The Oilers and Sam Gagner agreed to a three-year extension hours before their scheduled arbitration hearing.

Yesterday, I wrote that a three-year deal made the most sense for both parties, and it seems they agreed.

Gagner will make $4.4 million this coming season and $5 million in 2014 and 2015, so his cap hit will be $4.8 million and he has a NMC, but it won’t kick in until year two. (NMC usually includes a NTC, so I didn’t write both), and like I wrote last night it might not include year three.

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This deal works well for both sides.

Craig MacTavish made it clear the past two months that Gagner is the type of person and player the Oilers need. They like Gagner’s leadership abilities and his desire to win. If Gagner can continue to progress offensively and improve his overall game, this will be a very good deal for the Oilers.

In three years, the salary cap could be at $75 million and giving Gagner another million a season shouldn’t be a strain on their overall cap.

Gagner wanted to stay in Edmonton. He wants to win in Edmonton, and a three year deal only takes him two years into unrestricted free agency. Gagner will still be able test the free agent market as a 26/27 year old. (He’d be 26 when he signs a new deal, but 27 when the season starts).

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I see this as a rare win-win for both sides.

The Oilers now have 14 forwards, 9 D-men and 2 goalies who will fight for a job on the opening day roster.


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Dubnyk and Labarbera

Oscar Klefbom will also be in the mix, but unless he has an outstanding preseason, I’d expect him to start the season in the AHL. He only played 11 games last season, so it makes sense to let him get used to the North American game in the AHL.

Wil Acton and Ryan Hamilton are also expected to compete for a job on the 4th line, and both of them are on two-way deals. Hamilton is scheduled to make $600,000 in the NHL and $300,000 in the AHL, which usually means the organization feels he has a better chance than Acton of making the team.

The Oilers need another centre, but they don’t have much cap space left. If you believe Eager and Potter start in the minors the Oilers would have about $1.8 million in cap space.

The Gagner signing was good, but MacTavish still needs to  find some more depth down the middle.

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  • Old Soldier

    Question for some of the old timers or insiders on here, it may seem a bit extreme but considering Mact’s “bold” statement.

    If the Oilers can move Hemsky for spare parts that would leave them with over $6 million in cap space for next year.

    If the Hemsky move were to happen, what would the Oilers have to give up to swing a deal with the LA kings for Clifford and Lewis. While neither has lived up to potential as top 6 players for the Kings, both players are exactly what the Oilers are looking for as 3rd line wingers, and perhaps add a touch of scoring.

    The kings have $1.5 mill in space before signing the 2 players so they wouldnt want much as roster players….what about picks and prospects…..and the Oilers should have enough to sign both for next season.

    Anyways, just curious

  • LinkfromHyrule

    Oh man there are some trolls in here this morning. Just gross how subjective people can be when it comes to players like Gagner. You hate the guy and want to get rid of him but who replaces him? Anton Lander, Boyd Gordon, or Mark Arcobello? Now THAT is a trip to a lottery pick again

  • 2004Z06

    Love this deal. I hope this is an indication of how MacT will negotiate future deals with RFAs. Gagner is exactly the kind of young leader the Oilers need in their dressing room, and if his point production from last season continues next year this will be a great deal.

    Having said all that, I suspect that MacT will assess Gagner in Jan/Feb and make a decision as to whether or not he is the right player for the 2C spot. I think he fits well there, but we need size in our top 6 and four of the 6 are likely not going anywhere. I could see him getting moved before his NMC kicks in. A young 50-70 point centre at a 4.8 million cap hit with years left on his deal has lots of value- and the Oilers have holes to fill.

  • 2004Z06

    We have too much skill. What we need is a bigger less skilled centre who wins 4 more out of every 100 face-offs he takes than does Gagner. Other players will be licking their chops at a chance to line up against Yakupov-Gagner-Perron.

  • I’d love to see Brule back in town on a PTO to deal with the depth at center.

    I’d also be extremely happy if there was a deal to be made moving Hemsky, a L shot D man (probably N Schultz given our depth chart) and a mid level prospect or 2 for either a big forward to play in the bottom 6 with decent hands, or a big mean defenseman.

    Problem is I’m pretty sure Hemsky and Nick Schultz doesn’t get you that, and we are low on other moving parts, unless we’ve decided to move out Eberle, which I don’t want to see.

    I guess these rebuilds really do take time to shape up, especially when you change your GM partway through.

    At least the GM change so far seems to be an upgrade.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    I know last year was an abbreviated season and everything, but Gagner would have been the top point producer on a large list of teams. Not to mention he would have had the second most points on some very very good teams like Annaheim as well.

    To get most teams’ top point producer under contract for three years at a cap hit of 4.8 on average is very reasonable. The deal is a good one, if not a great one for a player like this.

    Unfortunately, the Oilers really aren’t going to be helped too much by a player like this, and it sounds like most fans are upset at having another three years with a player that can put up points, but not make an impact.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    Okay, Gagner is signed. That leaves the Oil with $1,348,333 in Cap space, assuming Eager and Klefbom stay in OKC. That covers 13 forwards, 9 D men and two goalies.
    What do they do now? They can stand pat of course, but the bottom six could use some improvement in both size and skill. Say picking up a 4th line center and leaving Lander ($900,000 per) as an OKC callup. Surely at least one D man will be moved, most likely Potter ($775,000) and maybe N Schultz ($3.5 mil). Might still be possible to squeeze in Clifford or Abdelkader for picks and prospects.
    There is no real prospect of addressing the number one need – acquiring a minute munching legit top pairing D man. They may be prepared to wait and hope J Schultz, Klefbom or Nurse grow into that player. Eventually.
    Trading Hemmer for a very aggressive third line junkyard dog would be ideal and would open up Cap space, but for various reasons seems unlikely right now. So this might be it, but I think there is one more move coming before the season starts and likely one more during the season, involving Hemsky.

