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Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Arbitration...

This has got to be the most disappointing arbitration season in recent memory. Out of 30 players who were headed to arbitration, 16 have already reached settlements with their clubs prior to the session, including some accomplished young players like Ray Emery and Lee Stempniak. Only Brooks Laich has actually gone through with his hearing so far, but nobody's going to get excited over a depth center snagging $725,000.

So what's going on here? Is it that teams are fearful of what the awards might be and offer settlements to avoid getting burned, or are players looking around and not finding "comparables" inspiring enough to go after the big bucks? Or is it that both sides don't want to hurt each other's feelings, especially when the team has every intention of holding on to the player?

Perhaps Mike Cammalleri will still go through with the process and land the kind of contract that makes his team think twice, but according to, the Kings have plenty of cap room available to absorb whatever salary he's likely to get.

Last summer, you had J.P. Dumont and Vitaly Vishnevski receive judgements that their teams walked away from (anyone else that I missed?), which added to the free agency crop and for Nashville at least, provided the opportunity to land a consistent scoring winger who is perhaps entering his NHL prime. It's too bad we couldn't have more fireworks at this time, so hockey could get some press for actual hockey-related news, rather than all the nonsense going on in the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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