The Edmonton Oilers signed Sam Gagner today, three years and $4.8M cap number. That’s a fine deal, the only negatives being term (a little longer would have been nice) and one of the three years is a NMC. That’s being picky though, this contract shows some real creativity on both sides.
THE MACT LIST
Top 4 defender(signed Ference, that’s the big move this summer) Sign Sam Gagner to a multi-year deal that has begins with a number in the 4′s(done, and done today. Outstanding) Get Paajarvi signed and then find a role that suits him (suspect it’s 3line). It was St. Louis instead. NHL goalie(LaBarbera was a nice option) Find a 2line L who can complement Gagner-Yakupov with puck retrieval, blocking out the sun, etcPerron, a very nice fit Find a 3line RJoensu is the option I’ll pick, but it would be foolish to exclude Ryan Jones based on salary
Find a 3line C(Gordon an ideal fit)
- Find a 4line C
- Deal Hemsky for immediate help (even if its a checker).
Deal Horcoff or slot him into the 3line job for which he is actually ideal.Continued to improve D depth. Decide on Lander/Belanger or other for 13F. Lander it is! Better blue depthMacT has done this with Belov and Larsen, plus Klefbom/Fedun/Marincin plus a late Gresbeshkov AHL #1/NHL #3 goalieBachman is an outstanding solution Sign Paul Rangershould have said ‘sign Marlies–Hamilton, Acton, coach
Damned if he didn’t do all of it, and the truth is the 4line C job I didn’t cross off may end up going to Will Acton (Rob Soria mentioned that on the show today) or Anton Lander (and in-house option). Dealing Hemsky didn’t come to pass, and frankly that’s a good move all ways, because sure as hell 83 will spend some time on the big lines come the fall.
2013-14 PROJECTED LINEUPS
- Mike Brown
- Ference-J Schultz
- N Schultz-Larsen
That’s 9 changes by my count, you could substitute Will Acton for a defenseman if they keep 7 blue. I like this group, they’re stronger on defense (losing Whitney and adding Ference is a very good thing, plus the depth is such a breath of fresh air) and they’re going to be more reliable in goal.
Up front, the top 2 lines are going to be hell to defend, and that should mean two effective powerplay units too. I think the maturing of the #1′s along with the Perron addition are going to represent a major increase in firepower and that will be reflected in the RE (which begins Friday). The third line and the fourth line are a jumbled mess of broken oars and leaky boats, with Boyd Gordon the only player who you can build around (imo) for the 3line.
When I was a kid, the Montreal Canadiens were so strong up the middle it was insane. Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard and Ralph Backstrom (in photo) were the veterans, and then Jacques Lemaire came along and (famously) stole Henri’s job for a time (in typical Habs fashion Montreal fired coach Al MacNeil). When one impact center retired, they’d bring another in from junior or the farm or the other farm (Detroit, that’s where they got Peter Mahovlich) and man they were strong up the middle.
MacT’s going to improve this team up the middle, and now that Gagner’s signed I think we see the vision. It’s going to take some time to get there, but one suspects center to be a position of strength for the next decade in Edmonton.
THE DEPTH CHART
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
- Sam Gagner: An above average 2line C (#44) and here for at least 3 more years
- Boyd Gordon: The Cadillac of defnsive centers, and miles from his past due date
- Anton Lander: Not established, maybe not ready, but a defense first defender–a nice item for the 4line.
- Mark Arcobello: First skill callup, he’s not going to get heavy 6F minutes but could play a significant role this season.
- Will Acton: The signing of Acton gives Edmonton an option for the 4line should Lander prove a little shy during the fall. Similar player, more experienced.
- Andrew Miller: Impressive college numbers, tough to say where he fits but he has NHL potential based on boxcars. Small C. MacT mentioned on Jason Gregor’s show that “he’s a highly skilled player with a keen intellect to play the game.” I’d say Miller is a hair behind Arcobello on the skill list.
- Travis Ewanyk: They used to call them energy guys. Ewanyk needs to post more offense if he’s going to make the NHL. That seems unlikely.
Beyond that, I’d say we can follow Roy, Khaira, Yakimov, Chase below the pro level and of course there will be centermen drafted next summer. Overall, moving out Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger while moving in Gordon, Acton and Miller gives the team more youth and a very specific checking role for men like Gordon, Lander and Acton.