THOUGHTS ON DUBNYK, PETRY AND GAGNER

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
Henrik Lundqvist 62 1753 123 1.97 1630 0.930 $6.87
Jonathan Quick 69 1863 133 1.95 1730 0.929 $1.70
Jaroslav Halak 46 1211 90 1.97 1121 0.926 $3.75
Pekka Rinne 72 2153 166 2.39 1987 0.923 $7.00
Kari Lehtonen 59 1739 136 2.33 1603 0.922 $3.55
Miikka Kiprusoff 68 2040 162 2.35 1878 0.921 $5.83
Jimmy Howard 57 1496 119 2.13 1377 0.920 $2.25
Tim Thomas 55 1659 132 2.36 1527 0.920 $5.00
Roberto Luongo 54 1577 127 2.41 1450 0.919 $5.33
Niklas Backstrom 45 1299 105 2.43 1194 0.919 $6.00
Jose Theodore 51 1502 125 2.46 1377 0.917 $1.50
Tomas Vokoun 46 1299 108 2.51 1191 0.917 $2.00
Carey Price 65 1914 160 2.43 1754 0.916 $6.50
Ryan Miller 60 1788 150 2.55 1638 0.916 $6.25
Antti Niemi 68 1865 159 2.42 1706 0.915 $3.80
Cam Ward 68 2143 182 2.74 1961 0.915 $6.30
Craig Anderson 60 1917 165 2.84 1752 0.914 $3.18
Devan Dubnyk 42 1380 118 2.67 1262 0.914 $3.50
Evgeni Nabokov 41 1172 101 2.55 1071 0.914 $2.75
Marc-Andre Fleury 64 1768 153 2.36 1615 0.913 $5.00
Semyon Varlamov 52 1564 136 2.59 1428 0.913 $2.83
Jonas Hiller 73 2021 182 2.57 1839 0.910 $4.50
Nikolai Khabibulin 40 1114 100 2.65 1014 0.910 $3.75
Ilya Bryzgalov 57 1554 141 2.48 1413 0.909 $5.67
Martin Brodeur 59 1472 136 2.41 1336 0.908 $4.50
Ondrej Pavelec 67 2036 191 2.91 1845 0.906 $3.90
Corey Crawford 55 1507 146 2.72 1361 0.903 $2.67
Mathieu Garon 44 1191 118 2.85 1073 0.901 $1.30
Steve Mason 45 1355 143 3.39 1212 0.894 $2.90

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.

  • YoungOil

    If Dubnyk went to arb, the contracts signed by Rask/Schnieder/Pavelec could not be used as comparables (if I’m not mistaken). He didn’t have the kind of leverage that makes that contract reasonable. I like Dubnyk, and he very well could prove worthy, but they signed him to a contract that they didn’t have to. $2.25Mx2 would have been sufficient, imo.

    Sam Gagner will likely get more than Derek Brassard’s $3.2M per (signed a few yrs ago), and could even approach Brandon Dubinsky’s $4.2M (signed last yr). Maybe Ales Hemsky’s last deal ($4.1Mx6) is an option, although I doubt Oil go 6 yrs. Guessing around $3.75Mx4 for Sam.

    • RPG

      There is nothing to suggest he would have taken a 2 year deal at 2.5. I’d suspect he’d have taken the market value 2.5 on a one year. Then next summer he’s a UFA and you’re back to square one and he holds all the cards. It’s not like he signed a five year 5.25 million dollar contact.

    • book¡e

      I think Gagner at 3.5 mil is an awesome signing, I would even consider 5 years at that price. I think the problem is that he is looking to get similar money to Grabovski at 5.5 mil and that is just too much for him at this stage. If they can get a 5 year front loaded deal done under 4.0 mil cap hit I think that would be a good signing.

  • YoungOil

    Q: Any chance that the Oilers can get Doan?

    Edit: He could be our third line RW. IF he is here, the top 9 up may look like this:
    Hall-RNH-Eberle
    Hemsky-Gagner-Yaks
    Smyth-Horcoff-Doan

    Three scoring lines?

  • book¡e

    “Of course shots on goal don’t accurately reflect quality scoring chances,”

    Well, actually they do, at least in terms of shots at goal (Fenwick).

    Ultimately, the deal for Dubnyk is fair when you look at his performance and how he slots in vs other goalies in the league.

    What I didn’t like was that the Oilers had a lot of leverage here and didn’t use it.

    1. Dubnyk was an RFA.

    2. While he’s been good for the Oilers he has very little name recognition around the league.

    3. Related to #2, there aren’t many teams looking for goaltenders, and the ones that are aren’t going to give $3.5 mil to a guy like Dubnyk.

    With Schneider, if you believe the chatter, there was a real risk of a potential offer sheet so it was in the Canucks best interest to get him signed on their terms. Not so much here with Dubnyk.

    I think the Oilers could have gotten a much better deal here.

  • Brownlee loves the word meow

    I guess a different way of looking at Dubnyk is asking the question.. Could you of signed him for less? Even on a longer term deal? Of this i have very little doubt. He may show to be worth this contract.. I certainly hope so. But the more value contracts a GM can get the better chances this team will be able to compete by procuring free agents and keeping its star players. I think that this management team seems to have a difficult time grasping that concept and this is yet another example of that.

  • book¡e

    Good read. I agree with petry being a good signing. Gagner should get a longer contract, at least three years IMO. I think that’s what’s caused him to file. I think he wants to be here for a long time and the oilers aren’t sure yet if he is the right fit. Loving the dubnyk signing as well. I think in two years he’s goin to get a longer deal at least five years long. Hopefully that’s with the oilers cause I can see him growing and developing into a top tier goalie

  • Brownlee loves the word meow

    Nugent Hopkins is about 6’1 175. He looks like he’ll be around the same body type as a Tyler Seguin, tall and rangy. But I think everyone agrees that they need more diversity within their lineup.