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Zach Aston-Reese files for arbitration

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A look at what it might mean

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders - Game One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL Players’ Association announced the summer slate of arbitration filings and among the 40 players around the league who have taken this option, Penguins’ forward Zach Aston-Reese was one of them.

What does this mean? Well not necessarily a lot. This is just a step in the process for a restricted free agent to speed along the contract process. For instance last year there were 44 filings, 40 of them were resolved with a contract signed prior to the hearing. In 2017 all 30 cases around the league that got filed ended up resolved with a new contract before the hearing.

So, in all likelihood, the Pens and Aston-Reese’s agent will keep talking now they just have a deadline to get something done. ZAR is probably on the low end of the salary scale anyways, since he hasn’t really been able to stay healthy and only has modest NHL stats, including just 59 career games.

Really, if anything the only surprising thing would be that Teddy Blueger — who was also arbitration eligible — did not file along with Aston-Reese. The Pens have one other restricted free agent of note, Marcus Pettersson, and he is not able to elect for arbitration this year.

Using the Evolving Hockey model, here are the estimates and projections for all three.

  • Marcus Pettersson $1.6 million annually for two years
  • Zach Aston-Reese: $1.29 million annually for two years
  • Teddy Blueger: $892k annually for two years

We’ll see how accurate those projections prove to be, but as of now we know that Aston-Reese has begun the process to get his next contract going.

And, those three contracts add up to almost $3.8 million and according to CapFriendly we see that Pittsburgh only has $2.2 million of space remaining, meaning something probably has to give and we all know who that could be....