TFP has learned that the Atlanta Thrashers have agreed in principle to a one-year deal with veteran winger Peter Bondra.
According to a league source, Bondra's deal is filled with incentives, while his base salary is just over $500,000.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is also reporting that the Thrashers have agreed to a deal with the 37-year-old, which can see him earn more than $3 million if he reaches all of his incentives.
"What surprised me was that he really wanted to come here and kept coming back to us with so many alternative ways," Thrashers GM Don Waddell told the Journal-Constitution. "I didn't want to tap too much money with Ilya [Kovalchuk] being out there..."
Bondra had also been negotiating a contract with the Washington Capitals, as Caps GM George McPhee and Bondra's agent, Ritch Winter, met over the weekend but could not come to terms on a deal.
Meanwhile, the Thrashers have pitched a few offer to Kovalchuk that, according to the Journal-Constitution, is "the largest in league history for a player coming off his first contract."
Waddell expects to speak again to Kovalchuk's representative, Jay Grossman, some time today.
"Our goal is to get him in here as soon as possible," Waddell said. "It's in everyone's best interest."
Now that, my friends, is how you sign a still theoretically skilled question mark like Bondra without putting yourself in a bad financial situation. In fact, I'm surprised that more teams this off-season didn't hand out similar offer sheets to more high-risk players (actually, come to think of it, calling Bondra "high-risk" is probably a little excessive; the guy has, after all, scored 140 goals and 256 points in 312 games since the turn of the millennium. Certainly, there are far worse ways to spend a $500,000 base. And hey, if he scores like he should, $3 million's not even that bad.)
My point? As usual, why the fuck can't the Oilers make a deal like this? Seriously. Christ, people, it's possible to add scoring to your team without committing yourself to a multi-million-dollar, four-year deal, you know.
Bah... but good on Waddell. He's made some smart moves. Though he remark about the potential Kovalchuk deal is a little foreboding for those who hold fiscal sanity in high regard.