The arbitration figures for the last few cases came out fast and furious today from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Joel Edmundson was first, with Friedman reporting that the player had submitted a $4.2MM while the St. Louis Blues filed for $2.3MM. Edmundson 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.
Edmundson, 26, is in the final year of team control with the Blues and will only be able to receive a one-year arbitration award. The 6’4″ defenseman is coming off his fourth straight season as a regular member of the Blues’ defense corps, playing between 64-69 games in each year. He also remained a constant on the blueline through their Stanley Cup run, suiting up in 22 games and recording seven points. A big part of the team’s penalty killing unit, he also led all Blues defensemen in hits for the 2018-19 season.
Like with any arbitration hearing, both numbers filed seem like stretches. There is no way the Blues can afford to pay Edmundson more than $4MM per season for the role he plays, but he deserves more than $2.3MM as well. If it goes to a hearing the result will likely come down somewhere in the middle, though that might not necessarily be the best option for the Blues. An arbitration decision would walk Edmundson right into unrestricted free agency next summer and though they do have some young players ready to contribute, losing one of their stalwarts would only set their blueline back.
The Blues have just over $5MM in cap space currently however and still have Ivan Barbashev to sign as well. Lou Korac of NHL.com tweets that Barbashev is looking for a four-year term like linemate Oskar Sundqvist received earlier this offseason at somewhere around $1.75-2MM per year. A deal like that for Barbashev and a ~$3.2MM award for Edmundson would put the Blues right up against the cap to start the year.