Brock McGinn’s arbitration hearing is first on the books this year, scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has received word on the figures exchanged from both sides, tweeting that McGinn’s camp is looking for $2.7MM while Carolina is hoping for $1.75MM. It is important to remember that not only can the two sides still negotiate a different deal in the time remaining (and even for a short period after the hearing), the arbitration decision also does not need to be one figure or the other. The award can (and usually does) fall somewhere in the middle of the submitted salaries.
McGinn, 25, is coming off a two-year, $1.775MM contract so regardless of where the decision lands he is about to get a healthy raise. The second round pick has developed into a useful bottom-six winger that can chip in offensively from time to time and bring a strong level of physicality every night. Though he had just ten goals in 2018-19 he had 16 the year prior, and is the team’s leading penalty killing forward. That’s a useful piece for a team trying to return to the playoffs and contend for the Stanley Cup, especially when he has shown he can play up in the lineup when asked to, at least for short periods of time.
The Hurricanes have a few other restricted free agents to sign but are working with a healthy amount of cap space even after signing Sebastian Aho to a big extension and bringing in some help up front. With additions like Ryan Dzingel and Erik Haula the team should have a deeper group of forwards who can score, letting others like McGinn feast on even easier matchups.
Remember that the team is allowed to select whether the award is for one or two years, a decision that may not be quite so simple. While a one-year term would leave McGinn a restricted free agent again next summer, a two-year award would lock him in at a reasonable number while the team works to build the rest of the roster. Cost controlled players are valuable, and there would still be the option to extend him at some point before he reached unrestricted free agency in 2021. None of that will matter if the two sides can work out a deal in the coming days however, which is still definitely a possibility.