“Sam Gagner has really developed into a leader here, the type of character we want. And that’s going to be important when I’m making the decisions that we have the type of culture in that room. We’ve had a few years of too much of a circus in there. And that’s going to change" Craig MacTavish
This is (as the British say) a sticky wicket for player and team. Ideally this contract would have been signed a year ago and run several seasons into free agency. Sam Gagner filed today for salary arbitration, meaning the clock is ticking for a one year deal (the arbitration guarantees a one year contract, since there’s no buying free agent seasons). This time next season, Gagner could be the youngest NHL free agent in league history and the Oilers want badly to make sure that doesn’t happen.
On the other hand, Gagner has been a good soldier for the Oilers, in fact he’s been instrumental in recruitment and has been a pleasure to watch with the puck. It’s certain his representation is pushing for a strong number, a number that is likely outside the Oilers comfort zone (obviously, since he remains unsigned).
What’s going to happen? In listening to Jason Gregor’s show lately, I’ve gotten the feeling that both sides are interested in getting this thing done. Gagner as an Oiler makes sense, both sides are saying the right things and the money will get done. That’s the feeling I get from listening to both sides, suspect it gets done well short of the hearing.
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES
The Oilers made a trade today, a big one, A BOLD ONE, if you will. David Perron is a veteran winger with terrific skills, and should be able to help turn those crazy 2line results from this past season. Perron is signed to a three year deal, and those seasons should be very successful in Edmonton. We talked about Perron here.
I think it’s a solid addition by Craig MacTavish, and Perron’s conversation with Jason Gregor earlier today suggests he’s very much looking forward to playing LW on the Oilers this coming season.
DON’T STOP THERE!
MacT’s quotes today were a stunning item for this Oilers fan. Allow me to quote the GM on the addition of Perron:
- "He’s right up there with controlling the play and shots for and against differential."
And then this one, courtesy Terry Jones:
- “It’ll be a good test for our analytics guys. They have him with some of the game’s elite.”
What does this tell us? The Oilers are paying attention to advanced stats–shots for and against differential is absolutely Corsi–and that is a tremendous sign for the Oilers and Oilers Nation. And when he talks about analytics guys, those are the people who are digging down to see which players can survive difficult zone starts, tough minutes, miles and miles of bad road. This is a brilliant day.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
It means that when the Oilers have a chance to improve their 3line this summer, fall or next spring, they’ll be signing or trading for more Daniel Winniks and fewer guys who can’t do that difficult job.
It means success. It means, at some level ladies and gentlemen, that the Perron trade might be the second best thing for Oiler fans today.
That’s a good day.