2010 NHL Free Agency: Blue Jackets, Anton Stralman agree on 'last minute' deal

Thumbnail image for antonstralman.jpgWe’ve discussed a handful of deals that were made in the “last minute” before salary arbitration, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports that the Blue Jackets and Anton Stralman’s contract might have taken that seriously. Apparently the two sides met an hour before the 9 a.m. deadline and agreed on a one-year, $1.9 million deal just a few minutes before the hearing was about to begin.

As we’ve noted before, salary arbitration often hurts both sides: one party might “win” more than the other but bitterness can be developed, especially if the team really turns the screws on its player. It’s almost like going to divorce court with your seemingly happy spouse.

There were some worries that an unpleasant arbitration award would force the Blue Jackets to allow Stralman to walk – and therefore mess up their already shaky powerplay point situation – so Columbus can breathe a sigh of relief. Instead, the team signed Stralman to a low-risk one-year deal that will give him the opportunity to improve his market value for next summer.

Somewhat amazingly, Stralman will only be the fifth-highest paid defenseman in Columbus. He’s behind red afro enthusiast Mike Commodore ($3.75 million per year), Rostislav “Rusty” Klesla ($2.975), Fedor Tyutin ($2.84) and Jan Hejda ($2).

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson says that he “likes his group” of seven defensemen but is exploring trade options to improve the talent level. Let’s hope so, because to be honest, the Blue Jackets’ roster looks pretty thin when you compare it to the other teams in the Central division. That being said, things would be just a bit less positive without Stralman in the mix, so good on both parties for getting a deal done.

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    Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

    The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

    The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

    The NHLPA released a similar statement.

    It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

    We’re starting to find out some details now:

    How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

    Stay tuned.

    Report: Ex-NHLer Aaron Ward arrested for ‘assault on a female’ (Updated)

    Brad May, Kevin Hodson, Jiri Fischer, Aaron Ward

    Aaron Ward, a 16-year NHL veteran that appeared in over 800 career games, has been arrested for “assault on a female,” per WNCN.

    Ward was arrested on Friday in Cary, North Carolina and also charged with interfering with emergency communication, according to the report.

    Currently working as an analyst for TSN, Ward spent five years of his career in Carolina, helping the ‘Canes capture the Stanley Cup in 2006.

    Update: Per WRAL, Ward’s wife called 9-1-1 after the two had a confrontation around 1 p.m. ET. Police confirmed Ward was arrested at his home in Cary.

    According to the warrant for his arrest, he took away his wife’s phone.

    Because of the nature of his charges, Ward will spend a mandatory 48 hours in the Wake County jail. Anyone arrested on a domestic violence charge is held for 48 hours before bail is set.

    And here’s a statement from TSN: