If the Pittsburgh Penguins and winger Drew O’Connor aren’t able to reach a contract agreement before the issue goes to salary arbitration, it shouldn’t be because they ran out of time to negotiate.
O’Connor’s hearing is not scheduled until Aug. 4, the final day on which any of them will be held. Indeed, an NHL Players’ Association press release announcing the hearing dates listed O’Connor last among the four players scheduled for that day, suggesting that he could be the final player in the league to get his.
Hearings will begin July 20. At the moment, 20 players are scheduled to have one; three others — Noah Cates of Philadelphia and Seattle teammates Cale Fleury and Will Borgen — have reached contract agreements since requesting arbitration, which is not unusual.
Indeed, many, if not most, such disputes are settled before they get to a hearing.
O’Connor is a restricted free agent whose contract last season carried a salary-cap hit of $750,000.