Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Matt Smaby contract update
Posted Jul 20, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Jul 20, 2009 at 06:25 PM
Lightning general manager Brian Lawton said the team made progrees in talks with defenseman Matt Smaby on Monday in Minnesota in hopes of hammering out a deal before next week’s arbitration hearing.
Lawton had lunch with Minneapolis-based agent Ben Hankinson to continue negotiations before a scheduled arbitration hearing on July 28 in Toronto. The hope is a deal can be reached before the hearing.
Smaby is believed to be seeking a one-way contract, which would pay the 24-year-old defenseman the same amount of money whether he played at the NHL level or in the minor leagues. The differences don’t appear to necessarily about dollar figures and the two sides seem to be on the same page.
“No deal yet, but we are moving forward and there is some common ground that we agree upon,’’ Hankinson said in an email Monday.
Lawton shared the optimism.
“We are making progress and hope to have it completed before [arbitration] next week,’’ Lawton said in an email. “Maybe as early as this weekend.’’
In his third profession season last year, Smaby appeared in a career-high 43 games with the Lightning recording four assists and 50 penalty minutes. The former second-round pick in 2003, who spent three seasons at North Dakota before turning pro, played most of the last month of last season with a broken bone in his foot as Tampa Bay used an NHL-record 23 different defensemen.