The NHL's arbitration period officially began this morning and Buffalo started off its bank of hearings with one of its top scorers. Co-captain Daniel Briere's hearing began at 9 a.m. this morning, making it the first of a potentially league-high 10 hearings for Buffalo.
Following Briere will be Ales Kotalik next Tuesday, while Henrik Tallinder will become the Sabres' first blueliner to meet with the third party on Wednesday.
Buffalo has the option of negotiating with each player until the arbitrator has made a decision.
The arbitrator's decision will be announced to both parties within 48 hours of the meetings closing - for example, if a hearing ends on Friday at 1:00 PM, a decision will be made by Tuesday at 1:00 PM.
Once the arbitrator deciphers the contract and the award, Buffalo will have two days to either except or decline the terms of the agreement. If the team declines the award, that player becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were the last team to decline a deal, allowing Cory Stillman to gain unrestricted status following the 2003-04 season.
Below are schedules for Buffalo's 10 arbitration hearings and all hearings around the NHL. Buffalo's Arbitration Hearings
Thursday, July 20: Daniel Briere -- 48 GP, 58 PTS (25+33), 48 PIM
Tuesday, July 25: Ales Kotalik -- 82 GP, 62 PTS (25+37), 62 PIM
Wednesday, July 26: Henrik Tallinder -- 82GP, 21 PTS (6+15), 74 PIM
Thursday, July 27: Toni Lydman -- 75 GP, 17 PTS (1+16), 82 PIM
Friday, July 28: Jason Pominville
-- 57 GP, 30 PTS (18+12), 22 PIM
Monday, July 31: JP Dumont -- 54 GP, 40 PTS (20+20), 38 PIM
Tuesday, August 1: Tim Connolly -- 63 GP, 55 PTS (16+39), 28 PIM
Wednesday, August 2: Paul Gaustad -- 78 GP, 24 PTS (9+15), 65 PIM
Thursday, August 3: Max Afinogenov -- 77 GP, 73 PTS (22+51), 84 PIM
Friday, August 4: Adam Mair -- 40 GP, 7 PTS (2+5), 47 PIM Full Schedule of Arbitration Hearings
Thursday, July 20: Daniel Briere, Buffalo;
Michael York, N.Y. Islanders; Mark Smith, San Jose.
Friday, July 21: Scott Gomez, New Jersey; Ryan Malone, Pittsburgh.
Monday, July 24: Kyle Calder, Chicago; Jarret Stoll, Edmonton; Jay Bouwmeester, Florida; Craig Anderson, Florida; Sean Avery, Los Angeles; Brooks Orpik, Pittsburgh.
Tuesday, July 25: Ales Kotalik, Buffalo;
Micheal Ryder, Montreal; David Legwand, Nashville; Arron Asham, N.Y. Islanders.
Wednesday, July 26: Vitaly Vishnevski, Anaheim; Henrik Tallinder, Buffalo;
Chris Kelly, Ottawa; Mark Bell, San Jose.
Thursday, July 27: Toni Lydman, Buffalo; Chris Neil, Ottawa.
Friday, July 28: Jason Pominville, Buffalo;
Jim Vandermeer, Chicago; Ales Hemsky, Edmonton; Mike Cammalleri, Los Angeles; Peter Schaefer, Ottawa; Ben Clymer, Washington
Monday, July 31: JP Dumont, Buffalo;
Jason Williams, Detroit; Martin Erat, Nashville; Cory Sarich, Tampa Bay.
Tuesday, Aug. 1: Niko Kapanen, Atlanta; Tim Connolly, Buffalo;
Matt Bradley, Washington.
Wednesday, Aug. 2: Paul Gaustad, Buffalo;
Mike Van Ryn, Florida; Adam Hall, N.Y. Rangers; Dominic Moore, Pittsburgh; Matt Pettinger, Washington.
Thursday, Aug. 3: Chris Kunitz, Anaheim; Maxim Afinogenov, Buffalo;
David Tanabe, Boston; Jason Chimera, Columbia.
Friday, Aug. 4: Adam Mair, Buffalo;
Brett Mclean, Colorado; Ric Jackman, Florida; Scott Hartnell, Nashville; Ladislav Nagy, Phoenix; Mike Comrie, Phoenix.