Tim Kennedy - 2008/09 Upper Deck

Arbitration Station

Two arbitration-related stories from around the NHL –

The Chicago Blackhawks today walked away from the ruling that would pay Antti Niemi $2.75M for one year, and instead signed Marty Turco for about half that number.

A little bit about that, and a little bit about Buffalo’s Tim Kennedy getting waived just days after he was awarded $1M in arbitration.

Antti Niemi can be yours...if The Price Is Right. Photo courtesy Associated Press / Paul Beaty

I believe it was yesterday I read that Hawks goaltender (and Stanley Cup Winner!) Antti Niemi was awarded a one year deal worth$2.75M. Fair enough. I also read somewhere that GM Stan Bowman’s camp was looking for an award near $2M, while Niemi’s camp was looking for $3M. Also fair enough.

Niemi – 39 GP, 26-7-4, 2.25 GAA, .912 SV%

Turco- 53 GP, 22-20-11, 2.72 GAA, .913 SV%

I realize Chicago’s cramped for cap space, but Niemi has so far proven to be a quality start. $2.75M isn’t too big a cap hit, especially for one year (see Huet, Cristobal). However, I think it’s fair to say that if Niemi played in Big D last year, his numbers may have slagged off a bit. Marty Turco (34) has a lot more miles on him than Antti Niemi (27), but if you need a quick plug, it’s not a bad deal for one year at $1.3M.

It’ll be interesting to see where Niemi finds work from here. If Niemi finds work in Washington, it’s likely that his stats will be similar to his tenure in Chicago.

Does Chicago benefit in letting Niemi walk?  It’s a toss up at this point.  A real head-scratcher went down today as Buffalo waived Tim Kennedy just four days after his arbitration award of $1M.

Tim Kennedy isn’t going to score 40 goals, and he certainly won’t be offered any ridiculous 17 year contracts.  Tim Kennedy just finished his rookie season, he scored 10-16-26 (with 3 GWG) and he made 635K (plus 215K bonus according to NHLnumbers.com for a cap hit of 850K) last year to do so.

And he went to arbitration.  And from that, Kennedy was awarded a one year deal valued at $1M.  If I’m Tim Kennedy, I feel pretty good about myself.  I got a raise after my first full year of play in the National League.  Things are looking up.

Tim Kennedy was waived today, and according to this article over at TSN, a buyout is likely to follow if there are no takers.

[EDIT:  TSN's article has changed to remove the word "buyout".  You're just going to have to trust me that it were there earlier.]

It’s my understanding that any arbitration award that’s under $1.6M is unable to be “walked away” from a la Antti Niemi, but Kennedy is a player that I think several teams would consider at for $1M.  With a little seasoning, I’d argue a player of his ilk could carve out a 20 goal season in the NHL.

Should Kennedy have played in Buffalo for 2010-11, the guy would’ve gotten $150K more than last season, but the team has elected to waive him and will buy him out if necessary at $333K.


  • Guy is 24 years old
  • Just finished his first full season in the NHL
  • 10-16-26 in 78 GP for 850K, also 1-2-3 in 6 GP in the playoffs
  • Born in Buffalo
  • Stood to make only 150K more than last year, but now stands to be
  • bought out 333K over the span of two years.

I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for all of this.


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