The agent for restricted free agent center Travis Zajac said today that contract talks with the Devils have been "very positive", but, because the sides have not been able to reach an agreement so far, they decided to exercise their right to file for salary arbitration before Sunday's 5 p.m. deadline.
That doesn't mean they won't continue to talk to Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello leading up to the hearing and possibly sign with the team before one takes place, though.
"We've had positive talks with Devils' management, several positive talks and I'm sure we'll continue to communicate," Zajac's agent Kurt Overhardt said. "We just look at it as it's obviously systemic, pursuant to the CBA, and we just thought it was necessary. We had the right and if we didn't file, the club had the right (to file for arbitration). I can't speculate whether they would filed if we didn't, but we just thought it was the appropriate thing to do because we had not reached an accord, yet.
"We'll keep trying to reach an agreement and if not, the arbitration process is pretty straight forward. It's very business-like. Neither side looks at the arbitration process as anything adversarial whatsoever. It is what it is. The good news for the player and the club is it's pretty expeditious because we'll know within less than a month."
The date for the hearing is expected to be announced before the end of the week. It will take place in Toronto between July 20 and Aug. 4. Overhardt said the player is required to attend the hearing.
Overhardt would not discuss specifics of the negotiations. When asked, he did say that some of the signings of other restricted free agents this off-season, "have had an impact", but would not go further than that.
"The talks have been very positive," he said. "I think we've had some great dialogue and I think both sides are motivated to continue to do that."
In case you missed it earlier, I posted in the comments section of one of the posts below that the numbers on the contract Ilkka Pikkarainen signed last week were one year for $500,000, which is the league minimum salary.