*Twitter commenter Asif Quraishi broke the news, which was subsequently confirmed by 630 CHED host Milhouse, that Devan Dubnyk has re-signed with the Oilers for two years and $1.6MM. Tencer dug up some further news on the signing and reported that it’s a one way deal. It’s another nail in JDD’s coffin.
*Unless the Oilers are willing to grossly overpay on the AHL half of a two way deal, I would think that JDD’s arbitration hearing has to go ahead. This might be his only chance to ensure that his coffin is stuffed with US currency if and when Khabibulin shoves it up the backsides of his critics and manages to avoid having his contract terminated. I would guess that the Oilers see JDD as purely insurance right now, protecting them from the possibility that Khabibulin is unavailable. Once Khabibulin has the legal and medical all clear, JDD will go to the minors, never to be seen again in Oiler silks after his contract expires.
*The concept of JFJ’s arbitration hearing is hilarious. He presumably wants the same thing as JDD – a one way deal – but there’s something that feels off in a guy having the year he did (and the career that he’s had) and then going to arbitration.
*As long as the Oilers are following the Chicago model, it behooves me to get on one of my favourite hobbyhorses: not burning years of entry level contracts on teenagers. In 2006, Jonathan Toews did the Blackhawks a real favour when he decided not to leave UND and enter the NHL immediately following the draft. In the short term, Chicago sucked for another year and added Patrick Kane to their stable of talent. In the long term, it permitted the Hawks to put together the team that won the Stanley Cup this year. Toews’ cap hit this year was $2.8MM but $1.95MM of that was bonuses; the Hawks were permitted to be over the salary cap by that amount. Chicago signed Toews to a $6.3MM contract which kicks in for the 2010-11 season; effectively, his cap hit is $5.45MM higher next year.
That’s a rather large difference. It’s easy to point to mistakes on the Hawks’ roster but everyone makes mistakes. Tambellini will make mistakes even if the rebuild goes well. Chicago’s delaying of Toews for a year put them in a position to have a stronger team this year, at the cost of very, very little in 2006-07. There’s not a ghost of a chance that Hall isn’t an Oiler when the puck drops in October but it’s an avoidable mistake that the Oilers are going to make. Hall’s a fine prospect but I’m not sure that he’s in Toews’ league as a prospect; there would be no harm in him returning to junior or going and playing for the Golden Bears for a year or something. Edmonton would be better for it in the long run.
*Finally, I was intrigued by something Robin Brownlee wrote at OilersNation in regard to Mike Comrie’s future. Brownlee says that “…San Jose, Chicago and Vancouver, to name just three teams, are interested in Comrie.” Tambellini is suspected not to be much of a fan, which is why Comrie hasn’t signed any sort of a deal with Edmonton.
I don’t understand why a fourth line of three Comries would be such a bad thing. The NHL has a fetish for size at the bottom of the roster that I simply do not understand. You look at the fourth line that the Oilers have run out the past few years or that many other NHL teams have run out and they simply do not contain good hockey players. Sizeable guys on your fourth line can’t do anything to help players on your first line – either those players can play or they can’t. If they can be contained by big guys, having size elsewhere in your lineup isn’t going to do anything.
The interest of the Sharks, Canucks and Hawks is presumably driven in large part by the fact that they need cheap fourth line solutions. Fashionable solutions to the fourth line aren’t within their payroll because they’re paying top end talent top end dollars. The Hawks in particular are in a bit of a pinch, both because they have serious salary cap problems and because they were dependent on having a strong fourth line in the past.
Comrie has played well in a third line ES role before with a good team – that’s basically the role he filled in Ottawa when the Senators went to the finals. He’s not good enough to play on the top two lines on an elite team but at even strength, turned loose against fourth lines, I’d think he could be a real threat if playing with some guys like him. If the CBA forces teams to try guys like Comrie in a fourth line role, I think it will be good for the game as a whole – they’re better than the Zack Stortinis of the world.