“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.


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.


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.


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.

  • DSF

    Whats Hemsky worth if we trade him now ? Probably the lowest value he will ever be at I suspect . At trade deadline comes perhaps a second plus . Then at seasons end it is possible for him to resign with us at a contract that might benefit us . Not saying it would happen , but not totally discarding it either depending on how well he does for us this season perhaps .

    Side note : Jets are bare/starved for offensive R.Wingers except for Wheeler . I’d be surprised if they were not interested in Hemsky .

    • MKE

      He has some value to the right team who has a need for his skill set. I know…i’m stating the obvious.

      If you could move him for a useful roster player without having to take any of Hemsky’s cap hit, I would say that would be a win. IMO

  • BArmstrong

    Derek Stepan? Is he still an RFA? Would he sign an offer sheet? Anything between 3.4 and 5 million is a first and a third compensation (Oiler’s have those, no?)

    If Stepan signs, move an unsigned Gags+ for #2 or #3 D-man.

  • MKE

    I think we’re pooched on the Gagner thing. Tambo F’d up hard. Now we’re looking at over paying big time. I think it’s time to look at trading Gagner, Hemmer (retain salary), 2014 first, and potentially a D prospect and Shultz Sr. as bullets. We need for 2 player back min. Then we can sign Grabovski for 2C. I’d rather have Sam, but i’m not hopeful of a good contract at this point. 5 mill for 6 years would be okay. Needs offence scream the Preds. I can dream about getting Jones for most of that package. Maybe? It definitely makes the preds stronger up front and I don’t think Weber cares to lose every game 1-0. Or, do we try to work with the Flyers more. Perhaps T.O. They need center help. Perhaps we can get Gunnarson and a forward. At this point we need a lot. A solid D plus both wings for 3rd line, plus a 4th line center. At least the top 6 is set up front. I’m not happy about arb filings for gagner.

  • Gordie Wayne

    A must read for Gagner arbitration can be found at Canucks site . The article is by Jeff Angus” look at Canucks lineup 2013-14 ” . At bottom is a link to the article all should read “DEBATING WITH BRIAN BURKE : A LOOK AT NHL ARBITRATION PROCESS . Apparantly it is linked to cap space , etc.. Educational and surprising results .

  • Ever the Optimist

    for a 4th line center
    has Scott Gomez been considered?

    Hes an experienced guy who has shown he play very well but took a step back last year and has accepted his new role.

    besides if Hemsky doesn’t move I would rather see him with Gomez vs Gordon.

    • 106 and 106

      Short Term maybe, but judging by Mac-T’s quotes, his size won’t fit the model for the bottom 6. Someone has to be big and it’s not our top 6. Gotta be them and the back-end. Probably not the target.

  • Bucknuck

    You know what strikes me as alarming. Sam Gagner is the biggest guy in our top six.

    I’m not saying it’s the end of the world, but it is a bit underwhelming.

    • GVBlackhawk

      Buck I’m surprised to see this coming from you. Size is irrelevant when considering your top scoring lines. All that matters are two factors: 1. the ability to goals; 2. the ability to win (or break even) the shot and scoring chance differential.

      Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, and Eberle proved that they could do both last season. With another year of maturity and RNH’s repaired shoulder, they should be expected to improve on last year.

      The second line has the potential to score at a fairly prolific level. The biggest question mark lies with their ability to stop the chances against. Perron should help, but the real improvement will depend on Gagner, Yakupov, and Dallas Eakins’ new system (aka NewAgeSys’s system).

      Lastly, Sam is definitely not the biggest guy in the top six. Hobbits are not large individuals.

      • Bucknuck

        By “biggest” I meant heaviest, and if you look at the weight, none of the other five are bigger. He’s also the one most likely to get in the face of the opposition and drop his gloves. He’s the meanest forward in our top six.

        People in Edmonton don’t perceive him that way, but in watching games last year with non-oiler bias (I don’t live in Edm anymore), the colour guys discussing Gagner described him as feisty and unafraid and gritty. It was interesting to see how the “other side” see him.

        I don’t care if we have a whole team of hobbits as long as they score more than the opposition. My main point was that people might want to adjust how they see Gagner. He isn’t “the littlest guy on the team” that everyone makes him out to be. And the last coupel of years, I haven’t sene much evidence of “soft” that everyone refers to.

