THOUGHTS DE LA GREGOR..UPDATED

 

What does it mean that Devan Dubnyk signed before Jeff Deslauriers? How much will Gilbert Brule be asking for in arbitration? Should it really cost $12.5 million to get a leader?

Dubnyk signed a one-way, two-year deal worth $800,000/season and many are speculating this signals the end of Jeff Deslauriers as an Oiler. Since the end of the season I thought the Oilers would go with DD instead of JDD as the back up in 2010/2011, and I still do, but I don’t think this signing guarantees that.

Deslauriers has filed for arbitration and his case is scheduled to go August 4th, unless he and the Oilers reach an agreement before then. Deslauriers is in a tough spot. If he wins his case with a contract of more than one million the Oilers can just walk away from the ruling and he will become an UFA .

The problem with that scenario is that by August 4th most teams will have two or possibly three goalies locked up, so I’ll be stunned if Deslauriers doesn’t agree to a contract before then. 

The other interesting angle for him is that Nikolai Khabibulin’s court date is July 22nd, and the Oilers will know what punishment their veteran will be awarded. If they throw the book at Khabibulin (which I doubt they will) then maybe they keep both the kids.

If Deslauriers can get a one-year, one-way deal from the Oilers he will almost surely take it. He’ll get something similar to Dubnyk, if not a bit less.

BRULE AND JACQUES ALSO ARBITRATION BOUND

Twenty one players filed for arbitration and the three were Oilers. Brule and J.F Jacques have also filed, but I’d expect Jacques to get a contract before his July 21st arbitration date.

Update: JF Jacques has signed a one-year deal worth $615,000. He won’t be going to arbitration.

Jacques’ back is progressing nicely and if he can stay healthy he is good bargain at that price. After years of struggling to find his niche on the team, he finally realized he needs to be physical. Despite only playing 49 games he led the Oilers in hits with 158. Only Zach Stortini (144) and Gilbert Brule (115) had more than 100 hits. Jacques’ +/- wasn’t good, but his mix of size and speed makes him appealing for at least another year.

Brule’s case is set for August 3rd, and he has the best case and will be looking for around $2 million/season. Brule was 2nd on the Oilers in goals, 17, was one of only two players to be in double digits with five-on-five goals, 15, and was tied for the team lead with three GW goals.

In many arbitration cases teams have argued that PP goals are less important, so Brule’s camp will be using his strong EV production in their favour. I’m not sure what the Oilers will be offering, but Brule has a solid case and could be the first Oiler since Jason Smith in 2002 to go before an arbitrator.

COSTLY LEADERSHIP?

Ryan Rishaug from TSN and Brownlee are both in favour of bringing back Ryan Smyth. Their argument that his leadership and work ethic is exactly what the young Oiler forwards need to see is a valid one, but I wonder if the he is worth it. 

Smyth has a $6.25 million cap hit for two more years, but he gets paid $5.5 million next year and $4.5 million in his final year. That’s a lot to pay a guy just because you think he’ll be a good influence on the young guys.

His work ethic and desire will never be questioned, but how much does he have left to contribute on the ice? 43% of his career goals have come on the powerplay, but do you want him to play more than Dustin Penner and Taylor Hall on the PP? 

The Oilers could put Smyth beside Shawn Horcoff and use them as a checking/scoring line so the likes of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner could get easier minutes, but if they don’t produce then you’re paying $11.75 million to be defensive. That’s too rich for my blood.

The Oilers would be doing cartwheels if they could land Smyth for Sheldon Souray, but there is no way Dean Lombardi makes that deal even if the Kings sign Ilya Kovalchuk. They’d rather keep Smyth’s contract than take on Souray’s, because the Kings young guys would benefit more from having Smyth around.

I respect Smyth’s game, and his passion and tireless effort would be a great example for the young kids, but his contract combined with lots of hard miles on his body make him more of a risk than a reward in my mind.

ARBITRATION CASES

Here is the list of players who filed for arbitration along with their hearing date.

Jared Boll v. Columbus Blue July 20th

Derek Meech v. Detroit July 20th

Jannik Hansen v. Vancouver July 20th

Daniel Carcill v. Philadelphip July 21st

J.F Jacques v. Edmonton July 21st

Clark MacArthur v. Atlanta July 21st

Gregory Campbell v. Boston July 22nd

Nate Thompson v. Tampa Bay July 22nd

Fabian Brunnstrom v. Dallas July 23rd

Brad Richardson v. Los Angeles July 23rd

Mason Raymond v. Vancouver July 26th

Matt Moulson v. NYI July 27th

Blake Wheeler v. Boston July 27th

Tim Kennedy v. Buffalo July 27th

Anton Stralman v. Columbus July 28th

Tomas Fleischmann v. Washington July 28th

Patrick Kaleta v. Buffalo July 29th

Andrew Ladd v. Atlanta July 29th A

ntti Niemi v. Chicago July 29th

Ian White v. Calgary July 30th

Mark Fraser v. New Jersey July 30th

Peter Regin v. Ottawa July 30th

Gilbert Brule v. Edmonton August 3rd

James Wisniewshi v. Anaheim August 3rd

Ben Eager v. Atlanta August 3rd

Jeff Deslauriers v. Edmonton August 4th

Chris Campoli v. Ottawa August 4th

The most interesting cases, if they go before an arbitrator should be Raymond and the Canucks, Niemi and the Hawks, Moulson and the Islanders, Ladd and the Thrashers and Brule and the Oilers.

Last year five players ended up going to arbitration, Daniel Winnik, Kyle Wellwood, Milan Jurcina, Jiri Hudler and Nikolai Zherdev. The most interesting case was Hudler. Just as the case was starting the Wings agreed to terms Hudler’s camp wanted and paid him $5.75 million over two years, but Hudler had already agree do to go the KHL. I think the Wings were hoping if they agreed to Hudler’s terms then he might return, but that didn’t happen until this summer.

Zherdev’s case had the largest discrepancy heading into it. Zherdev wanted $4.7 million while the Rangers countered with $2.8. The arbitrator awarded Zherdev a one-year deal at $3.9 million, but the Rangers exercised their right to walk away from the ruling and Zherdev ended up signing in the KHL.