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Penguins

Penguins, Brian Dumoulin not close on money heading into arbitration

Jonathan Bombulie
| Saturday, July 22, 2017, 11:36 a.m.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) plays against the Ottawa Senators during the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday, May, 13, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) plays against the Ottawa Senators during the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday, May, 13, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins and Brian Dumoulin have different ideas about what the 25-year-old defenseman's salary should be next season.

Dumoulin's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday in Toronto. He is asking for a one-year deal worth $4.35 million, and the Penguins offered a contract worth $1.95 million, according to a report by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca.

An NHL arbitrator, unlike those in MLB, doesn't have to select the team's figure or the player's figure. He may chose a salary in between the proposals and almost certainly will in this case.

Both sides will have facts on their side heading into the hearing.

To Dumoulin's credit, he has emerged as a key player for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Over the past two postseasons, no one in the league has played more minutes than Dumoulin's 1,066. Last season, he led Penguins defensemen in postseason ice time, averaging almost 22 minutes per game. Next season, he is expected to play on the team's top defense pair with Kris Letang.

To Dumoulin's detriment, salary for defensemen in the NHL still often is at least partially determined by offensive production, and that is not the Maine native's specialty. He has two goals in 163 career regular-season games.

After both sides present their cases Monday, the arbitrator will have 48 hours to weigh his decision. In other words, a verdict isn't expected until Wednesday.

The Penguins and Dumoulin may continue to try to settle on a contract on their own all the way until the arbitrator's ruling is announced.

Most cases are settled before the arbitrator's ruling. Last year, none of the 25 NHL players who filed went through with the entire process. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, however, said earlier this month that he's comfortable allowing an arbitrator to set this year's salary for Dumoulin and worrying about the defenseman's long-term contractual future with the team at a later date.

Dumoulin is the first of two Penguins players set for arbitration this summer. Winger Conor Sheary's hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4.

The Penguins have about $10 million in space under the $75 million salary cap with 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies under contract. After Dumoulin and Sheary are taken care of, Rutherford estimated the Penguins will have about $2 million left over to fit in a third-line center via trade.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.

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