Arbitrator makes final ruling in Flames' controversial situation!

This was a messy one!

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The Calgary Flames had a busy schedule at the start of the month of July when five of their players were set to undergo arbitration in the later weeks. The Canadian team had five restricted free agents left to sign earlier today in Garnet Hathaway, Noah Hanifin, Brett Kulak, David Rittich and Hunter Shinkaruk. Rittich is scheduled to have an arbitration hearing on Saturday, while Hathaway is slated to meet with the team on Monday.

However, an arbitrator has made an official ruling on the situation with Kulak, which was a messy one to say the least. The Flames, the defenseman and their respective representatives sat down on Monday with the arbitrator this morning and Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson says that the parties emerged from the meeting a few hours ago. 

This all took place after Calgary attempted to get rid of the blue liner by placing him on waivers last week. Before today's ruling, both sides were reportedly $500,000 apart, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

It now seems like the arbitrator went down the middle to accommodate both parties. The Flames announced today that an arbitrator has awarded Kulak a salary of $900,000 for the 2018-19 season.

Earlier this morning, the Flames put another signing in the books, however this one was handled before the arbitration hearing. The Flames signed forward Mark Jankowski to a two-year, $3.35 million contract on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration. The centre's arbitration hearing was scheduled for Friday.

The 23-year-old forward tallied 17 goals and posted 25 points in 72 games with the Flames last season. He took part in just one game for the Flames the previous year. The Flames first focused on Jankowski, who was selected in the first round, 21st overall by the Flames  back in 2012 NHL Entry draft, but had to complete the Kulak signing today. 

Jankowski will count for $1.675 million against the Flames salary cap this season and with Kulak's signing now, it leaves the team with just under $4.6 million in cap space, according to the information provided by Cap Friendly.

Since GM Brad Treliving became general manager in 2014, six Flames players have filed for arbitration. Only one, who at the time was Lance Bouma, made it to the hearing, and all six ended with a settlement before the arbitrator’s verdict.

Let's see what happens next with the other free agents waiting for their hearing...