We’ve now arrived at Sunday with no news on Sam Gagner’s signing, but one suspects the power of the deadline is creating more urgency. For Sam Gagner, this is probably a time when your cell phone is on and you’re hopeful movement from the other side is on the horizon.
For Craig MacTavish, the idea of going to arbitration must be noxious–Gagner’s signing ahead of Nuge, Justin Schultz and then later Nail Yakupov is out there waiting–finding a way to fit 89 into the future is an important item. If those 4 men average $6M a year, added to Hall and Ebs, that represents $36M cap annually for six players (or about one quarter of the overall roster).
If MacT feels he cannot get a long term deam from 89–and that’s possible, there’s an enormous payday waiting for Samwise next summer–then he has to either trade him now (insane, since there’s no possible way the other 29 teams can assess at this point) or do it sometime during the year. Let’s start with the idea of Sam Gagner being dealt and no forward coming back–perhaps it’s my beloved 3-for-1 and a top drawer defender arrives in return for Gagner, Smid and Martin Marincin.
PROJECTED FORWARD LINEUP SANS SAM GAGNER
The Oilers are actually stronger at center (in my opinion) with Hall in the middle, and still maintain tremendous firepower on the wings for lines 1 and 2. However, the depth–already an issue–is very poor with Gagner plucked from it. Sending new coach Dallas Eakins to war in the Pacific with this bottom 6F would be dereliction of duty.
Steve Simmons reports this morning that the most likely spots for Mikael Grabovski are Washington, Winnipeg, Florida and Calgary. I imagine those four teams (or the team that doesn’t get Grabovski) would be interesting in Gagner, and of course each of those teams have many attractive assets to offer in return. Oilers can get value for Gagner, I just don’t believe that’s the wise play.
FINLAND SAVES US AGAIN?
I got a tweet message last night from someone asking me about Petri Kontiola and the Oilers signing him. I have no direct connection to the Oilers, but do have gracious people who work in the hockey industry who come to my aid from time to time. I can confirm that he is signed for two more seasons in the KHL, and that the window for transfer has now passed (many KHL contracts have a window for NHL offers–we know this from the Anton Belov Experience).
A name to keep in mind down the line? Let’s call it that, although he clearly has some ability and would be a nice fit based on the boxcars.
GOOD NEWS SUNDAY?
The next 24 hours is the signing window. If we get any news today, it’s likely to be good. Stand by…..