After Thursday’s hullabaloo with the Dubnyk signing and Petry’s deal, Sam Gagner is headed towards an arbitration hearing for either late July or early August.
Here’s a few thoughts, and an incomplete scenario list of what might happen.
- The first option is the most simple; and that’s getting an award that the Oilers will pay him. I’m really not sure how the Oilers can offer Devan Dubnyk $3.5M and balk at Gagner (unless Gagner’s satellites are set around the $5M mark). Just hankering a guess, I’d say that Gagner’s arbitration award will fall around the $4M-$4.25M mark. If it gets to that point, the Oilers will pay Sam Gagner whatever he is awarded, even if it’s something ridiculous like $5M. If Gagner and the Oilers let the arbitration happen, Gagner will be awarded either a one or two year deal. This leads me to believe something will happen before arbitration happens.
- The Oilers and Sam Gagner could come to an agreement before his arbitration date. Put this in the “more likely to happen” category. Some deep seeded negotiations behind closed doors could take place, Sam Gagner gets his term, his money, and everyone emerges from the fire and smoke saying that they’re really happy to be part of this operation. There’s still a couple weeks until the hearing, so this is a very possible scenario.
- Sam Gagner could be traded. I put the probability of this happening at about 40% right at the moment. Arbitration is not a fun thing for anyone, not the club, and certainly not the player. I can remember reading a story some time back about Tommy Salo was just berated by Mike Milbury during his arbitration hearing, causing Salo to break down. (I’m sure Mike Milbury being Mike Milbury didn’t help much, but you catch my drift). The club is going to make their case any way possible to keep the award down, while the player will make his case to be awarded a hundred million dollars. A couple of teams could really benefit from a Sam Gagner down the middle. A good old fashioned sign-and-trade might be in the works. If Gagner is sent out of town, I don’t think a centre would be coming back.
One of the less talked about items about Sam Gagner’s arbitration hearing is that it keeps him from entertaining offer sheets. So while this arbitration hearing has the potential to devolve into something truly messy, teams in desperate need of a centre are prevented from sending him an offer sheet.
Anything could happen with this case at any given moment.
Sign? Trade? Arbitration? What do you think the Oilers will do with Sam Gagner?
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