Best Case Scenario?

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 25: Defenseman Ian White #3 of the Calgary Flames shoots the puck towards the goal against the New York Islanders during an NHL game at the Nassau Coliseum on March 25, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

It would probably be fair to say that an arbitration hearing is something you want to avoid if possible.  Numerous players have done so this offseason, and Ian White did the same this morning, signing a one year contract with the Calgary Flames worth $2,999,995.  So, the two sides avoid arbitration, which might end up being the best case for both sides.

Why could this be the best case scenario?  Well, first of all, it’s good to avoid the arbitration process.  When talking to Assistant GM Jay Feaster today, there was a feeling that not going through the process might be the best way to go.  GM Darryl Sutter told Ian prior to the hearing that he was going to rip him in regards to the downfalls in his game, something which White was okay with.  However, White said on The Fan 960 this afternoon that not going to arbitration was probably still desirable.

To frame it from White’s perspective, it ends up working well for him.  Not only does he avoid the potential unpleasant nature of the hearing, but he also gets his one year deal.  Sure, it might have been for a couple hundred thousand less than an award from an arbitrator, but as we’ve seen with other cases (Moulson, Stralman), it could be worth it settle for a potentially lower dollar figure to not go through the process.  So now, if he is thinking that way, White has the potential to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, 2011.  He’d be 27 years old, and if he’s able to put together another strong season, he’d be primed to cash in if he so desired.  However, White told The Fan today that the goal is to sign a long term deal with the Flames, and that option also remains.  White said his door is always open in that regard, and he’s hoping to revisit the subject in January.

But what about from the Flames standpoint?  Yes, White is coming off a career season, and that would surely have played into an award from an arbitrator.  But the Flames have only had White in the fold for 27 games, and maybe management hasn’t decided a long term plan for him.  Well, with a one year contract, you get a little more flexibility.  If they really like what he’s able to do through the first few months of the season, then you ramp up the urgency to ink an extension.  If they aren’t as happy as they were with a limited sample size last season, then they have two options: cut ties when the contract runs out at the end of the season, or start looking at moving the player via the trade market.

Arbitration was going to give the Flames and the player options going forward, which is why I thought it might not be the worst thing in the world if the hearing went forward.  However, if you can keep those same options without going through the process, why not?  That’s exactly what happened here, and it puts to bed one of the most intriguing issues of the Calgary offseason. 

Now, with the team over the cap, the question to be asked is clear.  What do the Flames do prior to October to get themselves back under the limit?  Let the speculation begin!

  • However, White told The Fan today that the goal is to sign a long term deal with the Flames, and that option also remains

    every single thing that any player/coach/gm says to the press should be taken with a grain of salt. quotes like this (and most others, in reality) should first be examined through a pair of “..but what’s he GONNA say ?!?” glasses; as in: is ian white ever actually going to suggest that he wants to bolt from the sutter regime, and that he’s gonna test the market next year ? of course not !!! but i don’t necessarily think that what white infers above is actually based in reality.

    i’ve never sat in on media training, nor have i ever held court with peter hanlon (except for that one time when he asked me if i was double fisting, cause i was carrying two beers), but i would presume that players are taught to keep the truth firmly in check, while spouting all sorts of clichés and half-truths designed to keep the masses appeased.

    white and gio are as good as gone, short of a massive management overhaul (in my opinion). infact, i wrote a post over at mine that suggests why i think arbitration was avoided and what will happen to white 8 months from now.

    • I’m not going to be that overly cynical. Guy says something, I’m going to at least think that there’s some truth in it. To write it off and say “of course he’s going to say that, but he’s lying” seems a little silly to me.

  • @ Steinberg,

    Great post!

    The Flames are playing with fire in regards to Ian White’s contract.

    If White has another successful season,
    can Calgary afford committing more $$$ on Defense next summer?

    When Calgary misses the playoffs again, how likely is it he’ll want to stay on a rebuilding team?

    Advantage WHITE!

    • If White has another successful season, can Calgary afford committing more $$$ on Defense next summer?

      And that’s why having options on the team side is important, because they’ll be able to get an idea of what type of $$ figures White might command by January. If it’s a dollar figure they’re not comfortable with, there’s always the trade option.

  • dustin642

    Sutter may have lost most of or even all his marbles, and sure he may have traded away the logic sector of his brain for a texas mickey of Wisers and dairy cow, but Ian White @ 2.999995M for 1 year is a good deal. Both for White and for the Flames. The only real bad part of today is that the Flames are now in the “over the Salary Cap Club.” So Sutters going to have to make some un-wanted salaries disappear and hey if there is one thing that our cattle hearding leader is great at, its making un-wanted salaries disappear. A trade is really the only way to go as I can not see Management being okay with paying Staios/Kotalik to lead and be physical in Abbotsford. Also will we even know what the powers that be are going to do until a decision on Langkow’s future is made? I’m going to guess a deal involving Sarich to either NYI or COL will be coming shortly.

  • At first, it seems like Colorado might be a good choice to take someone like Sarich, considering they are ~$5M under the cap floor and still haven’t signed Chris Stewart or Peter Mueller. Buuuuut…

    Avs ownership is CHEAP as hell. They traded their second-highest goal scorer (Ryan Smyth) in 08-09 for Quincy+Preissing+ 2010 5th round pick. Preissing has since been bought out.

    They also traded Wolski, likely because he was going to want (according to capgeek) $500K and $900K raises the next two years and Mueller was half the cost.

    They also have three D-men making $3M+ (Hannan is $4.5M, Liles is $4.2M, and Quincy is $3.125M) and dropping off from that. As well, there are prospect D-men in Kevin Shattenkirk, Colby Cohen, and Jonas Holos.

    And finally… Kroenke needs money if the NFL allows him to buy the Rams like he wants.

    Stan Kroenke’s Bid to Buy Rams Will Come to Vote Aug 25

  • Nothing to wish for, as injuries are always bad news, but there are usually some big-time ones come September exhibition.

    Think: Andrei Markov, Sergei Gonchar, Erik Johnson, etc etc

    SOMEONE could have some use for Steady Steve or Sarich come October 7.

  • Both good points, although I have to think that, at least after the NFL big has been mulled over, Col will be willing to increase their payroll. You can’t ice a cap floor team season after season without losing a large portion of your fanbase/revenues. I really, really hope someone finds a use for Sarich, because we all know that Kotalik and Staios are basically taken care of, and the extra 3.6 in cap space would be amazing for the team.

    • we all know that Kotalik and Staios are basically taken care of

      When Jay Feaster spoke on Friday, he seemed extremely confident that, yes, Calgary already has a plan when it comes to getting under the cap. I think it would be premature to say both those guys are taken care of, however.

  • @Kent Wilson


    The only way I see the Flames being able to trade one of their bad contracts is if they’re willing to throw something else in as well. A colleague of mine threw out the idea of moving, say, Staios somewhere along with a guy like Moss or Glencross. If you want to solve the dollar issue via trade, that may be the only way you do it.

    • dustin642

      If we could deal say Staios away and had to include Moss in the deal, I would be very OK with that. But aside from being a Moss hater, the guy is only a #8/9 forward on this team and Sutter could probably get something of equal value (probably for less salary) in return. I doubt a trade involving Staios or Sarich would return the Flames any kind of draft pick other than maybe a 4/5th rounder + bottom 6 forward.
      If Sutter were able to pull off a trade that looked like that, I would definitely say job well done.