Jeff Petry and Devan Dubnyk received two-year contracts yesterday moments before the NHL announced that Sam Gagner was one of 16 players who filed for arbitration. Much of the early reaction from fans and the media was that Petry was a great signing, while Dubnyk got overpaid. I agree Petry’s deal was good, but I’m not sold that Dubnyk was that bad of a contract.
Everyone likes to trot out comparables and that makes sense, but we can only use them as talking points, because no two situations are the same.
In the last month Dubnyk along with Tuukka Rask, Cory Schneider and Ondrej Pavelec have all received new deals.
Pavelec: 5 years at $3.9 million/season.
Schneider: 3 years at $4 million/season.
Dubnyk: 2 years at $3.5 million/season.
Rask: 1year at $3.5 million.
Instantly many suggested that Dubnyk wasn’t in the same category as Schneider and Rask due to their records, SV% and GAA. If you only look at their records you are correct in assuming they are better, but when you look a bit deeper I’m not sold that the Oilers grossly overpaid Dubnyk.
Let’s compare these four goalies over the past two seasons.
Goalie GP GA SA SV% GAA EV SV%
Pavelec 126 336 3,741 .910 2.83 .922
Dubnyk 82 211 2,483 .915 2.68 .924
Schneider 58 111 1,659 .933 2.09 .932
Rask 52 105 1,487 .929 2.20 .926
In the past two years Rask averaged 28.5 shots per game, Schneider 28.6, Pavelec 29.6 and Dubnyk 30.2. Of course shots on goal don’t accurately reflect quality scoring chances, but one could say without much argument that the Jets/Thrashers and Oilers likely gave up more quality chances than the Bruins and Canucks.
What I found interesting is that Dubnyk has essentially the same EV SV% as Rask. The difference in their SV% came mostly on the PK.
Last year the Oilers spent 505:12 on the PK, 5th most in the league. Boston spent 422:46 on the PK.
When you look at Rask and Dubnyk’s EV numbers I can see why Dubnyk received a similar contract.
Schneider had great numbers in Vancouver. Statistically he is the best of the four, and he has the biggest cap hit. However, last year he only started three or more consecutive games twice. No one knows how he will react when he has to start 50 or 55 games.
I think there was just as much of a risk in giving Schneider three years at $4 million as there was giving Dubnyk two years at $3.5 million. Both teams handed out the money hoping they will both be able to start 55-60 games.
If you take a quick look across the league you will see that if Dubnyk can maintain, or improve, his .915 SV% and start at least 50 games his contract won’t be that out of line.
Here are last year’s SV% leaders and their 2013 cap hit.
|Player||GS||SA||GA||GAA||Sv||Sv%||2013 cap hit|
|Mike Smith||67||2066||144||2.21||1922||0.930||$2 million|
PETRY GREAT DEAL
Petry’s contract looks like a "great value" deal for the Oilers. Petry only has one full NHL season on his resume, but he really improved in the 2nd half of last season.
In the 43 games in 2012, Petry averaged 23:13 minutes. tallied 20 points and was a -5.
He was much more physical in the latter part of the season, and he found ways to use his excellent skating abilities to his advantage. Petry and Smid become a solid pairing, but Petry needs to shoot the puck more. He only had 111 shots and two goals. He has a decent shot and he needs to use it more effectively, but at $1.75 million he is a bargain.
GAGNER TO ARBITRATION
Gagner is one of 15 players who could go to arbitration. David Perron filed, but he already signed a four-year extension with the Blues moments after filing.
The list doesn’t have any star players, but Gagner, Versteeg, Quincey and Oshie will likely garner the most money.
- Nick Bonino, Anaheim Ducks
- Jamie McGinn, Colorado Avalanche
- Richard Bachman, Dallas Stars
- Mark Fistric, Dallas Stars
- Kyle Quincey, Detroit Red Wings
- Sam Gagner, Edmonton Oilers
- Kris Versteeg, Florida Panthers
- Raphael Diax, Montreal Canadiens
- Sergei Kostitsyn, Nashville Predators
- Mark Fayne, New Jersey Devils
- Anton Stralman, New York Rangers
- Kaspars Daugavins, Ottawa Senators
- T.J. Oshie, St. Louis Blues
- T.J. Galiardi, San Jose Sharks
- Dale Weise, Vancouver Canucks
Realistically only three or four players will go to arbitration, with the rest will likely coming to an agreement prior to their arbitration date. I suspect Gagner will recieve between $3.1-$3.5 million, but I’m more curious to see how long of a deal he receives.
Gagner is two years away from being unrestricted. He turns 23 in August and it is still a mystery as to what type of player he can be. Gagner has shown flashes that he could be a top-end #2 centre. He has excellent offensive instincts, he competes hard and he really wants to win and improve as a player.
Gagner has averaged 44 points over his five seasons, 49 if you prorate his seasons, and whether you want to admit it or not he is a bonafide 2nd line centre. Very few centres average 45 points a year in today’s game, and considering he’s only 22 you wonder if he’ll become a 50-55 point player or better over the next five years.
The real question isn’t how much Gagner will get from an arbitrator or the Oilers, but is he the longterm answer as a 2nd line centre in Edmonton. Of the Oilers skilled forwards only Taylor Hall is over six feet, and history shows you can’t win without some size in your top-six.
Gagner still wants to improve his footspeed, but I suspect he’ll need to become a better two-way centre if he wants to stay in Edmonton long term.
Signing Gagner to a three-year pact might be the best strategy for the Oilers. They lock him up three years, which is ample time to find out exactly what type of player he’ll be, and it also makes him more attractive on the trade market, if they choose to take that route.
I could see a three-year deal worth $9.6 million.