Friday, July 27, 2007

Edmonton Strikes Again and Arbitration News (Updated 7/27 at 11:48 PM)

Edmonton and Anaheim
For the second time this off-season, the Oilers have tendered an offer sheet to a restricted free agent. Last night, their target was Dustin Penner of the Anaheim Ducks. The offer wasn't quite as large as their sheet for Vanek (7-years at $50 million), but it's still pretty large at $21.25 million over 5 years. If the Ducks choose not to match the deal then the Oilers must give the Ducks a first, second and third round draft pick.

In his first full NHL season, 24-year-old Penner put up 45 points including 29 goals in 82 games. This offer puts Anaheim in a tough position. Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer have done the team a great disservice by not making their decision regarding retirement by now. If Nieds does decide to come back and the Ducks match the Oilers offer, then the Ducks would be over the cap and would need to get back under it before the start of the season. If the Ducks do match the deal, however, it all but guarantees that either Niedermayer or Selanne will NOT be playing for them this season. Also, by matching this deal the Ducks put themselves in a tough position next summer when it comes time to re-sign Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who are certainly worth more than Penner and will demand as much in response.

Frankly, the Oilers are getting desperate and taking wild stabs at players. Penner, though talented, is inconsistent at best. While his size makes him an asset, and even dominant when he's on, Edmonton is taking a big chance trying to sign him for that much money since he'll have a lot of developing to do in order to justify that contract. Burke, Anaheim's GM, was put in a tough position by two of his star players and dug an even deeper hole by over-paying for Bertuzzi. With that in mind, I can't see him matching the offer for Penner. Instead, he should take the draft picks and go give Bertuzzi's problematic back a good rub, he'll need it stay injury free so Big Bert can play as their main power-forward.

Blues Avoid Arbitration

The St Louis Blues avoided arbitration with one of their best young players by re-signing 24-year old Lee Stempniak to a 3-year deal worth $7.5 million. In his second NHL season, Stempniak scored 27 goals and added 25 assists and should be on the Blues' top scorers next season.

Buffalo Still Trying to Do the Same

The Buffalo Sabres' woes continue as they head to arbitration today with Derek Roy. Roy scored 63 points in 75 games with an impressive +37 plus/minus rating. While Roy is small at only 5-9, he's one of the fastest players on the team, a very good defender, plays on both special teams, and is a big part of their offense. Roy is in position to receive a substantial raise over his $627,000 earned last season likely using Nathan Horton's contract and Dustin Penner's offer sheet as leverage. The Panthers re-signed Nathan Horton to a $24 million dollar deal for 6 years after he scored 62 points in 2006. Frankly, he's better than both of those players simply because of his speed and ability to play on both sides of the ice. However, expect Buffalo to announce a significant deal with him prior to arbitration beginning this morning. If not, I'm guessing the arbitrator will award Roy a deal worth around $4.5 million for next season.


As predicted, the Buffalo Sabres have avoided arbitration with Derek Roy by signing him to a 6 year deal worth $24 million.

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