Oshie to File for Arbitration
Sources close to Blues forward T.J. Oshie tell me he will file for arbitration before today’s 5:00 eastern deadline.
This is often nothing more than simple protocol to protect a player’s rights. Oshie, who tied Captain David Backes for the team lead in scoring, enjoyed career highs last season in goals, assists, points, penalty minutes, and games played. His 19:31 minutes per game were second among Blues forwards while leading the way with 1:48 per game shorthanded. He also averaged over 2:00 per game on the power play.
Considering Oshie’s versatility it’s hard to put a number on his actual value. He does much more than what you find on the scoresheet and head Coach Ken Hitchcock has referred to him as one of the better defensive forwards in the NHL today. With that being said he’s also among the Blues more talented offensive players as well.
There could be an internal cap set by the $4.5 million per year contract Backes recently signed. Backes has four years remaining on his current deal.
Filing for arbitration is not the end-all, be-all and both sides will continue negotiating leading up to a potential case next month. There’s no ill will on either side as these contracts often take time to sort themselves out. The two sides spoke as recently as today and will continue to work towards avoiding a hearing. Arbitration hearings are never fun for either side but they are a tool both can choose if they’re unable to find a resolution.
If there is an arbitration hearing the Blues will have the option to accept a one or two year term. Oshie, who signed a one year contract last summer for $2,350,000, will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in two years. He’s been among the Blues most popular players since his arrival back in 2008. Both sides are open to a contract with some term attached to it but they’ll need to agree on the dollars.
The Blues tried hard to land free agent D-man Matt Carle but lost out to Tampa Bay who signed the veteran to a six-year, $33 million deal. As I reported on twitter this morning Carle’s contract breaks down like the following…
$3 million is signing bonus plus $2 million base in 2012-2013
Tampa Bay also expressed interest in Carlo Colaiacovo but on a much shorter term. There’s talk Detroit and Nashville could have interest when you look at the holes on their roster. It’s unclear if the Blues will circle back and re-visit Colaiacovo.
The free agents options for St. Louis are limited and their best bet to upgrade is probably to explore the trade market. This is if they walk away from Colaiacovo.
As of this morning neither side had spoken in a few days. It’s unclear whether or not the offer the Blues gave before July first is still on the table.
More to come,
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