GAGNER SIGNS FOR THREE YEARS

Jason Gregor
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.

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Perron-Gagner-Yakupov
Jones-Gordon-Hemsky
Smyth-Lander-Joensuu
Brown-Eager

J.Schultz-Ference
Smid-Petry
N.Schultz-Grebeshkov
Potter-Larsen
Belov

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.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Serious Gord
July 22 2013, 08:33AM
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BIG mistake.

Nice guys with skill sets the oil has in surplus should be traded - not given NTC contracts.

Classic case of 'falling in love with the inventory.'

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#2 gm_armchair
July 22 2013, 08:35AM
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Near perfect contract for the player and the team, wish it was one or two years longer but three's a good number at 4.8

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#3 Ei8HTYSE7EN
July 22 2013, 08:35AM
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Glad to have Gagner back at a great price.

5 year deal would have been better but this works for me.

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#4 Smokey
July 22 2013, 08:38AM
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Stangely reasonable contract, makes you wonder why Sam did not take the one year arbitrators award and and go to FA.

Any idea of the terms of the NMC.

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#5 Jackson
July 22 2013, 08:38AM
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Given Gagner had very little trade value, Oilers needed to sign him. Perhaps at some point Oilers will find a 2nd line C. I've said it before it is not about the money it is about the fit. At least Oilers again will have a lottery pick.

Well Oilers continue on their quest to build a good regular season team.

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#6 oilerz
July 22 2013, 08:39AM
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Three more years of Snowpants, three more years in the basement. Way to go Klowe and MacT. Winning teams never have a player like Gagner as their top centreman.

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#7 StuckOutHere
July 22 2013, 08:39AM
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I like it. Now we just need a bottom 6. Isn't that what mact said needed fixing the most?

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#8 Romulus' Apotheosis
July 22 2013, 08:40AM
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Great call on the years JG.

Good deal. I would rather last year they got him for 5 or 6 years at 4.2 AAV or thereabouts, but given the hammer Tambo gave Gagner, this was a real win for MacT.

He's killing it this summer so far. A lot more work to do, but so far the grade is a clear B+ with a hold on the other shoe.

------

"J.Schultz-Ference Smid-Petry N.Schultz-Grebeshkov Potter-Larsen Belov"

I don't know if you just wrote these names down as they came to you or if you are projecting a depth chart....

but if the latter, I'd take issue with your off-side moves and your low estimation of Belov.

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#10 Dave
July 22 2013, 08:41AM
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I like three year deals for players that you do not know exactly what you are getting. Amount and term are fine.

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#11 Dennis
July 22 2013, 08:41AM
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Ei8HTYSE7EN wrote:

Glad to have Gagner back at a great price.

5 year deal would have been better but this works for me.

I think a longer deal would have cost them a lot more money in the final years. Sam took a bit of a discount with the shorter term.

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#13 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
July 22 2013, 08:43AM
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Hey Jason I posted this in the other thread but I'll repost it here so we're on the same page. Do you think Philly would trade Brayden Schenn? I like that he has (somewhat of) a meanstreak, and I think he's the lesser prospect of their two young centers.

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#14 Bigfan
July 22 2013, 08:45AM
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This is pretty good for MacT given the situation. The Oil still have an asset with some value: The NTC does not kick in for a year and at that point Sam is available for 2 years at $5m per year so he could be an attractive option for another team in a trade. MacT now has a year to find a 2C that will take the team to the next level. He could have done much worse. Hopefully Yak, Nuge and J Schultz can be locked up long term as masterfully!

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#15 LinkfromHyrule
July 22 2013, 08:45AM
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Considering the difference between the two parties was over 2 mil, I'm impressed that macT kept it under 5 mil and longer than one year. If there's one thing that irritates me about oilers fans it is that no matter what the team does someone will find something to cry about. Without gagner, we are screwed.

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#16 Serious Gord
July 22 2013, 08:47AM
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@Jason Gregor

That surplus exists on the wings. Gagner fills a spot with capabilities we don't need. 60 percent of the ice time will now have no physical presence at center OR the wings. The biggest weakness this team has has NOT been addressed.

(The sycophancy of the sports reporting world in Edmonton never ceases to amaze. As someone who in years past listened to and read the sports media of the NE US it truly is remarkable the free ride hockey execs get here)

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#17 Oilcruzer
July 22 2013, 08:51AM
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This works. Still would have preferred a modded NMC. Shorter term is fair tradeoff. Gives assessment time and doesn't penalize Oil for choosing to develop Sam in the show.

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#18 EHH Team
July 22 2013, 08:53AM
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I have to believe MacT will be trying very hard to make a trade. He won't want to take the team into the season so close to the cap. He should want to give all players, including Eager & Potter, a chance to make the team on merit, and not be forced to bury them at OKC.

