Playing Arbitrator: Mark Fraser

With the news that Mark Fraser will be filing for salary arbitration, I decided to take a look at what might happen if the Leafs are unable to negotiate a contract before his hearing. Using the information outlined by Derrick Marr (Arbitration explained: because "Arbitration for Dummies" seemed to harsh), I set out to find a list of comparable players that may be looked at in the arbitration process.

The key takeaways from Marr's article are:

  • Only contracts signed by players who are RFAs may be used as comparables
  • 1 Year contracts are the preferred comparable
  • 2 Year contracts may be used but salary is used instead of cap hit
  • For defensive defensemen like Fraser, the main point of comparison is time on ice

With that in mind, here is quick glance at Fraser's 2013 season with 82 game prorated figures in brackets where applicable:

  • Games Played: 45 (77)
  • Points: 8 (14)
  • PTS/G: 0.18
  • TOI: 763 (1303)
  • ATOI: 16:57
  • PKTOI: 91 (156)
  • APKTOI: 2:01
Let's take a look at 2013 comparables first. There have been seven RFA defensemen signed so far this summer, and three of those have been signed to 1 or 2 year deals (Chris Butler - CGY, Chris Summers - PHX, Kevin Marshall - TOR). Of those three, Chris Butler was the only NHL regular playing in 44 games for the Flames this season.

In the 2012 offseason, there were thirty-six 1 or 2 year deals handed out to RFA defensemen. I filtered out players that appeared in less than 70% of the season and was left with the following list: Mark Fayne, P.K. Subban, Michael Del Zotto, Jeff Petry, Kyle Quincey, Mark Fistric, Raphael Diaz, and Cody Franson. Adding Fraser and Butler's 2013 seasons to this list we have (stats/TOI via Hockey Reference &



We can quickly eliminate some players from this list based on their offensive prowess. Subban, Del Zotto, Petry, Quincey, Diaz, and Franson all put up points at a substantially higher rate than Fraser. This leaves Fraser's season in the company of Chris Butler's 2013 season, and the 2011-12 seasons of Mark Fistric and Mark Fayne. From CapGeek, here are the salaries these players received in the first year following those seasons:



These salaries average out to $1,458,333, and I would suspect an arbitrator would come to a ruling somewhere around this amount. In my mind the best case scenario for the Leafs is if things never make it to the arbitration stage. It's worth noting that Fraser's numbers from this season are eerily similar to Chris Butler's in terms of PTS/G, TOI, and PKTOI, so if Fraser does make it to arbitration and walks away with a $1,700,000, Leafs fans and management will have Jay Feaster to thank. is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of

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