The arbitration figures for the last few cases came out fast and furious today from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Anton Forsberg came down second, with Friedman reporting that the goaltender filed for $833K while the Carolina Hurricanes submitted a $700K/$70K two-way offer. Forsberg is scheduled for a hearing on Sunday. It is important to remember that the two sides can continue to negotiate up to (and for a short period after) the hearing. The arbitrator does also not need to choose one filing or the other, but will almost always decide on a number near the mid-point of the two.
Forsberg, 26, came over to the Hurricanes earlier this offseason in a deal that saw Calvin de Haan head to the Chicago Blackhawks. While the biggest piece of that trade for Carolina may have been Gustav Forsling, Forsberg is not to be overlooked as a potential competitor for the NHL backup role. Petr Mrazek was re-signed as the primary starter for the Hurricanes, but Forsberg, James Reimer and Alex Nedeljkovic will all try to prove they’re the best option for that second spot.
Forsberg showed he could be a relatively reliable backup option last season with the Blackhawks when he started 30 games and registered a .908 save percentage. That number is actually substantially better than Reimer’s .900 from last season, though the former Florida Panthers netminder has a much longer track record. Nedeljkovic of course is the wild card having just won the AHL Goaltender of the Year award and a Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers. Nedeljkovic has only played in two NHL games, and posted a .916 save percentage in the minor leagues last season.
Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer tweets that Carolina GM Don Waddell expressed “some surprise and irritation” that the Forsberg situation was heading to arbitration at all when he met with the media yesterday. That may suggest that a deal is done at some point before the decision comes down, especially given the relatively small gap between the two sides. Forsberg is coming off a two-year, one-way contract that carried an average annual value of $750K.