2010 NHL Free Agency: Oilers, Gilbert Brule avoid arbitration, agree to two-year pact

smidhugsbrule.jpgThe Edmonton Oilers and forward Gilbert Brule were the latest parties to avoid salary arbitration, as the two sides agreed to a two-year deal worth $3.7 million (or $1.85 million per year) according to TSN.

“Gilbert made a big step last year in his development,” said Oilers’ general manager Steve Tambellini. “We are excited to have him here in Edmonton and look forward to his continued contribution to the team.”

Brule enjoyed the best season of his young NHL career, scoring 17 goals and adding 20 assists in 65 games. In 222 career games Brule has 31 goals and 41 assists while splitting time between the Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets.

While arbitration cases can provide some zest and drama to lackadaisical summer proceedings, it’s usually better to see two sides come to an agreement.

This is a particularly fortuitous case for both sides, I’d say.

As a former number six pick (by Columbus in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft), Brule has been a mild disappointment so far so he might have ended up hearing some things he wouldn’t like in the point/counter-point. The fact that he’s been a positive force in the community makes his continued involvement with the Oilers a big plus.

It’s a good thing for Edmonton, too. Some perfectly reasonable comparisons indicated that Brule might have been primed for a $2.4 million-type reward. Of course, if the Oilers followed the Atlanta Thrashers’ track of letting Clarke MacArthur walk, it would have been bad for both sides.

So, in the end, Brule gains a little continuity and security while the Oilers save some money. It seems like everyone wins, even if neither side won “big.”

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    Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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    Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

    The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

    Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

    CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

    The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

    Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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    Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

    OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

    It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

    This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

    One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

    Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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    Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

    At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

    “I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

    As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

    Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

    The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

    Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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    Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

    That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

    Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

    (Not as unlikely, but still.)