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.

  • Sage advice.

    Its interesting that Rishaug reported on Gregor’s show that the Oilers are talking to Hall’s agents about an extension, but not Eberle’s.

    Perhaps the Oilers see it the same way?

    I don’t think you can sign Hall any cheaper than today, and I don’t think Eberle won’t be any more expensive than it is today.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Im with OilDoug, Hall is the leader and should wear the C when the time comes. His never quit losing is not an option attitude is something I hope is contagious in the locker room.

    Im hoping ST doesnt low ball the kid because of his injuries. I think Hall will change his game just enough to play at least 75 games per season from here on out.

    I’d sign Hall to a 6mil deal with bonuses that could bump up his pay to 7-8mil/yr.

    • I hate to burst all of your bubbles on here but the simple fact remains that as talented as Hall is and/or appears to be, he hasn’t proven it yet. He’s only managed to get 53 poinst thus far and has been injured both seasons. People rag on Hemsky because he is injury prone or on Gagner because he only get 45ish points a season. Crosby’s cap is 8.7mill and your saying we should offer up to that much already for Hall, come on people.

      Gagner and Hall are similar at the same time in there careers and Gagner was give a 3.2 mill contract. I think Hall is a better player, has cracked 50 points, better defensively and drives the play so he should get a larger contract. I think 4.5 to 5 mill for 3-5 years is very fair at this point in his career. If they want to go to 7 years I would put the max at around 5.5mill.

      Gagner was on the up and up as well and people thought he was going to be the next big thing in edm putting 65+ points a season and look whats happened. If a player on the team deserves a 6 mill contract it would be Eberle yet people want to offer him less. Please consider the facts. You should only make what you earn not what you might be able to do in the future.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        Yes Hall hasn’t played more than 65 games, but like you said he got 53 points in that time frame, thats a tad below a point/game clip.

        I do agree that the length of his next contract shouldnt be more than 5 yrs, but I also added bonus $$ to push it upwards of 7-8mil so if he didnt hit those bonus’ he wouldnt be paid as much as Crosby.

        I do think Hall while change his game as I said before so he can play closer to the 82 game mark( barring illnesses and whatnot).

        A slight over payment at 6mil isnt really that much.

        I think Eberle should be paid the same as Hall imo as should RNH when the time comes.

    • bardfromedson

      why overpay? i know its the oiler way but if they give hall 7 mill on his second contract they will be overpaying all the kids and be up against a lowered cap in no time with no money to sign anyone else. the standard should be tavares and toews,not a knee slap deal that is skinners. you can lock up all the kids for 5 year deals at 5.5 million. thats fair and gives the oilers room to sign others. they won’t be winning the cup with the 4 studs up front if there all making 6 plus and no room for anyone else.

  • OilDoug

    I think Hall is the leader of the group and the one the other 3 will look to as the leader of the team. I have no doubt that as soon as the “C” comes off Horcoff’s jersey it’s going right on Hall’s jersey.

    I am a little concerned that Hall’s fearless and somewhat reckless style of play will hurt him in the long run. I love the way the kid plays but he needs to learn to protect himself. If moving him to center, similar to Messier, will do that so be it.

    My thought is a 5-7 year deal at $6 million per season. Eberle and Nuge would slot in at $5-5.5 million per season.

    Like everyone on this site I think the future is so bright for this team that they have to wear tinted visors on the ice but it all depends on Tambillini’s ability to get these guys signed.

    GO OIL!

  • Lowetide

    Toro: Hall will play this season under the old deal. The contract that we’re discussing would begin in the 13-14 season. A 7-year deal would mean Hall’s first 10 seasons are as an Oiler

  • Toro

    Hey good read, but was wondering say oilers sign hall to 6 yr deal does it start after his current entry level contract is over and having him locked down for 7 years or does it start this season and start counting against the cap now ?

  • John Chambers

    Interesting perspective, LT.

    There’s certainly a logical argument to be made in terms of keeping your franchise player happy and not pushing the negotiation too hard. In fact, I would be on board with up to a 10-year deal for Hall, but it’s not my money. My rationale is that the Oil haven’t had a player of his calibre since Messier, and if you’re not willing to take risks to become an elite franchise, why bother at all.

    Lock the fab four up, and sign ’em to a long term. You can afford to have one of them not pan out. You can’t afford to have them depart.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    i swear to gretzky if tambo bungles these deals up i will be so angry i will come up with my own new age system while sitting in my living room