directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Umberger close... Leclaire on-going..

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Friday, July 4, 2008

Umberger close... Leclaire on-going..

Some juicy nuggets in the Dispatch this morning regarding the Umberger and Leclaire negotiations:

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. A deal could be done by next week. … Goaltender Pascal Leclaire, also a restricted free agent, is likely to get a three-year contract, NHL sources say. Talks between Howson and Meehan, who's also Leclaire's agent, have been on hold the past few days during a rush for unrestricted free agents.

Sounds like the framework for Umberger is in place for the most part. My guess is a 3 year deal at 10.5 million. As they mention if arbitration gets filed its just for fall back purposes in case things fall apart.

If I'm RJ I get it done. He's going to get the opportunity of his career here to play 1st line minutes. Granted he's not a 1st line center now but he's the best we've got and he'll be playing with some very competent wingers in Nash/Huselius/Modin/Torres. He's got to feel pretty good about his role.

Leclaire sounds a little further away. 3 years sounds about right for him in term though. That gives Mason plenty of time to develop and should he challenge for the #1 a few years from the Jackets will have a great trade asset on their hands. If he doesn't then the Jackets re-sign him. Hopefully this isn't one of those deals that drags on.

The Dispatch may have jumped the gun a bit on Peca they hinted that a deal could be closed last night in their blog.

They did have some more quotes this morning from Peca:

"I'd like at least a two-year deal," Peca said. "I'd like to grow and be a part of something, not just a short-term piece."

"I didn't mean it as an ultimatum," Peca said. "I just wanted to know if there was a true desire to get some significant turnover, to get it going in the right direction.

"Scott has done all of that and more this summer, in my opinion. He's done some things that really make sense, and he made some very difficult decisions."

I can't really blame him. I think a lot of season ticket holders are/were holding out for the same thing. The question now becomes would Howson be willing to go 2 years for Peca? He could probably find another servicable 3rd line guy for less. You've got guys like Smolinksi, Barns, Reasoner, Rucchin & Brylin out there.

Depending on the cost I would consider it. Mostly because he's a guy that knows the team, system and the city now. Can probably give you between 30-40 points in a checking role and he's a leader Nash can lean on. Injuries are an on-going concern with him.

New faces and new numbers. I've got two blank jerseys that need names and numbers which got me thinking -- what will the new numbers be for our players?

Umberger and Huselius both wear 20.

Tyutin is 51 but so is Murray.

Backman is 55 but so is Tollefsen.

The only guy who shouldn't have a conflict is Commodore with 44 -- remember Rusty changed to 97 a couple years back.

Looks like we need some good ole fashioned arm wrestling going to get this thing settled. They need to soon because I think I have Tyutin on one of em in my future. I've got a great feeling about this guy and I have a special place for good all around defensemen who can play a physical game.

Don't miss Bob Hunter's column this morning. Another great day of CBJ coverage from the local rag. Counting back to Sunday there have been a total of 30 pieces written and published in the Dispatch about the Jackets. That's 5 per day folks. I challenge you to find many American cities that rival that kind of coverage.
Now the local news on the other hand...

Couple of big moves already today. Boyle waives his NTC and heads to San Jose with Lukowich for Carle, Wishart, 1st and 4th. San Jose loses out on Cambell and for 20+ games and two rounds of playoffs they gave up a 1st and Bernier - the gamble of rentals. With Boyle they give up another 1st, a young puck moving d-man in Carle who is signed for 4 more years and a later round pick and fomer first round pick in Wishart. In return they get their puck-moving 31 year old d-man that is locked up for 6 more seasons at 6.67 mil cap hit. Lukowich is a throw in.
Tampa has certainly blown things up themselves. They have to have more in mind for defense.

It also appears Jaromir Jagr's career in the NHL has finished. Reports say that he's accepted an offer to play in Russia for Avangard Amsk of the new "continental league". Terms have not yet been disclosed. So Jagr becomes the first big NHL import in that league which is sure to be a big money contract.

The question becomes will more NHLers follow? I think for now we'll the vast majority of stars stay in the NHL as more fringe types and Euros will take the big tax free money instead of playing in the minors in North America. Here is something to consider though -- if the NHL goes through yet another lockout that continental league could be a nice hammer for the NHLPA to use in negotiations.



Todd G said...

Commodore should wear 64.

Rick said...

"Todd G said...
Commodore should wear 64." That's an old-school joke i'm not sure the younger generation would get, but I like it.

My thoughts on Peca being re-signed:
Win/Loss with Peca playing: 27/38
Win/Loss when not playing: 7/10

With 34 pts. in 65 games played, he scored at least one point on average every 1.9 games that he played in.

Not jump in your face stats, I know. But I think you have to consider the intangibles (Leadership, Experience, etc.) that he brings to the team. A two year deal wouldn't be outrageous by any stretch when you put all of that together. He sees where the team is headed at this point and I think he genuinely wants to be a part of it. He makes a pretty good 3rd line center, and I think he's happy in that position.

Anyway, just weighing in with my two cents...

LTL, keep up the great work!

LTL said...

"Commodore 64" -- hahaha.. love it!!

Nice post Rick.....agree 100%.


Sean said...

Look, I was really excited about Peca being signed because I used to love to watch Hasek when he was with the Sabres and I was still in Junior High. At the time, Hasek was my favorite goalie and I've always associated Peca with those times. Plus, he brings a whole lot of stuff to the plate for the jackets. Not to mention he's the ONLY player on the roster who isn't a giant! I hope that Peca will sign a two-year contract for more each year than what he probably wants, which is a three-year deal for less money.

And since I've dated myself by talking about Peca and the Sabres, I DID get the C-64 joke! First computer my family had. I used to play Bubble Bobble, G.I. Joe and some Formula One racing game on it back in the late 80s. I'm pretty sure the Space Shuttle is still being run by the equivalent of a Commodore 64.

Anonymous said...

Might be some deals like they do in baseball for 10 grand or so to wear that number..... i think the highest I saw was around 150k to change one's number


markislander said...

I would like to see peca come back,if we can make that one more step to the playoffs he would help alot with his expereince.I think our team is looking good with these acquisitions, lets hope that everyone can stay healthy this year.I would like to see peca come to long island but we all ready have to many old guys.

JF said...

Not sure how they can sign Peca if they're still in the hunt for a forward and have yet to sign Leclaire (which worries me). Surely Peca can get more money and offers this off season than last now that he's shown his leg is ok. Likeable player, but not sure he fits in financially or based on need.

I applaud the Dispatch, but think they should TRADE HUNTER. Hunter is a pot-stirrer. Let Arace be the "hockey columnist" and Portzline/Reed be the beat reporters.

Matt said...

I want Peca back, honestly, because even if there are other third liners out there, they aren't third liners who have already played here under Hitch, and they aren't third liners who we know Nash can (and probably has) talk to for advice on being a Captain, especially when things get rough.

Plus, he -was- probably our #1 faceoff guy last year, and even if he won't be getting as many minutes with the addition of Umberger and the rise of Brassard or Filatov, I think he's valuable for those "Must Win" situations, or to hopefully teach a bit of his faceoff dot magic to the others during the year. :D

Besides, I can't honestly see him asking above 1.5-2 million a year, perhaps with some bonuses for the playoffs and perfomance in there, and we've paid that before for other players who had far less to contribute. No reason to get tight on the purse strings now.