Would Hemsky (with some salary retained) plus Potter or Nick Shultz be enough to get a cheaper decent right winger to replace Hemsky?

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#19 marty62
July 22 2013, 08:56AM
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I have to laugh about the people saying the oilers have plenty of guys like Gagner. For offensive centers we have 2 that are NHL players. Gagner and Nuge, and Nuge likely wont be healthy until novemberish.... I cant wait to see Gagner put up some big numbers with Yak and Perron on his wings.....

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#20 sizzler
July 22 2013, 08:57AM
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Great deal for both parties. Gagner gets good money and still a UFA in Prime. Oilers get a competitive player at reasonable price anlong with time to see what player like lander, Khaira and others are going to turn out. In 3 yrs if any beat gagner to that second line role, oilers win the deal.

Trading hemmer will make room for 1 more signing.

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#21 Todd
July 22 2013, 08:58AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

That surplus exists on the wings. Gagner fills a spot with capabilities we don't need. 60 percent of the ice time will now have no physical presence at center OR the wings. The biggest weakness this team has has NOT been addressed.

(The sycophancy of the sports reporting world in Edmonton never ceases to amaze. As someone who in years past listened to and read the sports media of the NE US it truly is remarkable the free ride hockey execs get here)

So what would you have preferred Mr Smarty GM? Arbitration 1 year deal? Lose him for nothing?

I think we should have paid him $1 mil on a 2 way contract. But in the real world he had all the power.

I'd argue this is about as good as the team could have got. The alternative is to let him walk as a UFA or trade him for draft picks next spring. Not sure how that helps the team move forward.

In the real world, circumstance has to be factored in, not just what you want to pay someone or what you think they are worth vis a vis your needs on the team. Its a bit different than Xbox NHL GM mode.

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#22 Spydyr
July 22 2013, 09:03AM
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Doesn't Mac-T keep stating he sees Sam as a winger?

The Journal reports the NMC-NTC kicks in next year.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Gagner+seals+three+year+million+deal/8691270/story.html

There is still time to get the second line center the team needs.

Gagner on the wing sure, fine. Second line center not so much.

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#23 Felt
July 22 2013, 09:03AM
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I'm wondering how long it will take for most of the Oilers fans to turn on Gagner and want to trade him.

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#24 Clyde Frog
July 22 2013, 09:07AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Doesn't Mac-T keep stating he sees Sam as a winger?

The Journal reports the NMC-NTC kicks in next year.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Gagner+seals+three+year+million+deal/8691270/story.html

There is still time to get the second line center the team needs.

Gagner on the wing sure, fine. Second line center not so much.

An RFA can't have a NTC/NMC so the clause couldn't kick in until Sam was technically in his Free Agent years.

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#25 Craig1981
July 22 2013, 09:08AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

That surplus exists on the wings. Gagner fills a spot with capabilities we don't need. 60 percent of the ice time will now have no physical presence at center OR the wings. The biggest weakness this team has has NOT been addressed.

(The sycophancy of the sports reporting world in Edmonton never ceases to amaze. As someone who in years past listened to and read the sports media of the NE US it truly is remarkable the free ride hockey execs get here)

Ya, who needs a centerman that can put up 60-7p points thats one of the most fit players in the NHL

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#26 Harlie
July 22 2013, 09:09AM
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Decent signing, I like everything about Gagner except his size. Not much we can do about that now, get some points Gags, we need em'!

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#27 Spydyr
July 22 2013, 09:10AM
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Felt wrote:

I'm wondering how long it will take for most of the Oilers fans to turn on Gagner and want to trade him.

Some would have liked to see him traded already.

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#29 Smokey
July 22 2013, 09:12AM
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Any actual word on Nuge's ETA rather then assumption. With the drunken buying frenzy of MacT for overpriced surplus defencemen added to his assortment of pre-overpaid defence there is little quid for paying for an actual center now that we overpaid Gagner. Not looking like a playoff team for sure if Nuge ain't back by Nov or fully healthy by December.

Wonder what shakes loose with Hemsky, Nick Schultz, and all our decencemen now? I don't buy MacT is going to eat salary of Hemsky if hes getting a lesser player. Still think Hemsky to NJ to play with Jagr and Elias would rock. Nick Schultz, we may on the other hand have to eat salary. Wonder if Schultz will get sent out for picks.

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#30 Mark-LW
July 22 2013, 09:13AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

That surplus exists on the wings. Gagner fills a spot with capabilities we don't need. 60 percent of the ice time will now have no physical presence at center OR the wings. The biggest weakness this team has has NOT been addressed.

