Sam Gagner’s contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets is right on the money reports the Columbus Post Dispatch’s Michael Arace. Gagner, Arace writes, is a player with a perception who does not live up to his given abilities. He also says it’s not entirely fair. Coming in at cap friendly one-year, $650K deal, Arace notes that it’s a chance for Gagner to prove who he really is as a hockey player at a very low cost. Gagner believes that his “best hockey is ahead of him,” and at the price of $650K, Arace writes that the deal is “one of the best deals (Blue Jackets general manager) Jarmo Kekalainen has made.” Further, Arace indicates that Gagner worked his way back from a demotion and hung on to play meaningful playoff hockey for the Flyers. The low risk, high reward for Gagner seems to serve a purpose for both the Jackets and Gagner.
In other NHL news:
- Scores of hockey reporters, and analysts paid their respects to the late John Saunders, who passed away earlier today at the age of 61. Saunders was known as one of the most down to earth professionals in the business of sports. Mike Tirico gave a long tribute to his former colleague while Scott Van Pelt tweeted a very heartfelt, and emotional response to the shocking news. Linda Cohn, a longtime ESPN anchor, and hardcore hockey fan, called Saunders “a friend” while Steve Levy tweeted that Saunders was “the most generous, charitable, caring person I knew.” Finally, ESPN included a long tribute to Saunders’ work and personality.
- Sean McIndoe includes a very interesting piece on the history of arbitration in the NHL. While cases went to arbitration this season, none were solved by an arbitrator, instead being concluded by contract extensions between the team and player. McIndoe writes about the infamous ruling–back in the “older days” of the NHL, that involved Scott Stevens and Brendan Shanahan. McIndoe explains the previous RFA rules, where if restricted free agents were targeted, both teams would offer what they felt was proper compensation for the targeted RFA–in the way of players. As history would have it, the Devils requested then Blues captain Scott Stevens, who at the time, was already considered a premier NHL defenseman. Of course, it was granted by the arbitrator, and all hell broke loose. McIndoe goes on to tell some other great stories that include hall of fame bound Eric Lindros.