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.”

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.