Call it a holdout, call it a contract dispute, call it a player not showing up to camp because of a weird situation in the CBA, but whatever you call it, it’s starting to look and sound more and more likely that Shea Theodore will not be with the team when full training camp opens in less than a week.
Theodore remains without a contract and thus, he almost certainly (even though McPhee said he’s welcome to) won’t be in camp with his teammates. The situation remains a tricky one for the Golden Knights and Theodore because the team is only required to offer him a deal worth less than $1 million and the player’s only recourse to attempt to coax more money out of the Golden Knights is to “hold out” of camp and possibly even regular season games.
GM George McPhee, speaking with the media at City National Arena yesterday did not make it sound like the two sides are on the verge of an agreement.
It’s always best to have all of your guys available, but I don’t feel any particular pressure. We’ll do a deal when the deal is right. If he’s not here, then someone else will play. -McPhee
He went into fairly good detail about why a deal is not in place yet.
It’s an interesting part of our collective bargaining agreement that there’s a group of players, like Shea, that don’t have arbitration rights. And as much as some people dislike arbitration, I’ve always liked it because it’s a tool to get a contract done. People get pressured into getting a deal done or you go to arbitration and you have a contract after arbitration. There’s a group of 10 or 15 good young players in the league that don’t have arb rights and don’t have contracts right now and it takes a while to work them out. It would be nice if they have arb rights because then it’d be done by now. -McPhee
What he’s really saying is that there’s no formal deadline, and because of it, there’s hardly any pressure for either side to bend their stance of what they want to get out of the negotiations.
Like every negotiation, it’s about leverage and timelines. Theodore’s only recourse to force the Golden Knights into seeing things his way (meaning giving him more money) is to stay away from the team, hoping his absence will be enough to change their mind.
I’ve been through this in the past and watched other teams go through it and you go with the guys you have. I can’t blame him for not being here if we don’t have a deal done. He’s welcome to come to camp. But this is not a holdout situation, this isn’t a guy who has a contract that is not showing up, that’s a completely different animal. -McPhee
The term holdout is a tricky one here because technically, it’s not. Since Theodore does not have a contract, he’s not “holding out” on his obligations to fulfill said contract. However, according to quotes from McPhee in the past, he has been extended a qualifying offer (a one year contract worth around $1 million) and Theodore has yet to sign it. In that vein, he is holding out. However, the terminology doesn’t really matter as the fact remains the same either way, Theodore isn’t going to show up until this there’s pen on paper and that may not be happening any time soon.
We’re negotiating as best we can…Hopefully we’ll get something done sooner than later. -McPhee
That seems to be where pretty much everyone stands, but both sides want what they want and no one can blame either of them. Theodore wants to be paid like a top 4 defenseman who has a chance to become an All Star, while the team wants him to sign the cheap, short deal, and wait until they have even more info on his future (by seeing him play another year) before committing the big bucks.
It’s simply a weird by-product of a collectively bargained set of rules that didn’t really account for 22-year-olds to play massive roles on expansion teams playing in the Stanley Cup Final. It’s crazy they didn’t plan for that, right?
Every year is different in this business and every team runs its own race. -McPhee
It sure looks like the Golden Knights are going to start their race without #27, unless one side changes their mind soon.