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.

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).

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.



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.


  • Spydyr

    Given Gagner had very little trade value, Oilers needed to sign him. Perhaps at some point Oilers will find a 2nd line C.
    I’ve said it before it is not about the money it is about the fit.
    At least Oilers again will have a lottery pick.

    Well Oilers continue on their quest to build a good regular season team.

  • Spydyr

    BIG mistake.

    Nice guys with skill sets the oil has in surplus should be traded – not given NTC contracts.

    Classic case of ‘falling in love with the inventory.’

    • PutzStew

      Actually is was a case of signing him or losing him for nothing because management had backed themselves into a corner. He’s signed for a reasonable price and he can still be traded, if that is what MacT wants to do.

      If it went to arbitration, they couldn’t trade him for one year, and by then he would have been a free agent.

      @Jason Gregor or anyone in the know. I can’t seem to get an answer on this, but can a player be traded after they file for arbitration?

    • Jason Gregor

      The Oilers don’t have a surplus of offensive centres actually. They have very little depth at centre.

      This team is a few years away from being a serious contender, if they ever become one, and the NTC for a player with a respectable cap hit, and under 27 won’t be a hindrance.

      • PutzStew

        I think “Little Depth at Center” is an over statement to say the least right now, especially if RNH starts the season on IR.

        Personally I love this. Always liked Sam. The team has been mismanaging him since he was 18 so I glad he got his payday.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        That surplus exists on the wings. Gagner fills a spot with capabilities we don’t need. 60 percent of the ice time will now have no physical presence at center OR the wings. The biggest weakness this team has has NOT been addressed.

        (The sycophancy of the sports reporting world in Edmonton never ceases to amaze. As someone who in years past listened to and read the sports media of the NE US it truly is remarkable the free ride hockey execs get here)

        • Hair bag

          You’re way too Serious Gordon! If this magical, physical, two way second line centre is out there ripe for the picking – who is he and how do you suggest we get him??? Ganger is the best option we have at this time, not too mention he is still only 23, wants to be in Edmonton and brings a lot of intangibles to the table. Could he be better on face offs and defensively – of course! But right now guys like you need shut up and give the kid a chance and don’t give me that bs about he’s had 6yrs because he was mishandled from day 1, he should have been sent back to junior and allowed to develop properly. But he wasn’t and I think he is now just finally going to come into his own. If anything he should be commended for his perseverance after the sh!tshow he has been through for the last 6yrs with the debacle the Oilers have been. Many other careers have been completely ruined in lessor circumstances.

        • Jason Gregor

          You must not been listening closely on my show. I’ve said for years they need more size up front. MacTavish has said it since he got hired, but teams don’t just give away big, strong, skilled forwards.

          Signing Gagner for 3 years, doesn’t mean MacTavish loves the make up of his team, but getting Gagner on a 1-year deal in arbitration would have been idiotic. He could then walk for nothing next season.

          You evaluate each signing separately. Gagner’s deal is one that allows Oilers to see if he can progress, and it gives them time to fill out other spots on the team. His contract is also easily tradeable. If he has a good year this year, teams will want him, and his NMT won’t kick in until July 1st next year.

          Two years of a NMT for a player who is 25 and 26 isn’t that hard to work around. Also hearing the final year of deal might not include a NMT, only year two. Which is what I wrote yesterday.

          Your idea to not sign Gagner, because the wingers are too small, would weaken the team, not make them better.

        • The Soup Fascist

          Because someones opinion differs from yours they are suddenly sycophants, towing the party line?

          In large, the media has been rightly critical of Oilers management. There is a long list of guys, Gregor included, mainstream and non-MSM, who have asked the tough questions and been critical. Do you not remember Lowe losing his mind when asked about his capabilities, spurring on the “six rings” comments.

          Gagner’s signing today is not about whether he is a great 2nd line center – it is about protecting an asset. Period.

          Feel free to enlighten us on your evaluation of talent, Gagner’s or anyone else,or line combinations or suitability to play a certain role – that is what this blog is for. But please give me a break in playing the “company man” card because someone happens to agree with the occasional move a GM makes. It appears your comments are not based on logic or fact, but rather because the position disagrees with your view of the world – such as it is.

          • Spydyr

            Gagner one of the fitest players in the NHL? Love these ficticious made up statements that make rounds. Im not saying hes not up there, just these statements have come up only on Oiler blogs.

          • Craig1981

            Na, I will say it about others too. Cammalleri has reputation for training hard as does Chara. Its not that their aren’t others, but it is something that makes him unique compared to most.

        • O.C.

          So what would you have preferred Mr Smarty GM? Arbitration 1 year deal? Lose him for nothing?

          I think we should have paid him $1 mil on a 2 way contract. But in the real world he had all the power.

          I’d argue this is about as good as the team could have got. The alternative is to let him walk as a UFA or trade him for draft picks next spring. Not sure how that helps the team move forward.

          In the real world, circumstance has to be factored in, not just what you want to pay someone or what you think they are worth vis a vis your needs on the team. Its a bit different than Xbox NHL GM mode.