Would the Oilers want a do-over of the Hall, RNH & Eberle deals?

Eberle-Jordan-2-Oilers-2014

There’s a dichotomy that seems to exist between people who spend a lot of time covering the Edmonton Oilers and others who have a more general knowledge of the team. In my experience the former camp, by-and-large, seems pretty content with the deals that the Oilers reached with their best young forwards. The latter camp tends to see them as a mistake.

A case in point is the Columbus Dispatch’s Michael Arace, writing about the Ryan Johansen negotiations and the league-wide trend of offering cheap bridge deals on second contracts:

Granted, there are exceptions. The Edmonton Oilers tied up $18 million a year, long term, in Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. But I don’t think the Oilers would be so quick to eat up that much cap space if they had a do-over.

I’m not convinced that’s true. Taylor Hall is a tremendous talent, and because the Oilers were willing to do a big second contract they were able to buy three UFA years. If they’d offered a one-year bridge deal instead, would they have been able to sign Hall to a six-year, $36 million contract this summer? It seems exceptionally unlikely; he’s great value.

Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are perhaps a little more debatable because they aren’t Taylor Hall but in each case Edmonton gambled and bought UFA years at a price likely to be lower than it would be in the future. In the meantime, the salary space taken up by those deals hasn’t prevented the Oilers from spending a pile of money in free agency on guys like Benoit Pouliot, Mark Fayne and Nikita Nikitin.

Long second deals are a calculated risk – and honestly, given Johansen’s NHL track record, it’s easy to see why a Blue Jackets writer wouldn’t see the trade off as worthwhile. In the Oilers’ cases, so far it looks like a gamble that was worth making.

Mike Grier to coach USA Hockey Prospects Game

Mike Grier was a fan favourite during his time with Edmonton, and understandably so. Lowetide wrote a great career profile last April, which includes the oft-repeated story of Grier screaming in pain after his shoulder was knocked out of its socket, getting it put back in on the bench and then returning to play his next shift two minutes later. Ridiculous stuff.

Grier is a youth coach these days, and has been doing some on-ice work for USA Hockey. Earlier this week, he was named a head coach for a top prospects game featuring 42 of the best U.S.-born players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft. He’ll be coaching opposite former Pittsburgh Penguins bench boss Ed Olczyk.

It’s a nice nod for a coach at the start of his career behind the bench, and hopefully a portent of things to come.

Hockey Canada adds Misha Donskov

Renney, Tom

Tom Renney has made an interesting hire to replace Andrew Brewer, the 28-year-old video coach who left Hockey Canada to join Mike Babcock’s staff in Detroit. Renney has tapped OHL coach Misha Donskov for the role; Donskov previously worked for NHL teams in Atlanta and Columbus and has held a variety of roles with the London Knights and Ottawa 67’s.

One of Dosnkov’s new jobs is to provide Hockey Canada with (unspecified) analytics data, which is something that Renney noted in conversation with The Canadian Press’s Steven Whyno.

“We knew that because of the skills that [Donskov] brought to the table that [statistical analysis] was an avenue we could even explore that much deeper,” Renney said. “I don’t know that analytics is always solution-based, but it certainly has a great deal of information to it and really in-depth information. I think with that in mind I wanted to make sure that we could at least pursue that to a point with the skill that was required. Misha delivers on that, we think.”

It’s always difficult to tell when comments on analytics are just lip service, but Donskov’s old team has a reputation for an interest in the numbers. The 67’s employ Matt Pfeffer in an analytics role; he’s the guy behind ProgressiveHockey.com.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Oilers89

    All 3 contracts are good deals for 2014-15 and they will become more and more STUNNINGLY AWESOME RAD deals as the years progress.

    Only a pure hater could have anything negative to say about Hall at $6M. Its laughable.

    MacT will get huge respect in the latter years of these deals while other teams are paying $8M+ for the same players.

