What's a fair price for a 48-point scoring, 26-year-old alternate captain? The New York Rangers are about to find out.
Ryan Callahan, New York's hardworking right wing and a locker-room leader, has a salary arbitration hearing Thursday to determine a new contract for the 2011-12 season -- and possibly beyond. He kicks off a list of six restricted free agents who have yet to work out new deals with their respective clubs.
Vancouver's Jannik Hansen is second on the list with a hearing on Friday. The 25-year-old winger is no stranger to arbitration -- he and team brass attended a hearing last summer and Hansen was awarded a one-year, $825,000 contract. He proved his worth by posting the best season of his career in 2010-11, totaling 9 goals, 20 assists and a plus-13 rating in 82 games for the Canucks. He also had 9 points in 25 games in Vancouver's run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Shea Weber will plead his case. Weber made $4.5 million last season, the last year of his three-year contract -- and earned every penny of it. The 25-year-old, a member of Canada's 2010 Olympic gold-medal team, has 80 goals and 134 assists in 402 NHL games, all with the Predators.
After Weber comes another high-profile case. Zach Parise, who has been the Devils' offensive catalyst, scoring 146 goals between 2006 and 2010, will face an arbitrator Aug. 3. The 26-year-old earned $5 million last season and will be awarded a one-year contract in arbitration. He can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Parise's teammate, defenseman Mark Fraser, will follow him with an Aug. 4 hearing.
Islanders forward Blake Comeau will also have a hearing that day. Comeau, 25, set career highs in scoring last season with 24 goals and 22 assists in 77 games.
Twenty-two players filed for arbitration, but 16 of them worked out new contracts with their respective clubs.