Garnet Hathaway and the Calgary Flames were scheduled to hold an arbitration hearing today in Toronto, but will avoid the process and sign a one-year contract worth $850K. Hathaway had filed for $975K, while the team had countered with a league minimum $650K.
Hathaway, 26, will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this contract and finds himself in another battle for an NHL spot this fall. Undrafted, the big winger has played 99 regular season games for Calgary over the past three seasons and contributed 13 points in 2017-18. Now after the team has added players like Elias Lindholm, James Neal, Austin Czarnik and Derek Ryan, there may be even less opportunity for depth players like Hathaway to really make an impact at the highest level. If he does find himself on the NHL roster out of camp, it will likely be battling with someone like Curtis Lazar for playing time on the fourth line.
The Flames have now resolved all of their arbitration cases for this offseason, meaning a second buyout window will open for them later this week. The team still does have restricted free agent Noah Hanifin (and minor league player Hunter Shinkaruk) to re-sign, and only around $4.5MM in cap space. Should the team want to free up any with a buyout, really only Troy Brouwer would be a potential candidate though the team still seems to value his experience and physical presence.
Calgary is desperate to get back to the playoffs after an extremely disappointing 2017-18 season, and players like Hathaway will have to step up if the team faces injury this season. With other younger options like Dillon Dube and Spencer Foo pushing hard for a chance at the NHL level, it may be the last chance for Hathaway to show what he can do for the organization.