in his arbitration reward. Why is this relevant? I think he should hire Avery's agent and the NHL should re-vamp the arbitration process. Both are 27. The difference between the two is Hunter scored goals in the playoffs and has more career goals than Avery (and may've had more hits last season). Splitting the difference is a cop-out and takes little thought. Perhaps these arbitrators should be doing a bit more work.
I'm not sure there's much the NHL can do to make the arbitrators put "more effort" into it. Aren't they all independent arbitrators and are not affiliated with the NHL in any way? The only thing the NHL could do is change the rules of the CBA to somehow discourage simply splitting the difference. And I'm not a fan of the "one or the other" type of rulings.
Maybe the players and teams should pitch better cases? I honestly don't think that this is really an indication of a broken arbitration system. That's just really how it works. Apparently Hunter either lowballed himself with his starting point, or he and his agent weren't as good at arguing their case than Snow was.
I agree that arbitrators need to do more work. While splitting the difference may seem to be fair with two players that appear to be exactly the same, we all know that none really are. Putting a $ figure on intangables is impossible. Is Avery worth 400K more than Hunter? Some will say no, if you look at the numbers. Others will say yes, if you look at Averys impact on a team, other than the numbers. The problems are always going to be what price, who will pay it, does the team need it, and is the player worth it.
I think the only reason the arbitrators seem to be splitting the difference is because both the teams and the players are submitting numbers that are equidistant from what the arbitrator feels the player deserves. In other words, both sides are doing their research and submitting numbers that are reasonably close to what the arbitrator is going to rule. I guess by now many GMs and player agents have a good feel for what the arbitration awards will be for any particular player.
I'm sure that if Sather submitted $1.3-million for Avery, and Avery's agent submitted $5-million, the arbitrator wouldn't be splitting the difference in that case (where the midway point would be $3.15-million).
So although it might look like they're just splitting the difference, to me it looks like it's really the result of teams and players having predicted each others offers and adjusting their own accordingly to "lead" the arbitrator to a specific salary.
I also think both sides have been very good at pleading their cases. When each side is equally convincing, what's left for the arbitrator to but to meet them in the middle?
and high awards. I don't know what goes through an arbitrator's mind when deciding awards. I've gone through the process at work - and it is ugly and the award made little common sense (at least the basis for the award).
If I had been Avery's rep in his arbitration case (a humorous scenario, to be sure), I would have presented one major point:
NYR's record prior to his acquisition and following his arrival.
His impact - both to those who watch the game and those who lazily memorize numbers (in this case, a team's record) - was stark.
I'm actually pleasantly surpised at Hunter's award number. It was frankly what I would have expected NYI to offer him. He is a very solid, reliable and multi-dimensional player, albeit not an elite differencemaker, by any stretch.