July 22 2013 08:29AM
The Oilers and Sam Gagner agreed to a three-year extension hours before their scheduled arbitration hearing.
Yesterday, I wrote that a three-year deal made the most sense for both parties, and it seems they agreed.
Gagner will make $4.4 million this coming season and $5 million in 2014 and 2015, so his cap hit will be $4.8 million and he has a NMC, but it won't kick in until year two. (NMC usually includes a NTC, so I didn't write both), and like I wrote last night it might not include year three.
This deal works well for both sides.
Craig MacTavish made it clear the past two months that Gagner is the type of person and player the Oilers need. They like Gagner's leadership abilities and his desire to win. If Gagner can continue to progress offensively and improve his overall game, this will be a very good deal for the Oilers.
In three years, the salary cap could be at $75 million and giving Gagner another million a season shouldn't be a strain on their overall cap.
Gagner wanted to stay in Edmonton. He wants to win in Edmonton, and a three year deal only takes him two years into unrestricted free agency. Gagner will still be able test the free agent market as a 26/27 year old. (He'd be 26 when he signs a new deal, but 27 when the season starts).
I see this as a rare win-win for both sides.
The Oilers now have 14 forwards, 9 D-men and 2 goalies who will fight for a job on the opening day roster.
Dubnyk and Labarbera
Oscar Klefbom will also be in the mix, but unless he has an outstanding preseason, I'd expect him to start the season in the AHL. He only played 11 games last season, so it makes sense to let him get used to the North American game in the AHL.
Wil Acton and Ryan Hamilton are also expected to compete for a job on the 4th line, and both of them are on two-way deals. Hamilton is scheduled to make $600,000 in the NHL and $300,000 in the AHL, which usually means the organization feels he has a better chance than Acton of making the team.
The Oilers need another centre, but they don't have much cap space left. If you believe Eager and Potter start in the minors the Oilers would have about $1.8 million in cap space.
The Gagner signing was good, but MacTavish still needs to find some more depth down the middle.