    • I have trouble believing the listing. 5’11” 199lbs?

      Looks 5’9″ 190 lbs. In person he looks 5’9″

      Hall is listed at 6’1″ 194lbs, but I bet after training camp that is updated to 205lbs.

  • 106 and 106

    Putting aside all of the touchy-feely comments about Gagner, I look at his situation this way:

    He can become the youngest UFA in NHL history at the age of 24. He could easily sign a seven-year UFA deal, and be young enough to sign a SECOND seven-year UFA deal and still be under 40.

    If you’re his agent, would you want him signing a home-town deal in Edmonton, or do you want him signing two 7 year, big salary deals? And when you look at some of the players this month receiving big UFA money, Gagner is much more attractive than most of them.

  • Gordie Wayne

    Bogosian from the Jets (they NEED offence, especially on the RW) for Hemmer and Gagner (should be close in value, might need a prospect). Sign Grabovski. Top 6 forwards = Done. D pair Smid – Bogosian, Ferrence – Petry, Belov – Shultz Jr. I’m happy with that. Although, Carl Gunnarson would be interesting as well. Shultz Sr. for 3rd line RW help. I don’t mind a 4th being, Smyth – 4C? – Jones (pretty solid IMO). Providing Jones bounces back. I’m not sure where the Oilers have Jesse Jonesue pegged as playing. I hope not 3 LW. Probably need an upgrade there as well.

    • Gordie Wayne

      I proposed something similar today…there has to be a deal there for Gagner/Bogosian…then go and sign Grabovski. It isn’t perfect, but it is another step in right direction.

  • Clyde Frog

    1: Hall – Eberle – Nuge
    2. Perron – Yak City – Gagner
    3. HEMSKEY – Gordon – Jones
    4. Brown – Smyth – Fraser/konopka

    1. Shultz Jr. – Shultz Sr.
    2. Klefbomb – Ference
    3. Belov – Petry
    Ladislav SMID

    I’d say our top 3 lines are as good as any in the league. Why we need size on those lines. Lets fill our 4th line with crashers and bangers like the old days when we had MacIntyre -STORTINI – Jacques. Wow the energy!

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Please god no. Big Sexy, Storts and Smac? You have discovered a rare, dangerous new kool aid formula and you downed the lot, didn’t you?

      Bring back Schremp and Souray while you’re at it…

    • As good as any in the league? Are you Cray foo?

      I’d rank our top six somewhere in the 7-10 range, def not tops in the league.

      Boston, Pitt, La, Chicago, Philly, stlouis… All better IMO. Even with the addition of Perron.

      But the Oilers are definitely better now than they were last season.

      Ferrence, Perron, Gordon, Belov. All great additions IMO.

  • Clyde Frog

    If they re-sign Gagner, it would not surprise me at all to see them run Hall – Gagner – Yakupov and Perron – RNH – Eberle as the top 2 lines.

    If I am the Oilers, there is no way I let this Gagner thing get to arbitration. If they Gagner’s camp won’t get into a salary range the Oilers can live with, I would pick up the phone and start shopping Gagner to a team that needs a RW player, or maybe a second line centre.

    My first call would be to Dave Tallon in Florida. Florida is deep at centre and LW, but the RW is pretty weak. I would push Gagner and one of the current depth defencemen for Kulikov and Bjugstad or Goc. Then I would throw the money earmarked for Gagner at Grabovski.

    Hall – RNH – Eberle

    Perron – Grabo – Yakupov

    ?? – Gordon – Bjugstad or ?? – Goc – Gordon

    Smyth – ?? – Jones

    Kulikov – Petry

    Smid – Schultz Jr

    Ference/Shultz Sr/Belov/Potter less whomever goes to Florida

    That’s pretty darn close to a playoff team.

    Nashville is also pretty weak at RW, and with Seth Jones in the fold, I might see about a trade with Gagner and Josi as the centre pieces if Florida didn’t bite.

  • Ever the Optimist

    TRADE Gagner, this would be BOLD. Gagner/n.schultz to Philly for Cobourn/coutourier. We will NEVER, I repeat…..NEVER win with midgets. Look at the Division and Centers the oil will play this year, while gagner’s stock is high around the league, pull the trigger macT, DO IT