On the same day that the Edmonton Oilers announced new contracts for restricted free agents Jeff Petry and Devan Dubnyk, another elected to file for salary arbitration. Sam Gagner is one of 15 players to file for arbitration this summer.
Scott Reynolds of Copper and Blue looked at a list of likely comparables for Gagner late last month and suggested that based on the contracts those players received the Oilers really don’t have much to worry about:
The median contract is in fact Gagner’s last contract, which is a bit amusing, and serves to highlight the ways in which Gagner’s performance by the traditional offensive measures has stagnated. It’s also fun that he and Jakub Voracek continue to track well with one another as they have ever since they were drafted. But the best thing here for the Oilers is the absence of any truly scary numbers. Granted, Gagner has way more games played than most of these players, but even if he ends up at the high end of this chart (based on established performance), he wouldn’t end up grossly overpaid and would likely remain a desirable commodity via trade.
The only players on Reynold’s list to receive a contract north of $3.0 million per season were Stephen Weiss ($3.1 million/year on a six-year contract) and Dave Bolland ($3.375 million/year on a five-year deal). Both of those contracts took those players into unrestricted free agency; a one or two-year deal for Gagner wouldn’t do that.
I’ve argued previously that Gagner’s next contract would give us a good idea of whether or not the Oilers regarded him as a key part of their future. A short-term deal – especially a deal reached through the combative arbitration process – would be an indicator that the Oilers do not envision him as a long-term part of the plan down the middle.
If the Oilers do see Gagner as part of this rebuild, the best idea is probably to sign him to a longer-term deal before arbitration begins. On a four or five-year deal similar to that signed by Weiss or Bolland, Gagner would be an affordable secondary scoring option over the long haul.
This week by Jonathan Willis
- Tom Renney joins the Detroit Red Wings
- Why not Michal Rozsival?
- Have the Edmonton Oilers done enough?
- Wild sign Parise and Suter – how much better will they be?
- Was Justin Schultz leaving the Ducks unfair?
- Steve Tambellini on the Oilers now and in the future
- Bargain signing: Guillaume Latendresse goes to Ottawa
- Bargain signing: Brad Boyes joins the Islanders
- Darcy Hordichuk re-signs in Edmonton
- Ray Whitney signs with the Dallas Stars: Two years, $9.0 million
- Ryan Smyth re-signs with the Edmonton Oilers
- Free agency: It’s a $70 million cap world, now.
- Jay Grossman talks about the Khabibulin contract
- The UFA market for defensemen: it’s going to get ugly
- Ralph Krueger: in the driver’s seat