Lokomotive Signs Artyukhin

Contract posturing between Evgeny Artyukhin's camp and the Tampa Bay Lightning has taken another ugly step as Evgeny Artyukhin has signed a contract with Russian Superleague club Yaroslavl Lokomotive. [url=http://www.sport-express.ru/art.shtml?125468]According to the Russian newspaper Sport Express[/url] Artyukhin joined Islanders prospect Sean Bergenheim and NHL veteran Eric Chouinard in inking deals with the team. The contract is likely not binding should Artyukhin reach agreement with the Lightning but does potentially strengthen the young wingers bargaining position as he attempts to get more than the two-way qualifying offer for over $600,000 he received from the Lightning. [b]Update[/b] Erik Erlendsson writes [url=http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/sports/related/C189/]on the Tampa Tribune blog[/url] that Artyukhin won't be returning, period. My understanding though is that such deals are signed with regularity with Russian clubs as fallback positions to strengthen bargaining postures and aren't binding, so I wouldn't completely shut the door on Artyukhin returning this season. For instance, according to Russianprospects.com prospects Denis Grebeshkov (Islanders) and Pavel Vorobiev (Blackhawks) have signed similar insurance deals in the last month looking to better their lot at the negotiating table. If Artyukhin doesn't return, this gives an opportunity to both Nikita Alexeev and [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url] to make this team out of camp, with an outside chance to [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url] if he shows his skating has improved over the summer.

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What is he thinking?

He gives up a job in the NHL where you have equipment and locker room guys take care of you and your equipment. He gives up staying in 5 star hotels and travel via private chartered flights. Potential full time living in Florida. To go play in Russia where you lug around your own equipment, take cold showers after games, sleep in hotel beds that are too small for anyone over 6 foot? Remember the stories from Vinny and Brad during the lockout? Remember Patrick Elias contracting hepatitis? For what? It all just boils down to the money I guess. Stupid.

It's a Negotiating Ploy

Nothing more.

Feaster

And you think Feaster will react to this by continuing negotiations? Like we have so much cap room to offer R2 more money or give him a two way so when he doesn't play up to his potential and he's sent down to Springfield they can never bring him back up because of his salary?? I think we all know that R2 would get picked off waivers and we would be on the hook for 1/2 his salary. Knowing Feaster as I do, IMO he will say, "oh well, he signed a contract in Russia let him go play in Russia". Which is the same thing he said to Alexeev and others.

Yes

It's a negotiating ploy that is regularly used. I suspect the hard line reaction to his signing is also a negotiating ploy to push back on Evgeny's agent.

To further elaborate, I

To further elaborate, I think it now comes down to who blinks first, if either does and I think the Lightning still hold all the cards. The Lightning will not lose much, if anything, with Nick Tarnasky on their roster rather than Evgeny Artyukhin. As a 4th line player who was getting only 4-5 minutes most night the second half of the year, R2's threats of playing in Russia ring hollow. So it's now up to him IMO. Play in Russia a year or accept the 2-way for a year. If he's smart he'll do the latter. This just doesn't end well for R2 no matter how the scenario plays out. Feaster has the winning hand no matter how much he and his agent posture.

Q - Offer

As I understand his Q- Offer is about $662,500. Has he done anything in his hockey career that would have motivated a Russian club to pay him that much? I doubt their salary structure is that good. A good thing that can happen is he does stay over there, gets some serious ice time and improves on the offensive end. Once he realizes that the NHL is still the place to be, he comes back a much better offensive performer for the same 662,500 he could have gotten this year for limited ice time, a higher q-offer next year and a year of service time towards free agency lost. Feaster can only hard ball him. At this point in his career, R2 is highly replaceable and Jay just has to leave money in the budget for a trade deadline acquisition for another cup run. Jay can afford for him to take less for a one-way. Anything more he gives R2 will take away from the quality of player we can afford at the deadline. That's a risk Jay can't take.

This will be interesting...

On one hand, yes, as Pete states, this is a ploy that's frequently used to get a better contract. On the other hand, Feaster has proved in his time here that he doesn't like to be put in these situations. He will frequently walk away (Tobin, Alexeev), or determine that the player is a me-first guy and THEN walk away.

R2 article on TBO

http://www.tbo.com/sports/lightning/MGBNQXYCIQE.html He wanted 1 million dollars. Who is his idiot agent that said he's worth that much after scoring 4 goals? 750k, which is what he lowered his demands to, is too much. Nothing wrong with his QO and I doubt he's going to make that much more in Russia. Jay said he spit in their faces so I don't think he'll be coming back anytime soon. Shame because I really wanted to see him develop.

Quote

Jay Feaster in the TBO article above: "We have sunk a lot of investments in this player, both financial and personal, and as far as I'm concerned he has spit in our face."

And with that...

... the relationship between TBL and R2 ended.

Hate to Say Over

But at this point, if this doesn't get sorted out this summer, R2 definitely looks like trade bait.

What now?

Let's presume it's definite that he's gone this. That takes away a longshot possibility for the 1st 2 lines and leaves it up to Affy or Craig to carry that spot. No sure things there. It would leave Perrin hockey wise as the logical replacement. Though to plug in a 5 - 9 guy for a giant. Which puts us at Fritz or Alexeev. No sure things there either. That leads me to believe that Delmore dresses as a 7th D most nights with maybe those 3 or 4 shifts on the wing if we play even strength the majority of the night. Do we go with what we already have and leave extra cash for a move later in the season or do we aee what we can get on the free agent for $700K to $1 mil? Any ideas.

Fritz?

I still don't think you'll see Fritz with the Lightning full time the way he skates. The real winners in this are Tarnasky and Reid IMO because a spot just definitely opened up for them. I personally think Tarnasky is NHL ready right now and Reid is close... his skating is the only thing holding him back. Both those guys are capable of chipping in what R2 did last season, being a royal pain in the rear in an agitating role and they'll be less of a target of the refs. They don't have the same upside as Artyukhin does because of Evgeny's freakish size/speed but they can fill a 4th line job every bit as well.

"... he has spit in our face."

I'm getting a little tired of the organization taking this tactic. First Cully and then to some extent Khabby and now R2. How did the Lightning treat the only NHL player to skip Sweden's gold medal celebration to return to his NHL team? With the loyalty they think evry player owes them. Those statements are getting to be BS. If you're going to take the high road, take it both ways. Other than that it's the nature of the business. Just deal with it and move on. Cheap shot by Jay IMO.

It's not a cheap shot in

It's not a cheap shot in this case. I thought the way Torts went after Jassen Cullimore was completely uncalled for, but Chad and I both can tell you just how much the Lightning have bent over backwards to develop Evgeny. Artyukhin is probably Jay's favorite prospect. I won't go so far as to say he's like a son to Jay, but there is (or was) a personal affection there because Feaster actually was one of the guys who worked hard to get Dudley to draft the young man. Feaster's crowed with almost paternal pride on more than one occassion that Artyukhin is his in much the same way Esposito would crow about Kubina or Zamuner. I guarantee you, this hurt Jay Feaster personally, far more than Khabibulin and Cullimore.

Maybe he cares more about

Maybe he cares more about actual playing time. What did he average last year, just under 9 minutes a game. I am pretty sure he will get more time with the Russian club. Really, when it comes down to it, who cares? It isn't like he is allowed to play the way he can be most effective. Of course, he was the only player that showed any semblance of physicality. Hopefully, if he isn't signed by the Lightning then that just makes more room for Fritz and Tarnasky to make the team. Personally, I still think he will sign. (Unless there is some stuff going on behind the scenes that we don't know about, i.e....trouble between him and the coaching staff)

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