Today’s Gagner post will be followed by a ‘Gagner Sunday’ and ‘Gagner Monday’ post unless he’s signed (likely) or traded (extremely unlikely). Now there is some news so let’s get to it.
I think it’s important to understand this is a starting point, and while it does offer a glance into value perception that’s also a flawed view. The Oilers and Sam Gagner have posted an ask based on their own interests, and there’s every chance the long term contract number lies between $3.5M and $5.5M.
I also think we’d be silly not to at least acknowledge that the Edmonton Oilers may be saying goodbye to Sam Gagner this weekend. Oh, they may employ him at center for the coming season, or until the deadline, but if you’re team building and have to decide which of the big 5 forwards to flush (Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yak, Gagner) then chances are the answer is ‘the first guy who forces my hand’ if you’re Craig MacTavish.
Last year, I bitched and moaned about what a terrible move Tambellini made in not signing Gagner, and the reasons are now before us. In every way possible, the Oilers are getting the crappy end of the stick. If you look at it this way:
- The Oilers invested a very valuable pick in Gagner
- Advanced him to the NHL immediately
- Endured the growing pains as he developed in the NHL
- Employed Sam as a mentor and older brother to the heart of the cluster
- The next team he plays for is going to enjoy his skills for the heart of his career
The marker is coming due at a truly horrible moment. That’s on (previous) management. What can MacTavish do? Bite the bullet, sign him long term and begin the internal process that will better prepare the organization for the day when Gagner (or one of the other forwards) will be traded.
That’s the play here.