Jackets, Methot close to Arbitration
For the first time in their nine-year history, the Columbus Blue Jackets could be forced to attend an arbitration hearing later this week.
Jackets defenseman, and restricted free agent Marc Methot, is scheduled to have his case heard Thursday morning in Toronto unless the two sides can agree on a contract, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Methot’s agent, Larry Kelly, and Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson have both stated that their side would like to avoid the hearing if possible.
With the player demanding more money and the team telling him why he does not deserve it, arbitration hearings have never been considered a good way to build a strong relationship between team and player.
“I’m hoping we can settle up before the hearing,” Methot said. “The Blue Jackets are a team that I really want to be a part of, obviously.
“This is the way the business is set up, though. If we do go to a hearing, hopefully we’ll come out of it happy and forget about (what was said) and go on with this coming season. That’s what I plan to do if it comes to that.”
Methot was a solid contributor for the Jackets last season, totaling 4 + 13 =17 with a plus 7 rating and an average ice time of over 17 minutes. These numbers mean he will likely receive a raise from the estimated $500,000 he made last year.
Negotiations between the two sides will continue up until the hearing in effort to avoid it. If a deal is not forthcoming by Wednesday afternoon, both groups will fly to Toronto.
If that is the case, and a hearing is needed, the Jackets will have 48 hours to accept the decision or decline, thus making Methot an unrestricted free agent.
Only two other Blue Jackets, defenseman Jamie Pushor and winger Jason Chimera, have ever filed for arbitration.
The team came to terms quickly with Chimera, nearly two weeks before the hearing, but did not get a deal done with Pushor until they were standing outside the doors of the meeting room the morning of the hearing.
It is clear that both sides want to get this done. Expect the two parties to settle on a deal, if not before the hearing, than after.