  • Mark-LW

    To people who were worried that Gagner would end up with a Horcoff-esque contract and become un-tradeable:

    If you adjust for salary differences at the time their contracts were signed, Gagner would have had to be rewarded a cap hit of $6.2 million, far more than the low 5’s that people were sweating.

    Then there is the fact that Horcoff’s contract started for his age 31 season, obviously past his prime years. And then consider that Horcoff never showed even close to Gagner’s offensive potential at a young age (it wasn’t until Horcoff’s fourth season in NCAA where he cracked a point per game).

    There is always the risk that the bottom could completely fall out from him, but I would take my chances on a 6 season .62 points per game player who is not yet 24.

    Trying to compare Gagner’s situation to Horcoff’s is quite ridiculous IMO.

    • DSF

      The actual dollars and cap hit (unless exorbitant) were not the issue with Horcoff as much as the term of his contract and the MNC that it contained.

      Has Gagner been signed to a 7 year deal at anything over $5M it would have been just as much an albatross contract as Horcoff’s given his inconsistency and spotty defensive play.

      As it is, the Oilers are only risking 3 years on a contract where they are not likely to win much of anything anyway.

  • Rocket

    I think MacT did the best he could given his negotiating position but Gagner still won the deal. It’s an overpay but now we’re stuck watching him play in Edmonton for the next while so I’m cautiously optimistic.

    I like Gagner’s character & compete level so I hope he does well.

    I’m most interested how well he (or any player) plays under Eakins. Maybe a new coach will make a big difference in his defensive game? I suppose that depends on the system though.

    Well at least we have a polarizing player to cheer for/complain about for the next few years.

  • 24% body fat

    Ok, can the Gagner posts, and trade Gagner comments stop now. He is signed and has a NTC. So we can all stop now right?

    And before someone points out the NTC does not start until next year, think about if he got traded. What does this do to the oilers reputation.


  • toprightcorner

    Good signing for everyone and more importantly I would say MacT’s first real test with contracts and he handled it very well, iven though it was last minute, he kept an asset for a few years without selling the farm. I’d give him a B++ on it as gagner had the most leverage.

    If Gagner falls back to what he was doing prior to the lockout he will be overpaid, but not grossly overpaid where he gets the heat from the fans that Horcoff did and it is not concidered long term. If he stays the same, we can resign him at a slight increase. If he continues to improve then MacT has to decide which of the top 6 forwards he wants to keep and has great trading chips to work with.

  • DSF

    Geez Louise!!!!

    Who has the stuoid audacity or can even try to think or believe it’s correct that Gagner was overpaid on this new 3 yr contract???

    $$.8 mil for three yrs average is a great deal with only one yr being with a NTC or NMC. He not only gave the Oilers a discount from the higher average deals of other same type players ($5 mil to $6.5 mil plus per yr) but he allowed for two of the three yrs that he can be tradeable….

    He is now a very good trade and/or team asset, and when the cap ceiling keeps rising each of the next three years, he is really actually underpaid on this contract …. especially if he puts up 55 to 65 plus pts per season with Yak and Perron (as he should now) and he improves at both faceoffs and two way play.

    He is not the worst centre I have watched on the Oilers lately (Belanger was and Smyth too but he was at least out of his normal position). I am thinking that with both Eakins and Acton running a tight hardworking ship this coming year, Gagner may have an even personal record season. If he does not, then he is absolutely tradeable at a very reasonable 2 yr contract price before the next free agency run starts…

    Man…some people should actually think with sense before they write on here…lol. Now I need a cold beer after writing this…where’s my fridge???

  • DSF

    Now that Gagner is signed.Lets start the”Run The Nuge out of town campaign”. I mean he’s not as good as Crosby, or as big as Crosby. So it must be time to trade him. He cab only avoid tripping on the blue line for so long. Oh yeah his FO% is lower than Gags.
    I hear he is the 1st one of the clip clop table when it really matters.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    The term on this contract is perfect. If Gagner continues to improve on the pk, starts to win more face offs, and becomes a plus player he will earn a pay raise In three years.

    If he doesn’t oilers will trade him on the third year of this deal at the deadline.

    Anyone else think Hall and Yakupov on his wings would be amazing.

    Perron with Hopkins and Eberle…..

    Wow start the season already 🙂

    Ference and Gordan will help close out the games

    No more late game heart Attacks

  • Hair bag

    Wish people would stop harping on the NTC. There was a really good personal reason why Gagner wanted and needed the comfort and security of not being traded for at least two years, which was the minimum amount of time needed. Not gonna get into his personal life, but it wasn’t so much about the money or the length of the term (though they would be nice too) but that bit of security was really important to him. This is likely what MacT was referencing when he said he didn’t fully understand the terms that Gagner’s camp had laid out to him before so the deal could get done sooner.

    Knowing everything involved, you wouldn’t be slamming MacT or the Oilers for the NTC but instead congratulating them on being classy gentlemen when they could have played hardball businessmen. It’s the little things like this for players that can go a long way to making the city more desireable for players to come in the future.