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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    Coyotes consider Mike Smith (lower body) week-to-week

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    The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.

    While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’ve both at least fairly experienced netminders.

    (Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)

    Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.

    As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.

    Report: Rangers expect Dan Girardi back on Sunday

    PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13:  Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers in action in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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    The New York Rangers will have defenseman Dan Girardi back in the lineup against the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday, according to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen.

    If that holds true, Rosen reports that Girardi will replace Adam Clendening in the Rangers lineup.

    The Rangers are 3-2-0 to start the season without Girardi, including a nice 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

    For plenty of Rangers fans, this is great news, especially since New York could probably use some fresh legs on a back-to-back. He hasn’t played so far this season thanks to a groin injury.

    More than a few people wonder if the former All-Star is actually a hindrance to his team, however, so expect some jokes here and there.

    These two tweets from earlier this season do a decent job of summarizing the dichotomy:

    /Awkward laugh

    Panthers’ Harper made a childhood dream come true last night

    SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 22: Shane Harper #38 celebrates his third period goal with Gregg McKegg #41 of the Florida Panthers against the Colorado Avalanche at the BB&T Center on October 22, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Avalanche 5-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

    “Who is Shane Harper?”

    Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.

    Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.

    You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:

    Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.

    So, who is Shane Harper?

    For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.

    His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.

    You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone:

    He was modest there, but acknowledged that even playing in the NHL was a dream come true, so scoring a goal must have been even better.

    Ruff: Stars were ‘flat as flat could be’ vs. Blue Jackets

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    On paper, you’d think even a wounded Dallas Stars team would handle its business against a tired Columbus Blue Jackets squad at home.

    Instead, the Stars didn’t have much to show for their efforts on Saturday night beyond Jamie Benn fighting Brandon Dubinsky. They lost 3-0 and left their head coach shaking his head.

    “That was as flat as flat could be,” Lindy Ruff said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “There’s no disguising it. For me there’s some concern because that’s really two games in a row where we were outskated …”

    Ruff added that “there was no emotion inside that game.”


    After falling to 2-2-1 on this young season, Ruff admits that he has concerns about the Stars’ “whole defense right now.”

    While it’s true that the Stars fired 32 (unsuccessful) shots on Sergei Bobrovsky, this Natural Stat Trick graph illustrates Ruff’s case that his team didn’t play well.


    Yeah, that makes a pretty compelling argument that Ruff saw the truth out there. John Tortorella concurred, opining that the Blue Jackets were in a total control.

    While the Stars are picking up the pieces, the Blue Jackets beat the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday and Dallas on Saturday. Those teams are off to tough starts, but that’s still an impressive haul for an embattled Blue Jackets group.

    Considering the sour feeling for Dallas and the renewed spirits for Columbus, it’s remarkable what a difference two losses or wins can make.

    But, hey Stars fans, a Benn fight at least gives us an excuse to recall this great photo of his bout with Joe Thornton:

    via Getty