Not surprisingly, Sam Gagner filed for arbitration for the second year in a row after failing to agree on a new contract with the Edmonton Oilers. The hockey club did make the flashy forward a qualifying offer but it was simply to retain his rights as a restricted free agent that allows the team to match any offer sheet Gagner might receive.
Last summer Gagner and the Oilers were able to avoid the arbitration hearing by agreeing on a one-year deal worth $3.2 million. This summer will see the 23-year old receive a healthy raise and discussions of a long-term extension have already taken place despite no new deal being signed. It was reported back in late June that Edmonton had offered Gagner a multi-year deal with the financials not being disclosed. Clearly those numbers weren’t what Gagner and his agent had in mind.
Recently the Toronto Maple Leafs signed forward Tyler Bozak to a new 5-year deal worth $21 million and it’s believed that Bozak’s deal will be the measuring stick for what Gagner ends up signing for.
Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish recently told the Edmonton Journal that a price point will be the deciding factor on whether or not a new deal gets done with or without a third party.
Had last season been a full 82 game schedule, Gagner was on pace to set career highs in both goals and points. Needless to say he picked a fine year to raise the bar in his game and now he’ll be rewarded for it after finishing the season with 14 goals and 38 points in 48 games.
But if MacTavish wants to avoid the unpleasant hearings, he’ll have to act swiftly with Gagner as arbitration hearings are scheduled for July 22 – Aug. 6 in Toronto.
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