Sunday, July 30, 2006

Oilers avoid arbitration and Briere up in the Air

1 month ago the Oiler's hockey club looked in pretty big trouble. Pronger leaving, Peca leaving, Samsanov leaving, Spacek leaving, 3 key guys filing for aribtration, meaning three 1 year contracts, and then possibly 3 more guys leaving. But somethign very interesting happened with the Oilers who filed for arbitration - all three players signed multi-year deals with the hockey club they have always known (technically not true for Jarret Stoll, but thats another story). Horcoff signed a very reasonable 3.5/3 year deal, Stoll with an amazingly cheap 2.2/2 year deal, and Hemsky to a 4/6 year deal. Given Pavel Kubina is making more than any one of these guys, these are amazing steals of deals.

Hemsky might be a bit pricey for the first year or two (although given his point production compared to other 4 million guys, hes not that far off), but he will be a steal in 3-4 years. Lowe obviously feels Hemsky is the future of this team given the length of the deal. He's got a ways to go in terms of consistency, but its obvious the talent is there.

Stoll is a 60 pt guy, PP and PK specialist, a former team Canada captain who is only going to make $2.2 million. There are a lot of teams that would love his combination of grit, skill and leadership for that cheap. The Oilers 1st line is only going to cost them about $11/year, and as of now their second line is only about $5/year (Stoll, Pisani, Lupul).

Now the Oilers and the City of Edmonton took a lot of critiscm over all their earlier losses, but the fact they avoided all their arbitration hearings, and signed key guys for reasonable prices on multiyear deals shows how tight Lowe and the dressing room still are.

Where is Briere?

This whole process took me a while to figure out but heres the deal with Daniel Briere. The arbiter awarded him a $5/1 contract, and the Sabres have until 48 hours after their LAST arbitration case is finalized to either sign Briere or lose him to FA.

The fact he isnt signed yet means one of two things:
1) The Sabres are waiting for all their hearings to be finished to see if they still have room for Briere
2) They are listening to trade offers because they already feel they can't sign him

If the organization has any smarts at all they'll find room to sign Briere. I suspect they will.

And to think, only 3-4 years ago he could've been had for league minimum he was so unwanted.

No comments: