Don’t expect deadline deal for White

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 AM ET

The arbitration season this summer has seen so many players come to terms just before both sides have needed to state their case.

Gerry Johannson, agent for Calgary Flames defenceman Ian White, isn’t expecting it will work out that way before Friday’s slated hearing.

“If something happens, something happens. But we’re not counting on it,” Johannson said Wednesday from his office in Edmonton.

Not even holding out hope for a deal just in time?

“I wouldn’t say I’m hoping. I don’t think that’s the right word. We’re prepared to go through the process. That’s all you can focus on,” Johannson said. “Ian’s prepared to go through the process. If something changes at the last minute, I suppose it changes. But we’re not anticipating it. We’re not expecting it. We’re not hoping it. We’re just prepared for the arbitration process.”

White, 26, is coming off a season in which he was paid US$950,000 and collected 13 goals and 25 assists in 83 games.

Last week, Flames assistant GM Jay Feaster said he, too, expected the sides would need arbitration to find a contract, which tells you just how far apart they are.

A decision must be reached and revealed to the parties within 48 hours. The Flames will have 48 hours more to accept the decision or walk away, which would make White an unrestricted free agent.

White was acquired Jan. 31 from the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman and Jamal Mayers in exchange for Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and prospect Keith Aulie.

White had his best offensive season in his NHL career.

However, the knock on the 5-foot-10, 195-lb., blueliner has been his size.

White can expect to hear more shortcomings during the hearing.

“Ian’s a very sharp guy. He gets it. I don’t think he’s going to be shocked if we are

sitting there in the room and he takes a few bullets,”

Johannson said.

“I don’t think that’s the end of the world for him. He gets that’s the process.

“Who knows how it resonates in the future, you don’t know until after, but Ian’s a cool customer. He hasn’t gone through it but takes it with a grain of salt.”

Besides, he’s a player who has spent a lifetime being told he can’t make it and used it as motivation.

“He’s the definition of resilient, he can handle it. We’ve talked about it. And the guys all know about it. It happens enough and guys talk among each other, so there’s expectations there will be a few sharp elbows,” Johannson said. “Hey, it’s a contact sport. What are you going to do?”

If you’re thinking it’s been a while since the Flames and a player actually had an arbitration, you’re right.

The last time was the summer of 2004 when goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, fresh off his record-setting season while backstopping the team to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, headed to the arbitrator.

He was given a one-year salary of $2.95 million, but never played under that contract due to the lockout. It did become the basis of his contract prior to the 2005-06 season, a three-year, $10-million deal.

Johannson can’t use any past history to have a read on how Flames GM Darryl Sutter will treat the process.

“Even our group, we’ve been through a few of them, but not that many,” he said.


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