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.


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.


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.


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.

  • Whitney27

    I really hope the Oilers don’t bring back Smyth, he is getting to old and is way to overpaid not to mention taking up a roster spot for someone thats better and younger not to mention we other guys that would be better captains.
    As for Brule, Jacques, Deslauries going to arbitration only Brule and Deslauries have small cases that are good enough reason to go, but Jacques seriously??? the guy might as well back his bags cause his days with the Oilers are now over.

  • Chris.

    Let’s all join Doctor Unk in celebrating the depth of a lottery bound roster.


    Seriously though: only one of those lines has the ability to retrieve/maintain possession of the puck.

  • Chris.

    I like Brule… but is he going to be a true top six forward on a Stanley Cup caliber team? Is he a solid and effective prototypical bottom six forward on a Stanley Cup team?

    What is a really usefull hybrid player on a marginal team really worth? (IMO: $2M absolute max)

  • DougWeightProblem

    Hmmmm, I just realized I didn’t include Hemsky. How’s that for depth!

    Try moving Brule to the other side of Gagner and add Hemsky since everyone is adding Cogs to every trade rumor since Heatly.

  • Milli

    arg, formatting issues.

    For your reading enjoyment, now with proper spacing:

    Penner – Hall – Eberle
    Cogliano – Gagner – Brule
    Smyth – Horcoff – MP(S)
    Jones – Fraser – Stortini

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    “but if they [Smyth & Horcoff] don’t produce then you’re paying $11.75 million to be defensive.”

    Sure 12 mil is a lot to be defensive, but the chances of this pair not providing any points in unlikely especially when you consider that there’s another winger on that line that will benefit from the vets.

    Heck 12 million bucks might be worth it to win faceoffs and battles in the corners.

    Penner – Hall – Eberle
    Cogliano – Gagner – Brule
    Smyth – Horcoff – MP(S)
    Jones – Fraser – Stortini

    is that really so bad?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    2 years of Ryan Smyth to go with 110-120 pts over that span for 10 million. Bring back captain Oiler, he’ll be as important off the ice as he is on.

    Starting to look like Souray will have to go the re-entry waiver route before he finds another gig, paying half his salary is probably better than buying him out.

  • Ball Buster

    I think Smyth is a great guy, and yes I would like to see him on the team, but I have to agree with Gregor. The game he plays is a tough one, and while he’s made it this far, there’s always a risk. Plus he usually excels when we’ve got a booming shot from the point, and with Souray possibly leaving, we’ve only got Foster who can provide that?

    Need for a veteran presence is huge.. with the prospect/likelihood of Gagne hitting the waivers on the Flyers, perhaps we wait to go with a guy like him? I thought his play coming off injury in the playoffs was great, and he’s got a great shot and works hard. Would be a great guy for the kids to follow.

  • Crackenbury

    The Oilers resurrected Brule’s career. He`s a similar player to Comrie with more grit and potential to get even better. I`d be happy to see a 3 year deal averaging out to 2 – 2.5 million per season. I don`t think there is any chance this makes it to arbitration.

    JDD on the other hand would be the most interesting arbitration case. I`d love to be in the room to hear the case he puts forward.

  • Ball Buster

    Nilsson money for Brule is an acceptable deal given what Brule brings to the game, as others have mentioned.

    But Matheson in the EDM Journal is reporting that Kulemin’s deal with the Leafs may be the best comparable so now we’re in the $2.4MM range. That could be difficult to take on given that Gagner still needs to be signed.

    • Chris.

      Yes… and now that Gagner is the Oilogosphere’s defacto first line center he should be eligible to recieve $5M+ (If he had arbitration)

      *Runs and ducks into a foxhole to avoid the enevidable blast for forgetting the ~’s*

  • DougWeightProblem

    Perhaps if Brule’s contract is too much, we can do a sign and trade. Consider upgrading our defensive prospects, with all the forward depth we have. How about a Brule + Cogliano for Schenn + mid-pick/prospect trade?

      • DougWeightProblem

        Clearly, “spaz” is an apt description … it was only a thought.

