FINDING THE NUMBER

Lowetide
July 21 2013 09:52AM

Making a case for Sam Gagner at $5M a year isn't hard to do, but for the Oilers it's more difficult to find a way to include him in their future at that number. Well beyond $5M? Almost impossible.

GAGNER HAS REAL VALUE TO EDMONTON

The case for Gagner making 5 large has been made ably at ON in recent days:

  • Robin Brownlee: "I don't think it's a stretch to believe that Gagner is a reasonable buy at $1 million less a season than Hall and Eberle just signed for. That means $5 million a season.Ka-ching. Pay the man."
  • Jonathan Willis: "My view is that I’d be comfortable signing Gagner at five million per season over five years, but that I’d be calling Grabovski’s agent just in case."

I'd also draw your attention to Tyler Dellow's summary of the situation (here) and his conclusion "deferring this issue by letting the arbitrator deal with it doesn’t seem likely to me to produce a better result. Make a longer term bet on him now seems like a reasonably smart bet to make to me."

BRIDGING THE GAP

The Oilers have five 'impact' players who could reasonably be regarded as having superior futures to Gagner: they are Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz. Hall and Eberle are signed long term for $6M per year, and that's probably the organizational 'outer marker' for contracts.

Assuming that the club signs Nuge and J Scultz long term for $5M+ (or near) in the next 12 months, and have Gagner come in around $5M as well, the Oilers will be looking at about $27-29M for their five best players when the Yakupov contract comes up for review. This assumes the Nuge is willing to sign for less than $6M, and that my friends is a large assumption.

The cap will go up next year, and if it hits $70M plus then the pressures will be eased; however, signing Sam Gagner long term with a no trade mean Craig MacTavish could box himself in if:

  • he signs Gagner to a multi-year deal with a no trade clause for the free agent years
  • the cap goes up, but does not sky rocket
  • Gagner performs below his established level

These are legit concerns, and things MacT must measure as he readies to sign Sam Gagner.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I think the Oilers call in forensics on this, pore over the numbers, and deliver a long term contract shy of $5.25M per year. Sam Gagner has been consistent and is entering his prime. Buying an uptick in performance is a good bet.

We wait.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#101 Craig1981
July 21 2013, 04:14PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

I actually hope so. I think he is a standup guy and an great fit for the Oil. I think this is very different than the other 2. He is 23, which is very different than Horcoff at 29. It was always known Horcoff was not a high end scorer (aside from a few fools). And Hemsky was coming of a bunch of injuries and a terrible year. *Arb is only for 1 year so 10 over 2 is not possible

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#102 Smythyyy
July 21 2013, 05:28PM
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Young Oil wrote:

Just putting in my two cents, but people seem to be putting too much focus on points. That's not what the team needs when they already have Hall, Eberle, RNH and Yakupov. They need a center with a good two way game. So is Gagner worth $5M+ TO THE OILERS? No, not in my opinion. Is he part of the long term plans for the team? No, probably not. Will he be overpaid by the Oilers and possibly be untradeable in the future? We'll see.

The Oilers need players to keep goals out of their own net more than they need players to score them. They need a 2nd line center who is not prone to large scoring slumps when offense is his main contribution.

I would much prefer trading Gagner as a part of an overpay for a great two way center, like Dubinski. Give them an offer they can't refuse.

Just make sure we don't lose him for nothing, or prevent us from keeping Yakupov, RNH, and Schultz. Then I'll be happy.

If anything we're not scoring enough, we finished 18th in GPG last year. I think a lot of people just take this 'we're not big enough' philosophy too literally. There are many ways to become a championship team. The Boston and LA model is one way to do it (big hard hitting teams). Chicago, Detroit, and Pitts have another strategy to get there using lots of skill and puck possession. Obviously, both strategies have been proven to work.

However, you have to look at the personnel you currently have. We're way too deep into the skilled but not big type of players to go the Boston or LA route. We have to play to our strengths which is a fast skilled puck moving team. In my mind, it's actually harder to go the the LA route because those types of players are harder to come by. MacT has alluded to this in one of his interviews.

We'd still like to get those big skilled players IF we can get them. It's easier said than done though. If it were that easy it would have been done yesterday. They tried Clarkson at an overpay of $6M 7 years and that still didn't get done (thankfully). I don't think Dubinsky is a great fit for that 2nd line; it's a step back for wanting a skilled puck possession team, Gagner would be much better.

Now who wouldn't want Sam at a lower cap hit? Unfortunately, it's the market that dictates what he gets paid and right now it's saying it's around $5M/yr. Personally, that's my line in the sand as well.

I'd be interested if somebody can give us a name(s) for that price point or lower that would be a better player than Gagner AND would be available via a trade or FA. So I appreciate that you threw out a name (albeit one I don't necessarily agree with but it is at least constructive conversation). I'd rather hear those types of conversations instead of all these b*tching about what Sam can and can't do; it's not relevant or helpful. He'll get paid what he gets paid and at the end of the day he is our best and only option for the 2nd line C.

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#103 admiralmark
July 21 2013, 06:22PM
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$5 Million x 3 years with a NTC. Thats my prediction. Hopefully the cap substantially rises in the next 3 years as I believe this is an overpay. And Yah i get as a UFA he might command $5.75+ x whatever years. There's always some GM willing to pay more then what a player should get.

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#104 Citizen David
July 21 2013, 06:33PM
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Have people lost their minds?! You don't want to trade away a 23 year old center with 414 GP and 0.62 PPG! His best years are ahead of him. Absolute lunacy...

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#105 BaldOldMan
July 22 2013, 08:42AM
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Mark-LW wrote:

You are expressing concern about Gagner's career point average and then you use Eberle's single season outer marker as a benchmark?

Also, Gagner had a pro-rated 65 point season. Using your method of comparing it to Eberle's season of 76 points that is 86% of his production.

86% of Eberle's contract is 5.13 million. And Eberles contract is buying RFA years NOT UFA years. That is a huge huge huge huge item. You can't just ignore it.

So by using your logic, you should actually be arguing FOR paying him MORE than 5 million a year.

...

I did not take into account any prorated seasons therefore I did not include Gagner's or Hall's. I took a full 82 game season because that is actual fact and not just pretend. Looks like Gagner's cap hit is 4.8mill. Read above!! I said it 4.8. Thank you mister 5.13!! I don't think at any point he doesn't make 5 million at some point, I'm talking cap hit..

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