R-2 Headed for Holdout?

Erik Erlendsson of the [i]Tampa Tribune[/i] reports today that negotiations are not going well between the Lightning and restricted free agent winger Evgeny Artyukhin. "I'm not sure what his thinking is right now," Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster told the [i]Tribune[/i]. "Some of the things his agent has told us are very inconsistent with his role and bargaining position." "R-2," or "Arty" as he's called by his teammates, is projected to have a significant role in the Lightning's future, but struggled at the end of last season and saw his minutes fall considerably. He finished the year with four goals and 13 assists in 72 games. In the playoffs, Artyukhin was up to just over 8 minutes a game and added a goal. Artyukhin is the only member of the Lightning yet to be signed, and it doesn't appear that will happen any time soon. Of note: The article also lists cap hits for every player currently under contract with the Lightning and expected to make the parent club.

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R2 salary

R2's Q offer had to be $662,200 and it looks like he wants more. But what did he do? Did he improve? I look at Craig as an example of someone who worked hard to improve and when called up made an impact. Yet he took only his Q offer, even though he only got paid league minimum last year. If I was GM and had to choose between Craig at $495K now or R2 at $662K, I'd be picking Craig for his play & team attitude every time. IMO Craig could have asked/signed for alot more than $495K this season based on his stats last season.

I'm a big R2 fan

But his Q offer is more than enough. If his agent is amart, maybe he'll play it up a little while, then convence R2 to go in and show Jay he made a mistake with his play. If he's working har and smartly this off-season, he could come in this year and set himself up nicely for his arbitration years.

The young man's agent needs

The young man's agent needs to put the crack pipe down. Artyukhin was only getting 4 minutes a night most of the second half of the season. Torts doesn't trust R2 to stay out of the box or, for that matter, on his end of the rink. For his agent to ask for any raise of significance is crazy. Sign a one year and prove you're more than a 4th liner, then cash in, not before.

Sean Bergenhiem (sp?)

Just reading a note on his negotiation and he's threatening the Islander's to sign in Russia. It seems he has like a $710,000 qualifying offer but it's a 2-way paired with a $92,500 minor league contract. He wants a $712,000 one-way deal. The Isles are offering only $500,000 to go one way. I'm wondering if this is similar to the R2 negotiation.

Don't Be Surprised

Don't be surprised if they stay at an impasse if Artyukhin and his agent decide to bolster their bargaining position by signing a deal with a Russian club. Yakubov and Grebeshkov have both done that in the last couple of weeks to try and get the upper hand in talks. It'll have an NHL out clause of course.

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