(The sycophancy of the sports reporting world in Edmonton never ceases to amaze. As someone who in years past listened to and read the sports media of the NE US it truly is remarkable the free ride hockey execs get here)

Edmonton was 18th last year in goals per game. A clear surplus of scoring forwards.

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#31 The Soup Fascist
July 22 2013, 09:14AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

That surplus exists on the wings. Gagner fills a spot with capabilities we don't need. 60 percent of the ice time will now have no physical presence at center OR the wings. The biggest weakness this team has has NOT been addressed.

(The sycophancy of the sports reporting world in Edmonton never ceases to amaze. As someone who in years past listened to and read the sports media of the NE US it truly is remarkable the free ride hockey execs get here)

Because someones opinion differs from yours they are suddenly sycophants, towing the party line?

In large, the media has been rightly critical of Oilers management. There is a long list of guys, Gregor included, mainstream and non-MSM, who have asked the tough questions and been critical. Do you not remember Lowe losing his mind when asked about his capabilities, spurring on the "six rings" comments.

Gagner's signing today is not about whether he is a great 2nd line center - it is about protecting an asset. Period.

Feel free to enlighten us on your evaluation of talent, Gagner's or anyone else,or line combinations or suitability to play a certain role - that is what this blog is for. But please give me a break in playing the "company man" card because someone happens to agree with the occasional move a GM makes. It appears your comments are not based on logic or fact, but rather because the position disagrees with your view of the world - such as it is.

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#33 madjam
July 22 2013, 09:16AM
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Well done MacT. and welcome back Gagner . I pegged one year settlement half way point @ $4.385 M and it ends up $4.4 M . Taking normal increase with no term beyond a year and Gagner would have increased to $4.84 on second year and $5.32 on third year . Well done MacT.-impressive !

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#34 Smokey
July 22 2013, 09:18AM
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Craig1981 wrote:

Ya, who needs a centerman that can put up 60-7p points thats one of the most fit players in the NHL

Gagner one of the fitest players in the NHL? Love these ficticious made up statements that make rounds. Im not saying hes not up there, just these statements have come up only on Oiler blogs.

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#35 Todd
July 22 2013, 09:20AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You must not been listening closely on my show. I've said for years they need more size up front. MacTavish has said it since he got hired, but teams don't just give away big, strong, skilled forwards.

Signing Gagner for 3 years, doesn't mean MacTavish loves the make up of his team, but getting Gagner on a 1-year deal in arbitration would have been idiotic. He could then walk for nothing next season.

You evaluate each signing separately. Gagner's deal is one that allows Oilers to see if he can progress, and it gives them time to fill out other spots on the team. His contract is also easily tradeable. If he has a good year this year, teams will want him, and his NMT won't kick in until July 1st next year.

Two years of a NMT for a player who is 25 and 26 isn't that hard to work around. Also hearing the final year of deal might not include a NMT, only year two. Which is what I wrote yesterday.

Your idea to not sign Gagner, because the wingers are too small, would weaken the team, not make them better.

^^ THIS

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#36 barry.moore23
July 22 2013, 09:23AM
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My vote doesn't count but I vote anyway to go back to the copper and midnite blue. The orange and blue is in the past. Keep pushin', boys.

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#37 Craig1981
July 22 2013, 09:27AM
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@Smokey

Na, I will say it about others too. Cammalleri has reputation for training hard as does Chara. Its not that their aren't others, but it is something that makes him unique compared to most.

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#38 Jeffff
July 22 2013, 09:27AM
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Michael dal Colle Oilers 2nd line Center

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#39 The Soup Fascist
July 22 2013, 09:28AM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

An RFA can't have a NTC/NMC so the clause couldn't kick in until Sam was technically in his Free Agent years.

You are correct. However, I suspect that there may be a handshake deal in place with Gagner that he is going nowhere unless he gives a nod to the trade.

I would prefer that the Oilers had the option to move him, should a good trade scenario come into play, but I expect Sam has received assurances that he will be here the full three years.

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#40 NewfoundlandOil
July 22 2013, 09:29AM
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I really don't understand how some posters do not like this deal. This seems an obvious fit for both player and team.

I suspect regardless of the deal a certain population will have their panties in a bind, simply because they always do. You know who you are.

Anyway, a great deal for the Oilers and another feather in MacT's cap.

Wow two complete scoring lines, when did we last see that?

Edit: Also, did anyone ever think that this team was going to be constructed into a a success without giving some NMC/NTC to high end players. I think to expect that would be unrealistic.

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#41 Tom
July 22 2013, 09:33AM
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barry.moore23 wrote:

My vote doesn't count but I vote anyway to go back to the copper and midnite blue. The orange and blue is in the past. Keep pushin', boys.

