Author: NBC Sports

Jason Arnott says he expected to be traded

Arnott2.jpgI highly doubt the Nashville Predators trading away Jason Arnott was a
big surprise to some, although him being dealt back to New Jersey
certainly caught most of us off guard.

Lost in all of the furor
over the trade yesterday was the fact that Arnott did have a no-trade
clause in his contract and needed to agree to be traded before Nashville
could deal him. It turns out it wasn’t that tough of a decision, as
Arnott says that he and the team came to a mutual decision that the
Predators needed to get younger and he wasn’t a part of those future

Mike Organ of the Tennessean:

“They kind of
explained what the situation was and it just didn’t seem
like I was in their (plans) for long term,” Arnott said. “So I decided
I’d rather move my family now and we both kind of came to the agreement
that it was time for the young guys to step in and do their thing, and
for me to move on. So it was kind of a mutual thing.”

David Poile says that while this was certainly a bold move it wasn’t
necessarily a temporary step back as the team looks to “rebuild”. The
team also has not had discussions about which player will replace Arnott
as team captain, although many expect for Shea Weber to have the “C” on
his chest next season.

For Arnott, hopefully this is a chance for
him to enjoy one last good season as he returns to New Jersey. His
leadership was constantly called into question over the past year in
Nashville, as it seemed that he wore the “C” for no other reason than he
was basically the only option, aside from perhaps Dan Hamhuis. With
Barry Trotz calling out Arnott at times at the end of the season, it
certainly seemed his time on the team was limited.

This is a great
move all around for both Arnott and the Predators, as the team looks to
move in a new direction this summer. With the trades sending Hamhuis
and Arnott to other teams, the Predators are in position to make major
changes this offseason.

Then again, in this interview, Poile says he doesn’t anticipate many more changes for the Predators. So perhaps this is just the Predators making moves to alter the direction of the team by moving on without Arnott and Hamhuis.

An increase in the NHL salary cap far from a sure thing

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Fehr.jpgWith all of this talk about teams making trades for salary cap
purposes and the hand wringing that is taking place over a team’s salary
situation, it’s important to note a few things.

First, we get all
over our salary information from, what I feel is the best
source for cap information that can be found on the web. Secondly, all
of this talk about just how far under — or over — a team is relative
to the salary is using the same cap that was in place last season: $56.8

That’s not going to be the same next season. Since we
don’t know exactly what the change will be we can only go by what the
cap currently is. So what will the change be?

The first option is
for the cap to be raised yet again — this time to $58.8 million. That
may not sound like that much, but that extra $2 million is a big deal
for many teams, and could be the difference between a league-minimum
entry-level player and a significant upgrade via free agency.

other option is more dire: the cap would actually drop by $200,000,
leaving a number of teams in a lurch. You would think that the cap going
up would be the ideal situation for all involved and especially the
players — not so, says
James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail.

Mirtle paints an
interesting picture as the NHL Players Association gets set to meet in
Chicago on Monday, as the players must vote on whether to raise the cap
without a formal director in place. Donald Fehr will be in attendance,
and there are many who think he’s the right man for the job, but some
say he may decide not to take the position if he sees another bout of
in-fighting within the union.

Says one agent, per James Mirtle:

either going to take the position that he’s going to evaluate what
the players decide and that will affect in turn his decision, or he
will urge the players to take the [cap] escalator, extend the
[collective agreement] and then if they don’t go along with that vote,
he knows where he stands and he’ll check out,” said one agent who asked
to remain unidentified.

There’s no doubt that the NHLPA needs a strong
leader, and despite fears that Fehr taking the job would lead to another
lockout he’s experienced when it comes to helping rebuild a player’s
association — and the NHLPA is a mess.

So why would the players
not want to approve the spike in the salary cap? The issue, says Mirtle,
is escrow payments.

If the cap is raised and most teams spend to
that limit, then it’s likely that once again the NHL would outspend
revenues and the players will see another big chunk of change withheld
from their paychecks. If this is the overwhelming fear, then the players
will vote against the cap increase and teams will be forced to dump
salary and not spend as much in free agency.

This is where the
in-fighting comes in and where a director is most needed: the escrow
payments are effecting the players that already have long, expensive
contracts while the drop in the salary cap will seriously impact pending
free agents in a very negative way. Having a director like Fehr in
place would head off these issues at the pass and give the NHLPA the
stabilizing factor it so desperately needs; unfortunately he hasn’t
decided if he wants the job just yet.

Ultimately, it’s in the best interested of the NHLPA to vote for
the increase and extend the CBA, and it’s the consensus among the agents
that this is what is best for the players. Every season another round
of players become free agents and every year another group of players
benefits from the cap increase. Either the players can decide to be
greedy now, or decide on what is best for the NHLPA in the long run.

Flyers aim to sign Hamhuis before the NHL draft

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Panaccio of
is reporting that negotiations between
the Flyers and Dan Hamhuis’ agent will start right away on Monday with
the intention of getting a contract worked out in time for next week’s
NHL draft. Says agent Wade Arnott:

“We had some
discussion, albeit in its infancy stage,” Arnott told “We decided to round up on Monday and go from there.”

said “anything is possible” regarding whether a deal could be in place
before the draft ended next weekend.

There was some
speculation a few months ago when the Flyers originally tried to acquire
Hamhuis that the defensemen didn’t want the pressure of playing in
Philadelphia; his agent says that isn’t true and that Hamhuis is just
looking for the best fit for him. With the amount of talent that the
Flyers have acquired on the blue line and the emphasis they put on
defense, you have to believe that Philadelphia would indeed make sense
for Hamhuis.

Hamhuis today after the trade:

“I think Philly
has an unbelievable defense corps,” said Hamhuis. “To
join a corps like that makes the Flyers one of the tougher ones in the
league. To play against the teams from the East, the conference has a
lot of great forwards. Watching the playoffs, having a great defense
will get you a long way.”

Perhaps seeing the Flyers
in the playoffs, they way the team and the players carried themselves
through so much adversity bolstered his belief in the team and changed
his mind about Philadelphia being a place he wished to play.

Flyers will have to make some moves in order to have enough space under
the salary cap in order to pay Hamhuis, although you wonder in what
order Philly will be making those moves. Will they sign Hamhuis first
then be forced to move salary? Either way the Flyers will not have the
upper hand in negotiations as teams know that the Flyers need to dump