Calgary (Domebeers.com) – After weeks of speculation and tense negotiation, Darryl Sutter finally has his man. In a move that will both stun and surprise Flame fans, Ian White was signed to a long term contract today, avoiding a potentially messy arbitration hearing.
The terms of the contract were not released, but it is believed to be a 30 year, $30 million dollar pact. “We’re very happy to get this deal done,” said Flames assistant general manager Jay Feaster, without mumbling. “Ian is a good young player, a puck mover with offensive upside. There are not too many players in the league who can do what Ian can, and we are fortunate to have several of those players on the team.”
The Calgary Flames already have defensive stalwarts Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, and Robyn Regehr on the roster. Ian White was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Dion Phaneuf at the trade deadline last year.
Long term contracts are in vogue these days in the NHL. In fact, assistant general manager Jay Feaster cited the recently rejected 17 year, $102 million dollar contract awarded to Ilya Kovalchuk by the New Jersey Devils.
“We feel, based on what the league executive put out, that the contract will go through. The league seemed to object to the fact that the Ilya contract dropped of significantly, in terms of real dollars paid, in the final years of the contract. We have structured the contract quite differently from that. We feel it will go through, and it does not circumvent the CBA.”
It is believed that the contract will pay White $1 million dollars a year through the 30 year pact, thus avoiding the structural problems the league found in the Kovalchuk contract. While the length of the contract is unprecedented in the NHL, assistant general manager Jay Feaster believes the league shouldn’t have a problem with it.
“Gordie Howe played into his 50’s. Ian will be 56 when the contract expires, and with all the advancement in sports medicine, and the fact that the players today train harder and are in better physical shape then the players in Howe’s era, we don’t think the league will have a problem with it. They shouldn’t.”
The 30 year contract can be seen as a bit of a coup for the Flames, as they face severe salary cap limitations. Many NHL observers were under the belief that if the Flames allowed Ian White to go to arbitration, he would be awarded a contract that would be too expensive for the club.
By getting White to sign the contract, the Flames are able to slot him into their salary cap at a bargain basement price of $1 million dollars a year. Mark Giordano, the break out star of the Flames disappointing 09-10 season, is an RFA at the end of the 10-11 season. It is believed that the Ian White contract will allow the Flames to retain enough cap space to sign him when the time comes.
When this news organization attempted to reach Darryl Sutter for comment, he threw a cattle prod at us.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.