Ottawa Senators: Jean-Gabriel Pageau Files for Arbitration

OTTAWA, ON - MAY 17: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
OTTAWA, ON - MAY 17: Jean-Gabriel Pageau /

Jean-Gabriel Pageau of the Ottawa Senators is a restricted free agent this season and has filed for arbitration.

For those unfamiliar with the details of free agency, there are two types of free agents. There those who are restricted and those who are unrestricted. An unrestricted free agent may sign with any team they wish with no restriction. Whereas restricted free agent is limited in who they can sign with. A player who is a restricted free agent can either sign with their team or can sign an offer sheet from another team. An offer sheet is just like any other contract except that the team that owns the rights of the restricted player can match any offer sheet given to the player. As a result, restricted free agents have limited power in contract negotiation.

What is Arbitration

Arbitration is one of the few powers that a restricted free agent has. As a result, if a player and management fail to find common ground the player may file for arbitration. This is a hearing where both sides present why they feel the player is worth a given amount and the neutral arbitrator awards the player a contract of one or two years in length. Pageau has now filed for this hearing.

This may seem like a bad thing, a sign of a bad relationship between the player and management. However, this is not the case. Pageau is simply exercising one of his few powers as a restricted free agent. With the deadline to file for a hearing today at 5 PM he had to file now. Pageau and management can still avoid the hearing by signing a contract for the date given to them. The hearing will likely be in a few weeks.

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Pageau’s Value

Based on the full package Pageau brings to the team, a fair contract for him would likely be for around 3.5 million for 4 years. Pageau’s camp is likely trying to get a little over four and management is trying to spend a little less than three. That’s just how contract negotiation works. The two sides will get a deal done and even if negotiation fails and it reaches arbitration it isn’t a bad thing. The same situation took place with Mike Hoffman a few years ago and it worked out just fine. Pageau will be with the Ottawa Senators for a long time.