No way. Keep the orange and blue. Best looking Unis in the league.

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#42 Dman09
July 22 2013, 09:41AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Doesn't Mac-T keep stating he sees Sam as a winger?

The Journal reports the NMC-NTC kicks in next year.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Gagner+seals+three+year+million+deal/8691270/story.html

There is still time to get the second line center the team needs.

Gagner on the wing sure, fine. Second line center not so much.

Exactly, I have no problem with the deal he signed just don't think it is right to have him at Center. As it stands right now nothing has changed at center all said and done. There is really only one guy that can consistently win faceoffs and that is a big problem from my perspective.

I have a feeling they will try Hall out at Center this season, if it doesn't work they will likely trade Gagner for a center before the NTC kicks in. But if Hall excels at center, and I think he will, then they will keep Gagner to play the wing.

In Reality MacT has set himself up with options later this season while keeping the player happy. Very good plan for the future should things not work out.

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#43 Freewheeling Freddie
July 22 2013, 09:43AM
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It looks like another year without playoffs. How are we going to compete with La san Jose and Anaheim? As much as I like Sam I think he will be traded by July of next year. The lockout was a waste of time. These players are all over paid. Sams length of contract I really like as I feel every contract should be 3 yrs tops. The oil are better but playoff better? I guess will shall see

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#44 Soccer Steve
July 22 2013, 09:49AM
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Love it that people are complaining about this as if you had any real say to being with.

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#45 DieHard
July 22 2013, 09:52AM
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Gagner just needs to become a "hard to play against" player. He's got to become effective at both ends. He does not stir the drink but the puck also doesn't die on his stick. This is an important year for Gagner. It's up to him if he really wants to be an Oiler.

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#46 WhattaMike
July 22 2013, 09:52AM
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My supportive opinion of Gagner was that I wished he would sign for $.4.5 mil to $4.75 mil per yr at say 4 to 5 yrs max.

The most I was okay (not too happy with) with would have been $5 mil a yr but without a NTC or NMC.

I was strong on that I don't like those NTC or NMC type deals as well....but...this is a deal i do like very much.

Today's deal is with an excellent salary (given today's NHL market), is of an excellent starting term of jut 3 yrs (which either he proves himself or can be traded in his prime), and most of all, there is an out for the Oilers this yr in that the NTC/NMC does not kick in until next July...(which I can live with).

I am very happy this type short term deal was made considering the circumstances. Now let the kid play his heart out and show us he can do the job or not...

MacT did a great negotiations here and he keeps impressing me with being a rookie GM so far.Congrats to both sides and may success follow into this deal!!!

Now...Hemsky has to be dealt, a defenceman will have to be traded as well (I'm thinking N. Schultz), and the Oilers need at least one big tough good bottom six winger who can duke it out when needed...and one other centre such as Steckel or Zack Smith, IMO,

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#47 PutzStew
July 22 2013, 09:53AM
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Jackson wrote:

Given Gagner had very little trade value, Oilers needed to sign him. Perhaps at some point Oilers will find a 2nd line C. I've said it before it is not about the money it is about the fit. At least Oilers again will have a lottery pick.

Well Oilers continue on their quest to build a good regular season team.

Uhmmm. Just about every one of the other 29 teams would have been interested in Gagner, so I don't understand how he didn't have Trade Value.

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#48 Romulus' Apotheosis
July 22 2013, 09:55AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

It wasn't a depth chart...if it was Potter would be 10th...behind Klefbom.

cool.

you have to think someone is on the way out and maybe a bigger piece coming back.

Coburn-Petry Smid-Ference Belov-J. Schultz Grebs-Larsen

That is some phenomenal D depth. Haven't seen the likes of that since... wow at least 06.

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#49 PutzStew
July 22 2013, 10:01AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

The Oilers don't have a surplus of offensive centres actually. They have very little depth at centre.

This team is a few years away from being a serious contender, if they ever become one, and the NTC for a player with a respectable cap hit, and under 27 won't be a hindrance.

I think "Little Depth at Center" is an over statement to say the least right now, especially if RNH starts the season on IR.

Personally I love this. Always liked Sam. The team has been mismanaging him since he was 18 so I glad he got his payday.

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#50 fig pucker
July 22 2013, 10:01AM
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i'm happy with this deal in respect to dollars and term. thank god we stuck with gags and didn't sign grabovski, that would have been a gong show. to any one unhappy with this deal, look at it this way, the leafs signed bozak for five years at average 4.2 million a year, gags for three years at 4.8 million is right on par with market value for a player of his caliber. good job mact!

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