July 5 was the deadline for restricted free agents to file for salary arbitration, and two members of the Colorado Avalanche have decided to take this route.
The Avalanche currently have four restricted free agents who are unsigned, but have received qualifying offers from the club. Defenseman Ryan Wilson and forward Kevin Porter have decided to file for a hearing prior to the start of next season's camp. If the two sides cannot reach a salary agreement before their scheduled hearing, their case will be heard by an independent arbiter who will decide what their proper compensation should be for next season.
After the hearing, the Avalanche will have 48 hours to decide whether or not to accept the arbitration ruling. If they deem the price to be worthwhile, then Wilson or Porter will automatically be under contract for next season. But if Colorado doesn't like the named price, they are free to withdraw any rights claims and the player immediately becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Wilson, an undrafted defenseman, made great strides on the ice last season with his physical presence. But with the current glut of potential defensemen waiting in the wings, including top prospects Cameron Gaunce, Tyson Barrie, and Stefan Elliott, he faces fierce competition heading into camp.
Porter, acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes in 2009 (along with Peter Mueller in the Wojtek Wolski trade) had an inconsistent season. The former Hobey Baker Trophy winner has never quite shown the consistent scoring touch he had in college, but still figures to be a productive bottom six forward. Again, however, Colorado has quite a few young forwards pushing their way onto the roster. Players like Joey Hishon, Mark Olver, and Ryan Stoa all figure into Colorado's plans this coming season.