Look at that mirror again….

Well, about a week ago, I had a post on Sam Gagner and his impending arbitration hearing. I went back and read it again. Holy shit, was I wrong on a few things. Putting your thoughts down to see always lends to some insightful thinking about what you should have said. Well, time to fess up, see where I went wrong and make sure it happens a little less frequently…..

First, lets start off with the contract itself. Gagner signed for 3 years/14.4 million. Nice deal for both sides, actually. I honestly thought Gagner wouldn’t back off the 5+ side. In my mind, that was his floor. The fact it wasn’t is a nice surprise for me. I said a few things pertaining to Sam not wanting to play here, and that he’s doing it (dragging out negotiations) for money and I was obviously wrong. He gave up some things to get the deal done, and a guy has to respect that.

When I said Sam had the hammer, that may have been one of the few things I was right about. Guess what? He still does. He has a NTC in year two of his deal, and a NMC in the third (he can’t have either for next year as he is still RFA eligble as per new CBA). He also has a verbal promise form MacTavish that he will not be dealt prior to those clauses kicking in. Basically, Gagner will decide if he leaves or not. Plus, he only “gave up” 2 free agent years, and will be around 26-27 when his deal expires. Still in line for one more big deal, and he has the leverage through it all. To top it off, he did it without pissing off one of the most touchy and spiteful fanbases in the league (we boo players that haven’t even played for us. seriously). Well played, Sam. Well played.

If our second line is Perron-Gagner-Yakupov, expect all of them to produce points. I still don’t know what our GA is going to be like, but i have a feeling our GF is going up. We might be a track meet team, but I don’t give a shit what Dubnyk’s GAA is, to be quite frank, as long as there are more W’s than L’s. A lot of these kids are motivated and the turnover is not just in name, but more, in principal of leadership. The captain is gone. This team is now Taylor Hall’s, Jordan Eberle’s, etc, etc….you get the idea. The change is here. The Penguins missed the playoffs with Crosby AND Lemuiex on the roster. They kept the course, fired Craig Patrick,  threw in Ray Shero and a few years later, blammo, model franchise. Chicago had Kane, Toews, Keith, and Seabrook and missed the playoffs. They fired Denny Savard four games in, hired Joe Quenville, and haven’t looked back. Dale Tallon, a real good GM was let go, and the club didn’t miss a beat. Blammo. Two Cups in four years. Hello. Taylor Hall, this is your cue……..

The Perron trade which saw Magnus and a second rounder go to St. Louis was a huge one. This basically locks up our top six with nothing but elite skill. A huge win for MacTavish, IMO, and he did it against a veteran GM in Doug Armstrong. He was up against an internal cap, but still, kudos to the Radish for seeing a weakness and moving in for the kill. He gains my confidence by the move…

Ference, Belov and Grebeshkov(WTF?) round out some defensive changes. I would have rather kept Mark Fistric than add Grebs, but, whatev…this is a much more mobile d-corps than before and if  they can get the puck to these forwrds in a hurry, whatch out. Belov is the wildcard. If his KHL game translates to the NHL, we’re laughing. A legit top 4 option had for nothing? Ahhhhhhh, that’s the stuff…….

The Oilers have my attention. I mean, they always do, but I actually expect something this year. Taylor Hall has swayed my thinking, and riding his coat-tails, the Oilers are going places, baby…….


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