The Oilers have a day left to sign Sam Gagner before he hits arbitration. The club has a long standing tradition of signing their players just days before the hearing (most famously for me Jason Smith and Todd Marchant, 2000 summer) but this looks like it might actually go to court.
Since the lockout, the Oilers have had several notable cases and only one ended without the Oilers and the player signing.
- July 12,2006: Oilers sign Shawn Horcoff to a three-year, $10.8 million contract.
- July 21, 2006: Oilers sign Jarret Stoll to a two year, $4.4 million contract.
- July 25, 2006: Oilers sign Ales Hemsky to a six year, $24.6 million contract. The deal took him three years beyond unrestricted free agency and kept him in Edmonton until the end of the 2011-12 season (and of course he re-signed with the club). The Hemsky story is here.
- July 20, 2007: Oilers sign Joni Pitkanen to a one-year. $2.4 million contract, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing that had been scheduled while he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.
- July 21, 2009: Oilers sign D Denis Grebeshkov to a one-year, $3.15 million contract, avoiding salary arbitration.
- July 14, 2010: Oilers sign L JF Jacques to a one-year, $615,000 contract.
- July 27, 2010: Oilers sign C Gilbert Brule a two-year contract worth $1.85 million per season
- July 31, 2010: Oilers sign G Jeff Deslauriers to a one year $1.05 million contract
- July 12, 2011: Oilers trade Andrew Cogliano to Anaheim. He had filed for arbitration on July 5.
- July 5, 2012: One year to the day after Cogliano files, Sam Gagner also files for arbitration
One case (Cogliano) ended up in a trade. Gagner would appear to be a larger part of the club than Cogliano, especially considering the club’s depth chart at center. I imagine the gap between the two clubs on a one year deal must be significant and hopes for a long term contract may be dashed based on appearances. It is my guess a long term deal will be more expensive one year from now, although the new CBA may offer its own plot twist.