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Polak Contract Situation Overblown? Cole really leaving ND? July 3, 2009

Posted by bluesfan45 in Offseason, Transactions.
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Polak Situation Overblown
by Mark Massa

There seems to be a lot of worry about the Blues possibly losing Roman Polak to an offer sheet. Personally, I’m not all that worried about it. While he had a good rookie season, I would be willing to bet most teams have bigger priorities this time of year than signing a young player with one NHL goal to his name to an offer sheet. No disrespect to Polak but I’m getting the impression he and his agent are overvaluing him. Even though the Blues were a victim of an offer sheet last summer, the practice is still pretty rare so I’d be surprised if he got one. The Blues showed last summer that they’re willing to retaliate so that should help deter teams from signing Blues RFAs to offer sheets.

Another point worth mentioning is that Polak doesn’t even have arbitration rights. If he’s not signed to an offer sheet, he has virtually no leverage in contract negotiations with the Blues. The Blues could easily not offer him anything more than his qualifying offer, a low $522,500, and Polak would be left with either accepting that or holding out. In the end though, I would expect the Blues and Polak’s camp to come to an agreement on a deal higher than his qualifying offer but a good chunk lower than he’s probably asking for. Same with Crombeen. After the UFA season settles down a bit and assuming neither Polak or Crombeen get an offer sheet, they’ll likely sign reasonable deals to return to the Blues. Crombeen does have arbitration rights though so at least he has some leverage Polak doesn’t have.

Other Quick Thoughts

There’s been a lot of speculation about Ian Cole possibly changing his mind and turning pro this season. While it’s possible, I wouldn’t get too excited just yet. Let’s just see how he performs in Orientation Camp next week. He seems to only want to turn pro if he has a realistic shot at the NHL but with so many other defensemen that he would be competing with, I wonder just what his chances would be. The problem is that he will have to make his decision on turning pro or not before he has a chance to make the team. He can’t participate in Training Camp without forfeiting his NCAA eligibility.

Word is Jean-Philippe Lamoureux will be attending Buffalo’s Prospects Camp next week. Does that represent the end of JPL’s time in the Blues organization? I sure hope not. He was an absolute rock with the ECHL Alaska Aces last season but with him deserving of an AHL shot and Bishop and Holt in front of him occupying those AHL spots in the Blues organization, JPL could very well find a shot with another team.

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