Connor Hellebuyck has filed for arbitration in his contract talks with the Winnipeg Jets and this means very little overall. Filing for arbitration is becoming a fairly common occurrence for restricted free agents for various reasons. Filing for arbitration also makes Hellebuyck ineligible for an offer sheet.
In Hellebuyck’s case, it forces the Jets and him to agree to a contract on a deadline or else they will enter a potentially non-binding arbitration hearing. It is non-binding until the award is below $4,084,219. At that threshold the Jets have to agree to the contract that the arbitrator awards.
There are two possible reasons that Hellebuyck opted for arbitration: he might prefer to have a one-way contract while the Jets want a two-way contract or term might be a sticking point as if the Jets want one year and he wants two or vice-versa. The key is the contract will be binding as there is no way that Hellebuyck will be awards more than $4,084,219. It is unlikely that he even gets to an arbitration hearing as very few reach that point any more. Even if it does, the two sides can keep negotiating until the award is given by the arbitrator.
All Hellebuyck filing for arbitration means is that the Jets and him will eventually agree to a contract. The sticking point could be something major or it could be nothing at all and he just filed to be safe so there would be a contract before camp.