RFA Analysis: Further Clarification on the Anthony Stewart Qualifying Offer Issue

Posted by Richard Pollock in Roster Analysis,Winnipeg Jets,Winnipeg Jets RFA Analysis on July 7, 2011 — 2 Comments

Two days ago, we broke down the options the Winnipeg Jets had when it came to tendering Anthony Stewart a qualifying offer.

Here are the options listed one through six:

  1. Qualify Anthony Stewart at $695,200, no teams tender him an offer sheet, and attempt to sign him to a one-year deal to play in Winnipeg.  If they could not come to an agreement, and neither party opted for salary arbitration, Stewart could sit out until a contract was reached;
  2. Qualify Anthony Stewart at $695,200 and risk that another team sign him to an offer sheet between that amount and below $1,034,249—resulting in no draft pick compensation if the team does not match;
  3. Qualify Anthony Stewart with him receiving an offer sheet from an opposing team of at least $1,034,249 and take the draft pick compensation (3rd round Entry Draft selection from signing team);
  4. Qualify Anthony Stewart at $695,200 and take him to salary arbitration—without the option of walking away from the arbitrator’s ruling;
  5. Qualify Anthony Stewart at $695,200 and risk him taking the club to salary arbitration—with the club having the option of walking away from the arbitrator’s ruling or accepting the ruling.  The possibility always exists that the club accepts the offer and then eventually trades Stewart (as Boston did with Blake Wheeler last season); and
  6. Not qualify Anthony Stewart (option they chose), without any compensation.

Option numbers 4 and 5 are the focus of this clarification piece.  After speaking to Mike Colligan of Forbes and The Hockey Writers (if you are not following Mike on Twitter, you should be), he pointed out that the minimum contract that teams can “walk-away” from is now at $1,633,131.  It originally began at $1,042,173 when the CBA was agreed to in 2005, however, just like restricted free agent compensation, it increases in accordance with the Average League Salary.

More after the jump.

Specifically, Article 12.10(a) of the CBA sets forth that a team has the ability to only “walk-away” from a contract that is above $1,042,173—now $1,633,131.

As a result, with Stewart almost certain to file for salary arbitration, the Jets were clearly scared off by the possibility, a likely possibility at that, that he would receive a salary below $1,633,131.  Without the ability to “walk-away” the Jets would have been stuck with that salary.  Whether Stewart is worth that money is an article for another day, but this should provide further clarification on the options set out above.

For even further clarification, we asked Kevin Cheveldayoff about the decision and process behind not qualifying Stewart on last night’s Illegal Curve Hockey Show on Sports Radio 1290.  Click here to listen to the show; Cheveldayoff appears at the 11:23 mark.

  • So it would appear that the Jets not securing Stewart’s services for next season was a good move, despite not securing any compensation (draft picks) had they traded him.

  • It’s clear that they identified him as a player that they were not interested in having, and did not want to go through the hassle of arbitration in order to obtain a late round pick. As Chevy said on the show yesterday, arbitration is not a fun process for either side, and it may result in unpredictable rulings at times.