NHL Salary Cap Topics > Arbitration


Restricted Free Agents agents are eligible for Arbitration if the following qualifications are met (only Restricted Free Agents can go to arbitration):

Arbitration Table

For players 20 years of age or older, Professional experience is defined as any professional league (AHL, ECHL, European Pro League, etc.)

Player Elected Arbitration

If a Player has not signed an offer sheet, they can elect to go to arbitration. They must elect to do so by July 5 at 5pm Eastern.

Team Elected Arbitration

Teams can take players to arbitration, to a maximum of 2 Team Elections per year.   

If a player made $2.23M or more in the last season, the Arbitration award must be 85% of their previous season pay or more. If the team elects arbitration, the player can still sign an offer sheet with another team prior to July 5 at 5pm, which would negate the team elected arbitration.  The Team must elect the arbitration by 5pm on the later of June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Finals ends.

If a player received a Qualifying Offer but did not accept it, the team must offer an amount equal to or more than their pay in the previous season. The Team election window is from July 5 and 5pm to July 6 at 5pm.

A player can only receive 1 Team Elected arbitration in their career, regardless of if the case was settled prior to the actual arbitration award. 

Arbitration Rulings

The arbitrator can only award a 1 or 2 year contract. The party that did not elect the arbitration selects the term (if the player selected arbitration, the team selects 1 or 2 year term).  Players that are only 1 year away from being a UFA can only have a 1 year contract awarded.

New in 2020 MOU: Agreements can be reached between the teams and players only prior to the arbitration hearing commencing. Previously, an agreement could be made prior to award being delivered.

For Player elected arbitration, the Team can walk away if the award is $4.74M (was $4.54M 2020 to 2023). If they walk away, the player becomes a UFA.  

Arbitration List

In 2022, 24 players filed for arbitration

In 2023, 22 players filed for arbitration

Insights and Insiders