New word on Seto, he got one year, $1.8M. That’s better than we had hoped for, and in line with what Doug said. This is another incarnation of the Ryane Clowe situation from a couple of years ago- we’re not sure if you can take this to the next level, so we’ll give you one year, retain your RFA rights, and see what you can do. There’s no reason to lock up a guy as inconsistent as Seto has been the last year. He scored 31 goals two years ago (on a line with Jumbo) but last year, only 20. Doug Wilson has made two statements in the last week that crystallize his philosophy on this kind of thing. About Joe: “we want to create an environment where people want to stay,” and about Seto: “we have very high expectations.” Translation? You play well this year, meat, and show us you’re a top 6 forward all the time, and we will reward you next year. Could it be a sign-and-trade like the next guy? I doubt it.
Second good news- the Ducks trade their second best defenseman, James Wisniewski, who just got a $3.25M
arbitration award contract, to the Islanders for a third round pick. My first reaction- what a terrible deal for the Ducks. Makes me happy. I read Sleek’s post, and at least according to him, it’s about cash. But to me, you don’t give up your second best defensemen for a third round pick. Stupid. Now, after Visnovsky, the obvious #1, they have Toni Lydman, Luca Sbisa, Sheldon Brookbank, Brendan Mikkelson, and Danny Syvret. Think about that the next time you are bitching about the Sharks’ blue line. Bob Murray may be the best thing to happen to San Jose hockey in a long time.
The one loss is that Antti Niemi got a much lower arbitration award than we had hoped for- only $2.75M. This is probably low enough for the Hawks to do some more shuffling and fit him in somewhere under the cap. There’s little doubt that Huet and his $5M+ contract will be dumped in the minors this year, even if Niemi isn’t re-signed. There’s just no way for the Hawks to afford him, and can you say Huet will really be much better than a minor leaguer? The Hawks dodged a big bullet here- I though $4M was too much to wish for but over $3M was certainly in the cards.
The fourth piece of news is less polarizing – a two year, $2.5M extension for Jason Demers starting next year. He will still make $543k this year. Demers looks like a good young defensemen, one that hopefully will be a bargain a $1.25M a year from now. But it’s uncertain. I like Demers, hope he continues to improve, and this contract is movable if he doesn’t fit into the plans. It’s a safe signing, and not bad for the Sharks, so I call it a small win.