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s14 - Oil Working on Stuart Extension [WB 1]

2020-01-14

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers can enjoy the low-cost version of Brad Stuart for the remainder of this season. Unfortunately, the price of poker will soon be jumping exponentially with the rising star.

Edmonton general manager Chris Baker would love their blue-chip, shutdown defender to play next season for just the $550,000 they currently pay him in the final year of his three-year rookie deal. Sadly, there's no way that's happening.

With Stuart coming off a successful second season in which he surpassed his rookie totals in goals (3 to 9) and points (33 to 37), the young up-and-comer looks to be on his way to eclipsing his year 2 totals this season.  There’s already plenty of speculation on how big a leap he will take from his entry level contract.  If arbitration is looked at as any indication, the 23-year-old is on the precipice of becoming a very wealthy young man.

OVERALL RATING

BASE SALARY

BONUS per PRO PTS

81-84

$3,500,000

$50,000

With eight points in 19 games played thus far, Stuart is already worth $3.9 million on a one-year deal according to the arbitration chart.  It only gets worse for the Oilers when extrapolating his point totals over an 82-game period.  On his current pace, Edmonton could expect to pay their future #1 defenceman a whopping $5.25 million for next season. 

With the new collective bargaining agreement set to start next year, Stuart’s salary will be locked in and any extension signed will start at the number he agrees to in arbitration.  Whereas in the past a player like Joe Thornton (then with the Ottawa Senators) signed an arbitration deal in the low $7-million only to sign an extension with his new team the Tampa Bay Lightning for less than he was making previously, Edmonton - and any team for the that matter – will not be granted that luxury.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Oilers as early reports indicate that both team and player appear to be on the same page in whereabouts the negotiations should start.  In speaking to Stuart’s agent Harvey Rosenstein, he indicated that “as of right this minute, there’s about a 17% chance we would sign a deal”.  Pretty specific.

It’s rumoured that Edmonton has offered a four-year extension.  Over-valuing the market a little bit, some have indicated that the average annual value is in the $4.3 million range. 

A steal given the arbitration forecast.  The only question now is …

Will he sign?

IN OTHER NEWS

Not too sure where to file this.

Whether it’s the classic saying where there’s smoke there’s fire or complete bull excrement, there have been quiet rumblings about the possible availability of superstar defender Kevin Hatcher.

Hatcher, 37, who has two years remaining on a four-year deal that pays him $8.3 million has been off to another blistering start with four goals and 22 points in 19 games this season.  So why would his name be mentioned or even thought of in potential trade chatter you ask?  Nick Schultz. 

Schultz, 21, was Edmonton’s 1st round, 20th overall pick in the s10 draft and has been a complete stud for the Oilers’ affiliate in Fort McMurray.

Viewed as a polar opposite of Hatcher, Schultz more resembles that of the aforementioned Brad Stuart.  A steady, stay-at-home defender type that looks to play defense first as opposed to Hatcher who is undoubtedly a point-producing rear-guard.

With Schultz’s development exceeding expectations to this point in his young career, some have wondered if the time is now to slowly work him into the Oilers’ lineup.  Having played five games in Edmonton to date – three of which being playoff games – the young defenseman hasn’t looked out of place despite not contributing on the scoresheet. 

Either way, the fact that a generational defender like Hatcher’s name is even being mentioned is news unto itself. 

Which is why we call BULL****.

WC : 647