While we don’t know what number GM Craig MacTavish and agent Wade Arnott will settle on – speculation has been Arnott wanted something north of $4 million a season when negotiations began, while a big chunk of the Oiler fan base believes anything that doesn’t start with a “2” is an overpay – indications today are the sides are close to a deal.
Reading between lines tweeted by Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer and Regan Bartel, the voice of the WHL Rockets in Kelowna, where Schultz and other pros have been skating (and where MacTavish has an off-season home), I’d suggest a deal is imminent and could be done as early as Friday – even if we don’t get an announcement until after the long weekend.
No matter where you come down on what Schultz, a 24-year-old with top-pairing offensive skills and take-a-seat-kid holes in his defensive game, on what will likely be a one-year deal, having him signed, sealed and delivered with weeks to spare before training camp opens is good news.
Bartel, a veteran WHL broadcaster who was in the running for the radio play-by-play job with the Oilers that went to Jack Michaels after Rod Phillips retired, passed along the following on Twitter Thursday:
Earlier in the day, Stauffer kicked things off with the following:
THE BOTTOM LINE
As negotiations have gone on, debate about what Schultz is worth has run the gamut from using P.K. Subban as a comparable to an insistence by many the Oilers should take advantage of the leverage they have in dealing with a RFA who got a sweet deal from Edmonton as a UFA (I’m in that camp).
Play hardball. “We’ll pay you $2.75 million this season. Prove you’re worth more and we’ll talk next summer.” I’m fine with that. Of course, what I think should happen and what I think will happen are distinctly different. Schultz made $925,000 in salary last season. Bonuses bumped that to $3.775 million. I can see why he wouldn’t like the sound of $2.75 million.
I think $2.75 million sounds about right. That said, the Oilers have a history of overpaying and I don’t expect that to change with Arnott and Schultz. I said today on the Jason Gregor Show I think the Oilers will come in at $3.3 million. Gregor came in at $3.25 million. What’s your number?
Like I said off the top, given what Stauffer and Bartel Tweeted and what my gut tells me, my sense is we’ll find out in very short order. The Oilers likely won’t squeeze as much as they could (or should), but there is something to be said – a lot, actually – for having the ink done rather than seeing Schultz miss even a day of training camp.
WHILE I’M AT IT
. . . Drew Remenda, who’ll take over from Louie DeBrusk as the analyst alongside Kevin Quinn for Oiler broadcasts on Sportsnet, will grow on you. He knows his stuff. He’s substance over style, and that works for me.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.