You'd think a 24-goal scorer would have no trouble securing a sizable raise from $800,000. But Blake Comeau, despite working his way up from Long Island-Bridgeport yo-yo his first three pro seasons to talented scorer, needed until hours before his arbitration hearing to agree to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
And the one year part might sting, considering other core forwards (Tavares, Grabner, Okposo) received long-term deals this summer.
"I want to be here for as long as they want me," said Comeau, who didn't exactly sweat out the negotiations -- he was busy getting married this summer. "Maybe they want to see a little more consistency before (they commit to me)."
The main problem for Comeau now is finding opportunities to showcase his scoring skills. With the top two lines fairly secure -- Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau (or Niederreiter, if he can show it's time for him to get top-line minutes) and Okposo-Nielsen-Grabner are fairly set in stone -- Comeau will have to play more like a third or fourth-line winger at even strength, and that means two-way play comes first.
Comeau and Scott Gordon never saw eye-to-eye; Jack Capuano coached Comeau for parts of two seasons in Bridgeport, so perhaps Comeau will get a little more leeway.
But on a one-year deal with the young talent rising around him, Comeau has to put the puck in the net as well as be responsible defensively to earn his minutes.
He's in much the same boat as Josh Bailey, who will center Comeau and Parenteau tonight in Boston. And Comeau was only moved to that line after Brian Rolston (groin) hobbled off the ice on Wednesday.
"You work hard, try to stay positive and the rest is out of your hands," Comeau said.