Kennedy’s Arbitration Award & What It All Means
About an hour ago, James Mirtle tweeted that Tim Kennedy had been awarded $1M by a salary arbitrator. Then, Mike Harrington tweeted that there’s a clause in the CBA that prevents the Sabres from being able to walk away from this decision. So, folks, Tim Kennedy is officially wearing his #13 for the Buffalo Sabres next season. Let’s go through the forward ranks and see how it all shakes out now.
Mike Harrington’s tweet invokes clause (a) of section 12.10 Walk-Away Rights for Player-Elected Salary Arbitration. of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. The clause states: If a Club has elected to arbitrate a one-year SPC, and the award issued is for $1,042,173 or more per annum, then the Club may, within forty-eight (48) hours after the award of the Salary Arbitrator is issued (or, if a Club has any other Player still eligible for salary arbitration at that time and for whom a decision has not been rendered by a Salary Arbitrator at that time, and the Club still has a walk-away right available to it in such League Year pursuant to paragraph (c) below, forty-eight (48) hours after the award of the Salary Arbitrator for such other Player is issued or that Player’s arbitration case is settled), notify the Player or his Certified Agent, if any, the NHLPA and the NHL in writing, in accordance with Exhibit 3 hereof, that it does not intend to tender to the Player an SPC based on the award as determined by the Salary Arbitrator.
Furthermore, as written in clause (d) of section 12.10 of the CBA: The dollar amount of $1,042,173 set forth in each of paragraphs (a) and (b) above, shall be increased on an annual basis at the same percentage rate of increase as the Average League Salary, with the commencement of the 2007/08 League Year being the first year such increase shall take effect.
What these two clauses mean is that an awarded salary must be above $1,042,173 for a club to have rights to walk away from signing the player ruled upon by an arbitrator in 2005 and, beginning with the 2007/2008 season, the benchmark would raise incrementally based upon what the league’s average salary is that year. This year’s low benchmark is $1,611,180. Thus, the Sabres have no rights to walk away from Tim Kennedy’s arbitration award and have the 24-year-old forward signed for the 2010/2011 season based on the existing language of the CBA.
With Kennedy now in the fold, I can only imagine he’ll be slotted in on the 3rd line at the LW slot to play with C Rob Niedermayer and RW Mike Grier. That would obviously shake the 4th line out to be LW Cody McCormick, C Paul Gaustad, and RW Patrick Kaleta. It would only make sense to leave the 2nd line (or 1B line, if you will) combination of LW Jochen Hecht, C Tim Connolly, and RW Jason Pominville alone, so that leaves only one undecided line combination – who plays with Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy?
I find it hard to believe that Drew Stafford playing RW for LW Vanek and C Roy would actually outperform the sly and talented Tyler Ennis, who would likely slot in at LW and move Vanek to RW. Add in the very outside chance that RW Zack Kassian could feasibly wow Darcy Regier at training camp and have himself an ELC to sign, and Drew Stafford could have up to two hungry, talented, young players gunning for his position and the huge bull’s-eye on his back. The wannabe rock star needs to keep his head up and kick some butt if he wants to lock down his spot with the Sabres going into the new season.