SIGNING THE FRANCHISE

Over the next 24 months, the Edmonton Oilers management group will sign the future. How many years should they wrap up these kids? Is Taylor Hall–injuries and all–worth the risk of a 7-year deal? What does that do to Nuge negotiations a year from now? Should Jordan Eberle receive a matching deal?

At some level I imagine the Oilers’ brass would have been perfectly happy waiting for the new CBA. Cost certainty, contract limits in terms of years, the list of possible advantages for ownership/management in the new agreement is substantial based on what the owners want from the players.

However, the signing of Jeff Skinner puts Edmonton in a situation where waiiting may end up making them look foolish. Negotiations are a two-way street, and if the Hall camp ends up signing a deal inferior to Skinner’s under the new cba well that’s a lot of possible discontent.

On the other hand, a deal signed now would also be susceptible to rollback should the new deal impose a lower cap limit. It’s a sticky-wicket, as the British say.

WHAT TO DO?

My own feeling is that Hall is the one you secure this summer with a long term deal that could serve as an outer marker. Signing Hall to a deal similar to Skinner’s gives Edmonton a chance to set the bar and then slot in Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov as their contracts become eligible for renewal.

WHY HALL?

He’s the best player in the group of gifted forwards, already pushing the river against ever stiffening competition. I understand that his injury history is a concern, but Hall’s signing sends a clear message to the young impact players on the club: the Edmonton Oilers are committed to you for the long term.

After getting Hall’s name on a contract, the Oilers would have time to find a fair price for Jordan Eberle and perhaps establish the template for signing the Nuge and Nail Yakupov in future seasons.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Take it from an old guy who saw the glory days  and then watched all those young men leave town: it takes the wink of an eye to go from unknown quantity to an out of reach icon. There are only so many ways to cut the pie, and Edmonton management is blessed in one important way: their best player is also the guy whose contract comes due first. Meaning the club can sign him to a (say) 7-year, $44M contract and have that serve as their contract "line in the sand": no one goes beyond it.

If gathering all this talent and then keeping it for as long as possible is the plan, then now might be a very good time to sign Taylor Hall.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Schultz, Yakupov . . . isn’t it great having some players that any other team in the world would want?

    . . . it’s been a few years.

  • Cervantes

    Given how these guys compare to Max P and Skinner, everyone is realistically looking between 4.5 and 5.5 a season for a deal that takes them through to their mid/late twenties.

    By the time Schultz and Klefbom come due, assuming they’re both bona fide prospects deserving lots of cash, we’ll know which one of the kids is the weakest of the bunch, and I’d expect him to get moved. Either that, or in a few years they’ll all be great and he sky will be expendable. Either way, I don’t see upcoming cap as too much of an issue. These guys are not getting a 10×10 deal.

  • Cervantes

    The ‘line in the sand’ concept is interesting as it’s similar to what Detroit with Lidstrom. I agree that Taylor Hall is our franchise player and while the contract is more of a projection than anything, I feel like his value is as low as it’s going to get. Sky is the limit for him.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Nuge makes everyone around him better,bar none,because he manages the ice surface better than everyone else and he is a center,he is our Franchise player,and it should be simple to sign the rest as they are aware of this,and with this core obviusly the first guy to get pushy and rock the boat salary wise is history no matter who he is,right now we could trade any of our big four and still be a future powerhouse.

    Dollars are dictated by league standards,so really its not complicated,the length of the deals is the kicker,but remember the more off-base the deal the higher the likelyhood of that contract being tagged as a future trade before it is even signed??Players need to be careful that they dont decide their destinys with dollars they wont really care about if they are 15 yr vets who have never made the playoffs.

    In terms of what they already have put on the table,Sam Gagner is my biggest surprise,he has been the biggest enigma I have ever seen in Edmonton ,he took one for the team on his one year deal,and allowed the Oilers to dump him into the “prove yourself and we will pay you”category again,but he is a key and core player here,I think he will score 30goals and 30assists minimum this year,and the goals are what the team needs from the 2nd line the most.

    We will in my opinion see Sam with a C on his chest as an Oiler ,I felt that after his second year,more after his third,and today even moreso.I predict he will begin to produce multiple point games on a regular basis and will continue to do so for his career,I believe his defensive conditioning is over and he is ready for his next evolutionary step as a player which so happens to be offense and goal scoreing.He is in an opposite dynamic to most of our young core players,who have been showing mostly their offense since they broke into the league,because we asked them to,but the reality is that Sam Gagner is a one-of-a-kind player on our team,he carries the facets Horcoff carries and he is so young,and really he makes Horcs redundant.Like Potter does with Whitney.So Sam and his development play into this equation enough to be mentioned.

