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2010 NHL Free Agency: Oilers, Gilbert Brule avoid arbitration, agree to two-year pact

Jul 27, 2010, 7:00 PM EDT

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smidhugsbrule.jpgThe Edmonton Oilers and forward Gilbert Brule were the latest parties to avoid salary arbitration, as the two sides agreed to a two-year deal worth $3.7 million (or $1.85 million per year) according to TSN.

“Gilbert made a big step last year in his development,” said Oilers’ general manager Steve Tambellini. “We are excited to have him here in Edmonton and look forward to his continued contribution to the team.”

Brule enjoyed the best season of his young NHL career, scoring 17 goals and adding 20 assists in 65 games. In 222 career games Brule has 31 goals and 41 assists while splitting time between the Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets.

While arbitration cases can provide some zest and drama to lackadaisical summer proceedings, it’s usually better to see two sides come to an agreement.

This is a particularly fortuitous case for both sides, I’d say.

As a former number six pick (by Columbus in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft), Brule has been a mild disappointment so far so he might have ended up hearing some things he wouldn’t like in the point/counter-point. The fact that he’s been a positive force in the community makes his continued involvement with the Oilers a big plus.

It’s a good thing for Edmonton, too. Some perfectly reasonable comparisons indicated that Brule might have been primed for a $2.4 million-type reward. Of course, if the Oilers followed the Atlanta Thrashers’ track of letting Clarke MacArthur walk, it would have been bad for both sides.

So, in the end, Brule gains a little continuity and security while the Oilers save some money. It seems like everyone wins, even if neither side won “big.”

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