Friday, July 28, 2006

Good news: Sens ink Schaefer to a new deal

Every now and then, a habitual disappointer shows you up. Proves your perception about them may be wrong. Today, John Muckler has done that.

In an offseason where he’s been (mostly rightfully) criticized for questionable personnel moves and suspect contracts, Mucks and company have locked up very important player for many years at a more than reasonable price.

Peter Schaefer was scheduled to have his arbitration hearing today, but ala a year ago with Marian Hossa, the Senators have avoided it, signing the scrappy winger to a four-year contract reportedly worth $8.4 million.

A great deal if I can say so myself.

$2.1 was around what I projected Schaefer at a month ago, before all the GMs went a little nuts and the arbitrators started dipping into the stash. Having seen what Kyle Calder ($2.95 million) and Mike York ($2.85 mil) were awarded, I fully expected Schaefer, who put up comparable numbers, to get in that area as well. And while that $700,000 difference may seem small on the surface, in a cap world, with the team right against it, that kind of money could’ve been the difference between keeping Schaefer around and not.

Had the hearing occurred, I do still think Schaefer would’ve gotten that kind of money, or incredibly close to it. It also would’ve meant he could be a UFA in a year and cash in bigtime in 12 months.

He chose not to, and it’s pretty damn refreshing. It’s nice to see a long-time Sen commit himself to the franchise for the long haul, and seemingly take less money to do it.

For months, we heard talk about how Schaefer wants to go back to Vancouver. Message board scuttlebutt said he had put his house up for sale and his wife, from B.C., was pressuring him to return to the area. There was reason for concern.

Schaefer’s contributions to this team cannot be measured by goals and assists, though he’s become very useful in that area as well. #27 never takes a shift off and wins more battles along the boards than any player I have ever seen, despite not being all that impressive physically.

Offensively, he came into his own this past season, scoring 20 goals and 30 assists, and I see no reason why that development will cease. Schaefer may never be a point-a-game player, but with an increased role and some time on the powerplay, it’s more than feasible he could net an additional 10 points next season. At $2.1 million per year, he's a bargain, or as close to one as you can get.

So bravo, John. You did good.


1 Comments:

At 4:59 PM, Blogger The Universal Cynic said...

I'm surprised and pleased. Muckler wasn't in a position to shell out on one of these "pay according to potential" deals that we've seen recently. Regardless, it does demonstrate that you can keep a relevant player beyond two or three years, and maintain him at a reasonable salary (even when you're up against it). Who knew that common sense could be so refreshing?

 

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