Las Vegas–It’s been widely reported that current RFA blueliner Nate Schmidt filed for arbitration last week as the 2017-18 season approaches.
According to our friends at CapFriendly.com, Schmidt is one the 3 players on the current roster that are RFA’s. The other two are fellow defenseman Griffin Reinhart and Brendan Leipsic.
His last contract with the Washington Capitals was a 2-year deal worth $1,625,000.
In 60 games played with the Capitals, Schmidt recorded 3 goals, 14 assists for 17 points.
With Washington, his ATOI over the span of 60 games played was 15:29 according to Hockey-Reference.com. These figures are nearly a 3-minute ATOI drop from his previous season with the Capitals where record 18:04.
Schmidt’s numbers from the 2015-16 season over 70 games was not much better than his 60 games played from the following campaign. He produced just 2 goals, 14 assists for 16 points.
Going into the arbitration hearing, I am not sure how much Schmidt is seeking but I think based on the numbers he produced last year with his former club it will make it very difficult for an arbitrator to rule in his favor for a salary increase.
If Schmidt produced more in both goals and assists, then I can see an arbitrator ruling on his side but he only improved by one point in 10 fewer games played with the Capitals last season.
Based on that assessment I think the best case for Schmidt moving forward here is to negotiate with General Manager George McPhee on a realistic salary based on the stats at hand that both sides can agree on before the hearings window closes on August 4 in Toronto.
Schmidt’s highest NHL salary to date was his previous 2-year deal with Washington back in the 2012-13 season. That one was worth $2,700,000 with an AAV of $1,350,000.
We will all have to wait and see how this story plays itself out over the next few weeks. But to be reasonable here, I am sticking by my analysis that Schmidt and McPhee should just settle on a contract moving forward.