  • Jaxon

    All 3 contracts will look ridiculously cheap in a couple years. Can’t imagine what Hall’s third contract will look like, thank god that’s a long time from now

  • Jaxon

    • Hall gives full value today for the 6M and will be increasingly a bargain throughout the rest of the contract. This might be the best moves Tambo ever did.
    • Eberle signed the 6M extension after a 34 goal, 76 point season. That has been his high water mark but has since produced 27 (pro-rated) and 28 goal seasons. I think it is reasonable to expect Eberle will be consistently near the 30 goal/70 point production for the remainder of his contract. The Oil could have saved some money last year and this had their bridged him at a significantly lower sum, but as they were not in any significantly cap crunch the last 2 years this would not have given them much benefit. Going forward the 6M will seem a reasonable sum and perhaps even a bargain during the final years of this contract. I don’t see why the Oil would do this one over.
    • RNH is the outlier. He was having a potential rookie of the year season until he was injured followed by a pedestrian 2nd year when MacT gave him the 6M contract. His 3rd year was okay, but not at the Hall/Eberle level. MacT opted for the 6M longer term contract, not based on what RNH had done, but what he thinks RNH will be able to do. The jury is still out on this one.
    • The crunch may come if Yak has a RNH type season this year. Say 25 goals and 50 ish points. A good but not great year. He will reasonably be expecting 6M and the Oil may not be in the position to do that.

  • Serious Gord

    Hall’s deal is an absolute bargain and will only continue to get better. Eberle and RNH are a bit more debatable but if both players play to their full potential, they will be worth it. There is plenty of stupid money being spent in the NHL right now so I’m not too worried about where these three contracts fit into the current NHL pay scale.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    If anyone ever has a concern about over-paying, I suggest that they look at Dave Bolland’s contract.

    Hall is a steal.

    Nuge will grow into his contract, he’s already worth $4.5-5.5mil.

    Eberle is on par for his type of player. Top 6 forward with the potential for 70 point seasons, that’s $6mil.

    Why are we even debating this? I thought it was settled. The only problem with these contracts was that they weren’t for long enough.

  • Serious Gord

    The guy’s a sportswriter from Columbus so he probably only looks at hockey for a few minutes a day between football football and football. Hall is on one of the most team friendly long term deals in the NHL (someone should do some point/$ math on some of these guys next offseason) and the other two aren’t holding the team back from a money standpoint either. The cap goes up nearly every season and these guys are locked up through what should be some of the most productive years of there careers. If the Oilers only did 3 things right in the last 8 year these deals were them.

  • Serious Gord

    I love reading comments from people who gripe about the Oilers overpaying when they’re almost all on short-term deals and Edmonton has had a very very long history of not being able to keep players because they couldn’t pay for them.

    The Hall, RNH and Eberle deals are great, and look better every time new deals are signed. The rest, well, even an overpay on a Nikitin for two years doesn’t affect jack.

  • Serious Gord

    “There’s a dichotomy that seems to exist between people who spend a lot of time covering the Edmonton Oilers and others who have a more general knowledge of the team.” JW.

    So Jonathon, you are saying there are two types of fans….

  • djc

    These three second contracts are great when compared to the $10.5 million third contracts Toews and Kane signed.

    Toews and Kane signed 5 year $6.3 million per year second contracts.

    Eberle, Hall, RNH signed 6, 7 and 7 year deals at $6 million per.

    The extra 1, 2 and 2 years will be phenomenal value. Toews and Kane had won a Stanley cup prior to their second deals, but I think my conclusion is still fair.

      • No – but those are two very major items.

        He failed miserably with respect to free agent signings, but he doesn’t get near the credit he deserves for rebuilding the farm team. That, moreso than the “kids” should merit some recognition.

        I would hope this site is more balanced than that Stauffer/Tencer knife-sliding that goes on as soon as someone leaves the org.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I think the bargain second contract is a thing of the past for all the B type markets/non competitive teams like Columbus and Edmonton. Only way you’ll see a prospect exercise some of that so called home town discount, is on a competitive hockey club or a definite A market team.

    10 out of 10 players surveyed would not trade their personal wealth/lifestyle for anything. If these kids are forced to remain on a losing team, you better believe teams will have to overpay to keep them.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    As long as dumb eakins doesn’t make crap lines.
    Hall-Nuge-Eberle is dynamite. Do what ever with the rest as long as Yakupov gets half wall on the #1 power play

  • Those contracts are long term. When they were signed, the expectation was that they will be overpays in the first few years and underpays in the last few years. In the case of Eberle and RNH, based on what we’ve seen I still expect that to be the case by the time the contracts are done. The price per point should be about market when all is said and done. In the case of Hall, I get giggly thinking about the deal.

    Now. Think about the deals in context. You create a core. You put faith, confidence, and onus on three competitive tremendous talents. And remove negotiation hazard and distraction for a good five year block. What’s the chance that the pooled dollars per point on that core is going to be an overpay? Pretty slim. What’s the chance that creating a core like that is going to result in a team that catches fire? A pretty good gamble. I would offer those deals again and again.