        Toronto needs scoring and forward depth, which we have. Brule could easily be a 20 goal scorer who brings the grit that Burke covets. Cogliano is another former 20 goal scorer with the potential to repeat (because of his youth) who has long been connected to Toronto because of their failure to draft him. Schenn has been rumoured to be available, though not actively shopped, and Toronto has an abundance of defenceman.

        Two young 20 goal scoring forwards for a young, physical, shut-down type defenceman and a throw in should make sense, but please explain to me why it doesn’t.

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          early results are in, here is a sampling so far:

          Absolutely not.

          I would say no. Schenn to us is like MPS to you. Though I would probably do Grabo mid prospect for Brule and Cogliano

          • DougWeightProblem


            Though I reserve the right to laugh at outrageous Leaf fans who still think they can get a first round pick for Mat Sundin’s sweaty old jersey.

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            ok, im getting hammered on it now.

            Schenn is pretty highly thought of around here. No player is untouchable but he is close.
            If he was traded with out a young player with first line talent coming back there could be a riot in Toronto.

            Lol I wouldn’t trade Grabovski for those two.

            Sorry man, I respect you being polite, but Schenn would need to be going elsewhere for what we need most which is a Top 3 forward

          • DougWeightProblem

            OK, OK …

            Maybe I’m just as jaded as the Leafs fans I laugh at. Or maybe there’s just so much bias between their fans and me that such a “slight bridge” could not be crossed.

            But one more question(s) … is Hemsky a first line player? If so, could he be packaged for Schenn? Hypothetically, could Cogliano and Brule be packaged for Hemsky? Ipso, facto?

            Regardless, Schenn is something the Oilers need and scoring forwards is something Toronto needs. Maybe we can both agree there could be a fit SOMEWHERE in there?

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            i agree that there will be bias on both sides. one would, however, assume that if the proposal was anywhere close to fair, at least 1 person would say something along the lines of “add a pick and i could see it” or something to that effect.

            perhaps only the crabby leaf fans are out, and it is a relatively small sample size to go from. only about 20 replies thus far.

            problem is, all 20 have been, shall we say, negative

          • Chris.

            You’re average Leaf’s fan thinks that trading 1 year of Kaberle will fetch them a quality young top six forward… They drink even more Kool-Aid out east than Oiler fans.

      • Gregors dirty 'stash

        Hey Gregor any chance oftrading brule even if it is for a late rounder in next years draft (at least we would get something)

        As well as do you think Nillson will get picked up eventually? Or is he a complete lost cause?

        • Jason Gregor

          Sure they could move him, but I’m not sure why everyone is in a rush to deal Brule, even if he gets 2$ million/season. That isn’t outrageous money for him in my mind.

          Nilsson might go to Europe. He’d get more money over there and if he has a good season he’d be more attractive to NHL teams.

          I don’t think he is a lost cause just yet, but he is teetering on the brink of becoming another “15th overall pick” bust…

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Do we keep Brule if he’s awarded $2 million per year or more?? I say they walk away. There’s really no place for him in the top 6, and he’s not really what Tambo is looking for in a bottom six guy. Plus couldn’t we just sign Comrie for half that? They’re similar players do a degree, and we at least know Comrie wants to be an Oiler.

    • Jason Gregor

      Why walk away if it is only a one-year deal? Brule was 2nd on team in goals. I don’t think $2 million is a gross overpayment at all. He is one of the few forwards in the top nine who plays with an edge.

      I like Comrie, but Brule is much younger and has more upside.

      • Ball Buster

        Everybody here seems to like Brule more than me…fair enough. I just don’t know if Tambo wants to pay a 3rd liner $2M+. He seems more suited to be a 2nd liner, which I suppose is a possibility if the rookies start the year in the AHL.
        However, I would definately hesitate on giving him a multi-year deal if a one year deal were possible.

      • Lofty

        To me Brule should be a part of the rebuild just as MPS or Eberle is. He’s young, has experience and is realizing his potential after a nightmare in Columbus. He should get and deserves 1.5-2 million.

        He is the perfect 2nd or 3rd line player. He plays physical and can score when he’s put on a line with skilled players. He can fill injury holes on the top line or grind on the 3rd.