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Sam Gagner Signs Three Year Contract, Avoids Arbitration

Narrowly avoids arbitration

Jeff Gross

Nothing like waiting until the 11th hour to blink. This morning, just 10 minutes before their arbitration hearing was to begin...

...Sam Gagner and the Edmonton Oilers agreed on a three-year contract for $14.4 million.

The deal is an outstanding one from the Oilers' perspective, buying two years of unrestricted free agency from Gagner at below market prices. The Oilers agreed to a no-movement clause in years 2 and 3 as well the second year of the deal (see update below), which may have been the sticking point that caused both sides to fly cross-country in an interesting game of brinksmanship.

The Oilers were able to secure a management contract under the salary cap and Gagner secured his no-movement clause - a win for everyone except the Oilers' traveling secretary and the arbitrator who had to prepare and arrive, only to be told his services were not needed.

Update: The deal only contains a no-movement in the second year of the contract, which makes this a much better deal for the Oilers. The team now has more flexibility during the third and final season of Gagner's contract, which should help them to negotiate a better extension or negotiate a better trade.