Arnason exits without tears

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

It surely has to be a typo, right? Forward Tyler Arnason is going to be an unrestricted free agent?

That can't be right.

Senators GM John Muckler announced yesterday the club is not going to make a qualifying offer to the out-of-shape underachiever and you have to give Muckler credit for not perpetuating the mistake he clearly made at the trade deadline.

I guess technically Arnason is an unrestricted free agent because the Senators aren't offering him a deal.

Fine.

He is restricted in that he does not seem to be at all interested in getting in shape or getting involved in any way, shape or form when he plays the games.

At the time of his acquisition from the Chicago Blackhawks, he had been credited with four hits.

Four!

That's a ridiculous number for a guy who played on one of the 'Hawks two top lines. (Okay, that's somewhere between the NHL and the AHL, but still. C'mon. You'd have to go out of your way not to hit somebody more than four times in more than half a season playing 20-odd minutes a game in the NHL.)

Making the deal for Arnason ranks as one of Muckler's worst moves in his time as GM of the Senators. The trade deadline is the time to augment and support the core of a Stanley Cup contender, not take a flyer on a guy who frustrated his previous coach and GM with his indifference.

The qualities the Senators lacked were grit and some hard-nosed play. If there was a guy who was the furthest from that in the NHL among regular players, it just might have been Arnason.

Muckler gave up winger Brandon Bochenski and a second-round pick at last weekend's entry draft for Arnason and now has nothing to show for either Bochenski or the draft pick.

QUALIFYING OFFER

To tell the truth, that's still better than throwing good money after bad by offering Arnason a qualifying offer in the $1-million US range.

"If you look at his career, he's been a skillful hockey player," Muckler told the Team 1200 yesterday. "He has NHL talent, there's no question. Believe me, you can't become a high-level hockey player unless you are in good condition. You can't use that talent unless you are in good condition. For some reason or another, he wasn't in NHL condition and we found that out when he came here.

"I still think he has the talent to play in the National Hockey League."

He probably does.

But it takes more than just talent.

HEAR AND THERE: The Sabres made a qualifying offer to goaltender Martin Biron yesterday and it's expected he'll sign the one-year, $2.1-million deal if only to make a trade happen. Biron might be a fallback position for clubs looking for goaltending this off-season, but he might wind up being one of the best of the lot on the market. Biron showed last season he can get the job done, winning a franchise-record 13 games in a row while Ryan Miller, who established himself as the club's top stopper, was out with a broken thumb ... Ottawa's Dr. Mark Aubry is going to receive the Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Award today which recognizes "outstanding contributions towards the prevention of catastrophic injuries in sport and recreational activities." Aubry has contributed to the research of spinal-cord injuries and concussions. Besides that, he's one of the most pleasant people you're ever going to run into at Scotiabank Place or any other sports venue around the world (he's been the chief medical officer for the IIHF since 1998 and Hockey Canada since 2004.) Nice to see his work recognized.

FRITSCH UPDATE: His experience at the U.S. Open obviously benefited Brad Fritsch. The Manotick native delivered his best finish on the Canadian Tour on the weekend in Victoria, tying for sixth in the Times Colonist Open with rounds of 68-71-66-69 on the par-70 course. Fritsch won $5,175, tripling his earnings on the CanTour and moving up to 29th on the Order of Merit. Ottawa's Lee Curry finished T21 and won $1,688.

PARTING SHOTS: Given Switzerland's neutrality, it should come as no surprise they were awful in a shootout yesterday at the World Cup.


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