The Pittsburgh Penguins and forward Zach Aston-Reese will tangle over money a little sooner than expected. Most arbitration hearings take place later in July but Aston-Reese will get his due process for a contract on July 22, which is the third day of 2019 arbitration hearings in Toronto.
Aston-Reese is one of three Penguins restricted free agents but the Penguins have not come to an agreement with any, yet. Defenseman Marcus Pettersson was not eligible for arbitration and Teddy Blueger declined the potentially bruising process.
Sources told Pittsburgh Hockey Now late last week there has been little movement with Aston-Reese or Pettersson, but that likely comes from the Penguins oppressive salary cap crunch. According to CapFriendly.com, the Penguins have just $1.5 million of space, but realistically have $2.3 million when they remove one of Zach Trotman or Chad Ruhwedel from the NHL roster.
The $1.5 million cap figure stems from carrying the veteran NHL defensemen who will serve as organizational depth but must clear waivers.
Figures are currently unknown, but Hockey-Graphs estimates Aston-Reese’s award to be just short of $1.3 million.
Other notable RFAs in arbitration will also have their date with an independent third party. St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong said Stanley Cup-winning goalie Jordan Binnington deserved to paid, but Binnington has not yet seen the green. St. Louis and Binnington will argue on July 20. St. Louis will also be in arbitration with Oskar Sundqvist on July 24.
The New York Rangers and Jacob Trouba will quarrel on July 25. The Calgary Flames and Sam Bennett will go on July 27.
The process can be bruising as the players state their case why they are worth the requested salary, then the team explains why they are not. More than a few players have expressed regret or hurt feelings going through the process. Players and teams are able to sign a contract at any time until the hearing.