The curious case of White and the missing $5 bill

Moments before his arbitration hearing, the Calgary Flames and defenceman Ian White agreed to terms...

Moments before his arbitration hearing, the Calgary Flames and defenceman Ian White agreed to terms on a one-year, $2,999,995 deal. (BRANDON McKAY/QMI Agency)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:13 PM ET

The number is odd -- US$2,999,995 -- but it doesn't matter how goofy it appears.

Ian White is signed for the coming season after agreeing to terms moments before going to arbitration.

If the target both parties had for a deal for the Calgary Flames defenceman was $3 million, they hit it ... kind of.

Save for a venti latte at Starbucks.

"I don't know," White said Friday of the mystery of the five-dollar bill. "They wanted to keep it under $3 million, and that's what we came to."

"They felt very strongly the number had to have a three at the beginning and we felt very strongly it shouldn't have a three," said assistant GM Jay Feaster. "And the number -- where we ended up -- was within the range, that we did an internal analysis on, we felt the arbitrator could come down with."

The good news is Calgary signed White -- who is coming off a career season split between the Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs in which he netted 13 goals and 38 points -- without having to go through what can be an acrimonious process.

There was no need for the Flames to point out all of White's faults and take it to another level with the criticism, although he said he was prepared.

"Our brief makes you sound like you're Mario Lemieux," he said. "It's both sides of the coin. No one wants to hear anything negative, but it's part of the business and there should be no hard feelings."

Sure came close. White and his agent met with GM Darryl Sutter and the rest of the Flames brass late Thursday night and chatted for a couple of hours. Even through it was a cordial conversation, Feaster said he didn't think a deal would be negotiated.

But another breakfast meeting meant major headway to a deal.

"The handshake was 9:05 a.m.," White said, which is five minutes after they were supposed to start the hearing. "We dragged it out a few minutes and I think everybody was happy because of it."

White is due to become an unrestricted free agent next July, but said he wants to look at a long-term deal.

"We'll definitely be talking come January to see how we can make everything work going forward. I love being in Calgary, love the team -- everyone from the office down to the players and the staff," he said. "We've got something special and want to be there an extended period of time."

With White signed, the Flames are now well over the 2010-11 salary cap of $59.4 million, and need to pare salary.

They have eight defencemen on one-way deals eating up more than $22 million.

By going through this process, even without a hearing, the club has a 48-hour window for a buyout, which yet again brings up Ales Kotalik and the remaining two years on his deal worth $6 million.

The Flames could buy out Kotalik, which would cost them $4 million spread over four years, but Feaster said he expects the right winger to remain part of the team come September.

"All options are on the table, but I would expect him to be in training camp," Feaster said. "And what I envision and think will happen is everybody will have the opportunity to show why they're out to wear the Flaming C. I honestly believe when you give players an opportunity and challenge them to show why they deserve to be here, regardless of their contract situation, that's a healthy training camp."

Feaster also said forward Daymond Langkow -- whose season ended after a neck injury in March -- feeling better and showing improvement.

"We're all very optimistic. He's not cleared to go full contact, but it's the first time all summer he's reported that," Feaster said.


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