directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Arbitration

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Fifteen NHLers have filed for arbitration according to TSN. Whats surprising is that there were no Columbus Blue Jackets on that list. Especially when the following was reported in the Dispatch just a day ago:

Howson and agent Mike Liut are working on a contract for restricted free agent center R.J. Umberger. Expect Umberger to file for arbitration Saturday to ensure that a deal gets done before training camp, but neither side expects it to get to arbitration.

This tells me one thing is that Umberger is done or real close to done.

I also think Leclaire is arbitration eligible so considering he didn't file means that he's got to be real close as well.

Regardless the good news is that since neither play has filed it shows that both players are fully intent on signing multi-year deals and want to stay with the organization long term. The bad news is that filing for arbitration protects players and teams from offer sheets -- until both Leclaire and Umberger are done they are still fair game for other teams.

Speaking of offer sheets. I'm one fan who is glad Howson was able to avoid them. He was able to sign key guys and make trades with expendable assets to fill holes. In the process he retained this year's #6 overall, his 2nd rounder and all of next years picks. In retaining those picks Howson has displayed that when its all said and done you compliment your lineup through trades and free agency but build long lasting winners through the draft and you must keep the pipeline fully stocked.

The Dispatch has some more great coverage today. They have a nice spread on the depth the Jackets have built up over the past couple weeks.

I really like what's Howson's done in terms of building defensive depth since he's taken over.

In: Hejda, Commodore, Tyutin, Backman, Sigalet, Rome, Wilson, Holden, Weber, Ruth, Goloubef, Delisle, Olson, Regner,

Out: Foote, Hainsey, Westcott, Wright, Frechette

In/Out: Tarnstrom

Including draft picks Howson has brought in 15 new faces defensively while only losing 6 (I included Tarnstrom in both). Clearly he identified an organizational weakness and attacked it aggressively.

Good read here about Versus and the next steps that network hopes to take to grow their channel.

But after licking its wounds, Versus is plotting its second act, which revolves around setting up the framework of a network that it hopes will feature one or more of the sports it missed out on the first time around. One of the first steps is developing a series of signature studio shows, and the network has three in the works.

Versus also wants to continue to amass smaller sports properties. Execs recently met with IndyCar, the open-wheel auto racing outfit currently airing on ESPN. They also want to build up their stable of college football, and will launch a new halftime show this year.

In addition to sports properties, Versus continues to look at ancillary programming. The network is expected to acquire the rights to The Contender boxing series, which has been aired and jettisoned by both NBC and ESPN, and may begin running it this fall.

But everything is being done with a glance three to five years down the road, when major sports properties will begin to come up for bidding. And while Versus execs say the network is in the black now, they are also willing to blow up the business model to make a big swing.

The signature shows sound promising. You'd have to think one of them is will be some kind of sports highlight shows -- even better would be one dedicated to hockey!

Slowly but surely Versus seems to be making steps. If they can land another major sports property look out. I personally love their coverage of the NHL and don't miss the snide remarks by the ego-maniacs over at the ESPNquirer.

No new news yet on the Michael Peca situation of the Jackets are still pursuing him. Hopefully we'll hear more about that next week. The more I think about him and his role the more I hope we can sign him.



Max said...

Have you already forgotten David Vyborny?!

Good news about arbitration. And good news we didn't give out offer sheets. Too much to give.

Rick said...

I really hope that Versus keeps going in the right direction with hockey. Their coverage far out-weighed anything found on ESPN or NBC. FSN is still the first choice for CBJ hockey by a very wide margin!

By the way, I still stand by all of my Peca posts. I think more people will come to see the value in him as time goes on. Not to mention getting him signed!

LTL, I knew you'd see it my way with Peca...just kidding!!!