas Stars RFAs.

Mattias Janmark, Devin Shore, and Gemel Smith elected to go to their own arbitration hearings. All three are restricted free agents and have not agreed to contracts with the Dallas Stars yet.

But it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s far from it. Plenty of bright, young talent decide to go the arbitration route early on in their careers and it’s completely logical for them to do so.

In case you are a new Dallas Stars fan or simply want to know how this whole process will shake out for three of their young stars, we’re here to help.

Let’s dive into a quick lesson on how arbitration works and what it means for the Stars this time around.

What is arbitration?

It’s quite simple, actually. The method of arbitration is part of the league’s CBA and is, in its most basic form, a negotiation tactic for restricted free agents.

If an RFA cannot come to terms on a new contract with their team by July 5, they can file for arbitration. But only certain levels of players can file. If the player signed their first standard player contract between the ages of 18-20, they must have at least four years of professional experience before they can file for arbitration. If they signed at age 21, they need three years. If they were between the years of 22-23, they must have two years of pro experience. And if they are 24 or older, only one year is necessary.

More from Editorials

That’s why Janmark, Shore, and Smith all filed for arbitration while players like Jason Dickinson and Dillon Heatherington did not. They simply cannot yet because they do not have the proper qualifications.

But back to arbitration itself. It’s a way for RFAs to have a chance at negotiating (to an extent) a fair price for their newest contract. Without arbitration, players would truly either have to accept the contract their team offers or refuse to play, so long as they are tendered a qualifying offer. So this helps break down that possibility to an extent.

Each player is granted a meeting with his team’s representatives and a mediator (or arbitrator). This neutral party then hears an argument and proposed salary from both sides and eventually makes a decision on what a fair contract should look like. If both teams agree, the negotiations end and everything is good. If the team turns down the arbitrator’s offer, the player in question is then able to become an unrestricted free agent.

The meetings are scheduled between late July and early August. But it’s not all bad, so don’t freak out.

What it means for the three Stars players

The Dallas Stars have three separate negotiations to worry about this year. And even though that’s a handful, there’s still a good chance that none of their players will require a meeting.

Live Feed

Mattias Janmark- The Underrated Edmonton Oilers Forward
Mattias Janmark- The Underrated Edmonton Oilers Forward /

Oil On Whyte

  • Should He Stay Or Should He Go: Mattias JanmarkOil On Whyte
  • Is a 2nd Round Pick Enough for Sam Lafferty?Blackhawk Up
  • 2 Dark Horse Trade Candidates For The Oilers At The DeadlineOil On Whyte
  • Comically Mismatched Trade ProposalsOil On Whyte
  • Recapping free agency so farOil On Whyte
  • That’s because negotiations can occur continuously up until the scheduled meeting. GM Jim Nill is still in contact with all three players and is likely still negotiating new deals for each one.

    If the Stars agree on a contract with one of the players, the meeting is canceled and everything is squared away. It’s as if nothing happened.

    But with three Dallas Stars in need of contracts, time is of the essence.

    Mattias Janmark did everything necessary to earn himself a longer-term contract. One season after recovering from a potentially career-ending knee injury, he skated in 81 games and put up 19 goals and 34 points. He was one of the Stars’ top-scoring forwards and played solid special teams minutes in addition to skating primarily on the second line. After a performance like that, the young winger likely deserves a three-year deal worth around $2 million (a similar comparison would be Radek Faksa‘s contract).

    Devin Shore once again proved his durability by skating his second consecutive 82-game slate. But  he put up two less goals (11) and one less point (32) than in his rookie season. On top of that, he posted a team-worst -30 rating, which is the lowest rating in Dallas Stars history. He could definitely have a bounce-back year in a new system, but what kind of contract does that require?

    And finally, Gemel Smith did what he could with the time he was given this past year. He played in 46 games but only skated an average of 9:26 per contest. But even then, he still managed to score six goals and tally 11 total points along with a +5 rating. He’s only 24, so the ceiling is still high for the forward. There’s a chance he may be wanting something longer than a one-year contract, but Dallas may not want to budge just yet. That’s just a thought, though.

    The bottom line is that three Dallas Stars players that could be rather influential pieces of the team’s future want a stronger negotiation platform for their new contracts. They’ve got it with arbitration, so now it’s up to the two sides to try and get a deal done before the scheduled meeting.

    Next: Antoine Roussel's Greatest Moments With The Stars

    But don’t forget that all three are already qualified by the team. So this does not, in any way, mean that Dallas is planning to lose any of them. It’s been a while since arbitration has been talked about in the Dallas Stars world, so we’re here to debrief and reassure you.

    We’ll see what these next few weeks hold in terms of negotiations.