Another off-season and another Predator player is going into arbitration. For those of you not familiar with the arbitration process sometimes it can be good for a team in order to give them time to hash out a better contract with the player. Other times it is the go-to measure for a player who feels he is not getting paid what his skill set and numbers deserve.
Either way, many believe the election for arbitration is a way in which Sergei Kostitsyn can work out a longer term deal with the Nashville Predators.
Sergei Kostitsyn, who was a project of sorts from the Montreal Canadiens has performed beyond expectation over the last two seasons with the Nashville Predators. He is the prototype of the low-risk/high-reward signing that Poile has gambled on from time to time (Good-Joel Ward/Ryan Jones/Brandon Yip…Bad-Niclas Bergfors).
Kostitsyn led the Predators in points in the 2010-2011 season and followed that up with 43 points this season. The only black marks on his impressive two-year stint with Nashville is 1) an unwillingness to shoot the puck more and 2) his disappearance in the playoffs especially this season where in 10 games Kostitsyn only had 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist).
Not only will Poile have these factors to consider when going forward into the arbitration hearings but both sides will have to come up with a list of comparables to Sergei Kostitsyn to decide his value.
Here are some other left-wingers who over the last two seasons have had similar goal and point totals.
Clarke MacArthur – 41G, 64A, 105P – $3.2M per year
Chris Higgins – 31G, 40A, 71P – $1.9M per year
Steve Sullivan (2009-2010/2011-2012)- 34G, 65A, 99P – $2.6M per year
Ryan Clowe – 41G, 66A, 107P – $3.6M per year
The average for comparable left-wingers contracts is $2.82M per year and Kostitsyn is coming off a year where he earned $2.5M. Steve Sullivan and Clarke MacArthur should be the best comparables to Kostitsyn. MacArthur’s goal totals are almost identical and Sullivan’s overall points are not too far off. Plus the added bonus of Sullivan being on the Predators is a great comparison to how Kostitsyn works on the top line in Nashville.
The biggest difference between Kostitsyn and the other left-wingers listed is age. Of course Sullivan is older than Kostitsyn but so are all the rest. Kostitsyn coming into his prime right now at age 25 is a huge bargaining chip for Kostitsyn’s side.
Hopefully Poile and Kostitsyn can come to an agreement because a left-winger of his caliber that is fully ingrained into the Predators system is a huge asset considering what little the Predators have done in free agency so far. I would like to see Kostitsyn signed to a 4 yr deal for $3.25-3.5M per year. He is well worth that amount and the offense he provides alongside the gritty work on the PK are worth more than even that contract affords and judging by the others in his offensive category, a slight raise couldn’t hurt to retain his services.