Pause for a moment, as there is actual hockey-related Islanders news to report: The Islanders announced that they have officially agreed to terms on a two-year deal with restricted free agent winger Blake Comeau, who was one of two RFAs to decline the Islanders original qualifying offers. Below are his season stats; here's the link to the 2008-09 report card we gave him.
|2008 - Blake Comeau||53||7||18||25||-17||32||2||0||0||0||78||9.0|
Except for when an RFA is already clearing $1 million-plus in his previous contract, qualifying offers entail mandatory, nominal raises (5-10%) for a team to hang on to the player's rights. Jack Hillen, the other qualifier-rejecting RFA, got a pay cut but a one-way deal for his troubles (Note: That sounds worse than it is; Hillen's rookie salary was higher than usual since he originally signed as a college free agent, open to the highest bidder; a pay cut in this instance was not a surprise).
The club of course didn't disclose terms, but word will soon surface [well hey, that was quick: one-way] what deal Comeau signed. He spent the first third of last season in the AHL but should be confident enough in his chances this year to expect not to be demoted -- which is why I'd have said take a two-way for a higher NHL salary, if that was in the bargaining equation. But that's easy to say from the other side of a keyboard
, and the Islanders may have been simply offering bare bones: nominal raise plus a two-way. In the NHL, an RFA doesn't exactly have much leverage, even if he's Phil Kessel.
Ah, but enough hockey talk! Back to tomorrow's big deal. The latest Puck Daddy features a Q&A with Chris Botta on the whole Lighthouse project situation, which -- while sadly not on-ice-related, is nonetheless of paramount importance to whether we get to keep shooting the breeze about this team.