The Detroit Red Wings and Tomas Tatar stated their cases.
Now, it’s up a salary arbitrator to decide what Tatar will earn next season after the two sides were unable to come to an agreement and took their disagreement to arbitration Thursday in Toronto.
The Red Wings are offering $4.1 million for one season, and Tatar's camp is asking for $5.3 million.
The fact it reached an actual hearing was a mild surprise.
This was the first arbitration case the Red Wings have had since 1995 when the team and Ray Sheppard were unable to resolve their differences.
The Red Wings and Jiri Hudler had an arbitration hearing in 2010 but it was under unique circumstances with Hudler returning from Russia to play in the NHL.
The arbitrator will announce a decision within 48 hours.
The contract will be for one year, with Tatar eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.
Tatar’s representation, and the Red Wings, can continue to negotiate, up until the arbitrator provides a decision.
The two sides could resume talking about a long-term contract beginning July 1, 2018, though they are far apart currently from an agreement.
Both term and money are issues.
Tatar is seeking a contract in the neighborhood of six or seven years, at close to $6 million annually. The Red Wings aren’t showing much inclination above five years, at approximately $5 million per season.
If no long-term contract agreement is reached, there’s a good possibility Tatar would be dealt at the trade deadline if the Red Wings are out of the playoff picture.
Tatar could likely fetch the Red Wings an early-round draft pick, or highly-rated prospect, given his ability to provide offense.
Tatar, 26, led the Red Wings with 25 goals last season while earning $2.75 million. His 75 goals over the last three seasons leads the team in that category.
The Red Wings, though, could counter with the fact Tatar only has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 17 career playoff games and has been a streaky goal-scorer throughout his career, scoring many of his goals in bunches after long goal-scoring droughts.
Tatar remained optimistic talking to reporters in Slovakia last week about working out an agreement with the Red Wings.
Yet, Tatar also predicted this could be his final season in Detroit if the case did land in arbitration.
“Despite all the positives it is still a business and similar decisions (are) affected,” said Tatar, in the roughly translated article in sports.sk.
When Tatar’s matter is resolved, general manager Ken Holland will focus on the last remaining restricted free agent, forward Andreas Athanasiou.
Not holding any leverage – he doesn’t have the service time needed for arbitration – the two sides are expected to come to an agreement long before training camp begins in mid-September.
Athanasiou, 23, scored 18 goals last season in 64 games and has scored 27 goals in 101 career games.
Athanasiou made roughly $630,000 last season and will easily double that for next season.