    This is becomeing a challengeing team to manage and it is a good thing we are so deep in the management department,from Kevin Lowe right down we are loaded with top level professionals,they look to be capable as a group and should sort this out ASAP with minmal problems.

    I think Hall will demand a shorter length because he wants to be a leader,a Captain,and he will not be happy if he gets logjammed behind Sam and Nuge ,he is like mess but is more goal orientated less task orientated Hall already knows what he wants to be,Mess figured it out along the way.Hall will ask for 5 yrs,no more.

    Nuge will be a long term maybe 10 yrs.

    Ebbs will be interesting because of what he has done so far,I think he will go with the same as Hall 5 yrs.Hall wants to be a captain and Ebbs is very happy being a hired gun–they already seem like a two-fer-one deal.Together they could catalyse a sucessfull team in 5 yrs or so.

    Gagners next deal will be a long one maybe six years.He is staying here.

    Yakupov will be a swing vote in our teams future because he will be in a great spot to decide his fate ,he can either stay with Sam and Nuge or split with Hall and Ebbs if they decide to go it on their own.

    If we can make the playoffs this year,and compete within three years on a high level we should win a cup soon enough to keep everyone here past that 5 year wall.if we dont at least see deep playoffs,we will see some alpha personalitys move to where they can win.Money or not.

    If we can establish a dominant system of play here it will help keep players here,we need to find a way to keep them all happy and evolveing,we need to produce a tremendous amount of opportunity and we need to spread it around every night.We need the NHS.

    Sign Nuge for 10yrs,show Hall the wisdom of 5yrs and also Ebbs,let Yakupov decide his own fate Russians like that feeling they play better and with more passion if they are in control of everything includeing intangibles,sign Gagner for six yrs so he can work with Nuge until he is ready to take the C and carry the team.Or maybe Hall or an unknown will have naturally taken the leadership role from them both before his 5 yrs is up and the entire dynamic changes.But we need to leverage these possibilitys.

    And finally since the Oilers are so famous for their collaborative round table discussions with management,why dont they invite their core players to an informal round table discussion together and just ask them what they want,after all as team management arent they supposed to be satisfying the needs of their players as a group as well as as individuals,with both sets of dynamic concerns accounted for.Opportunity is what all these studs want and management needs a way to sell that to them and then to deliver on the sale.

    What kind of opportunity studded-carrot can the Oilers dangle in front of these players to keep them focused on the same career goals together???Moneys not enough and neither are NTCs.We cant even give them playoffs yet,so what exactly can we give them?Maybe the round table discussion would give them control over their futures on a level like no other NHL team has ever seen,a round table meeting of everyone at Katzs house where all gets done in a day and a night.Keep agents and any formal team negotiating reps out,and just sort it our by ONLY listening to the players as a group,only considering their needs,and empowering them all like no other NHLers,we need to give them something that is on the level of what they give us as a group and assign value to that decision to stay together as a group.This needs to be players and owner,with a policy maker–not a negotiator onhand to enact the owners wishes as per his understanding of what his men want and need to put them in an elite category amongst their peers.At the end of the day its him and them anyways.Cut out the middlemen dureing the decision makeing process then officially let them make their buck after the real work is done instead of actually involveing them in the real work,make them well paid figureheads and just get business moveing along.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Wow. I tried to digest that thesis, I really did, but it was so damned long. Stan Ganger the captain? Instead of Hall??? Honestly, and this is just my pet peeve, does the word ‘orientated’ become even more powerful than ‘oriented’ with the extra syllable at the end?

  • Milli

    Hall is the definite leader. This team goes as Hall goes. Lock him up now. He may not be the most skilled or best, but never forget the intangibles. Then take care of Ebs and Nuge, we want them all long term, OILERS FOREVER would be nice!

  • Milli

    hall 8 years at 48mill(6 mill per)
    eberle 8 years at 42mill(5.5 mil per)
    nuge 7 years at 49mill(7 mill per)

    while hall is the workhorse,future captain and heartbeat of this team,nuge will be the point leader year after year with eberle close behind,set the mark with hall and ebs,then nuge next year and if yaks works out sign him to eberle money,your core 4 guys for 23.5 mill per