a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

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Thursday, 5 July 2012

07/05/12 Petry, Dubnyk Sign and the Picture Begins to Focus

Devan Dubnyk's new contract gives him the 22nd-highest cap hit of NHL goalies. There was always going to be pressure for him to perform next season, but now it's on another level. Some analysis of the Oilers' recent signings after the jump.

Dubnyk's contract has a $3.5 million cap hit over two years, which is higher than that of Craig Anderson, Semyon Varlamov, Corey Crawford, Jimmy Howard, Josh Harding, Mike Smith, and many others. That's a lot of money for a goalie who has just 101 games of NHL experience and carries a career 0.910 Sv% and 2.85 GAA.

It's the same dollar figure that Tuukka Rask just signed for in Boston. Rask has 102 games of NHL experience under his belt and has a 0.926 Sv% and 2.20 GAA in that time. Aside from their ages, experience, and now their contract value, Rask and Dubnyk are some distance apart where it counts.

Of course, Dubnyk has played on some truly awful Oilers teams, so for him to have even remotely respectable numbers is in itself something of a feat. Discounting goalies who played less then ten games in 2011-12, Devan Dubnyk's even strength save percentage this past season (0.927) was 17th in the NHL. To do that well on a team that is routinely outshot and outplayed at even strength is impressive, and it's a big part of the reason that Dubnyk deserved to be anointed as the starting goalie going forward.

$3.5 million is still too much money, given that it's more than four times as much as the $800,000 he was making before, and that a young goalie like Josh Harding (117 games played - 0.916 Sv% - 2.65 GAA) just re-signed for a $1.9 million hit. The Oilers only managed to buy one of Dubnyk's UFA years with this contract (he could have become a UFA after next season), and even if he lives up to the deal the team risks losing him.

Jeff Petry

Somehow the Oilers managed to get ridiculously good value on Jeff Petry's contract at just a $1.75 million cap hit over two years. It's a raise of only $750,000 per season for the young defenseman, and the best part of it all is that Petry will still be a restricted free agent when the deal expires. Petry will still get paid handsomely in his next contract if he progresses as the organization and fans hope, but his RFA status means he'll be paid by the Oilers and not the Minnesota Wild anyone else.

Sam Gagner

Gagner filed for arbitration on Thursday, which is an indication that he's looking to cash in a little bit more than the Oilers are immediately prepared to give. He certainly deserves a raise over the $2.275 million he was making before, but what is a fair number?

Sam Gagner has scored 0.60 points per game over his career and will turn 22 in August. David Perron just re-signed with the Blues on a four year deal for just over $3.8 million. Perron is 24 years old and has scored 0.59 points per game over his career. Not good news for Oilers fans. Perron is a better goal scorer than Gagner, but they bring about the same amount of total offense.

26 year old Kris Versteeg has 0.63 points per game over his career and is just finishing a contract worth a hair over $3 million. He too filed for arbitration on Thursday. Patrick Hornqvist makes a little over $3 million and is a 0.57 point per game player. 27 year old Travis Zajac has scored 0.61 points per game and has a cap hit of $3.88 million.

In other words, it appears the Oilers are going to have to pay to keep Gagner. Something north of $3 million should is to be expected, and it wouldn't be surprising if the number climbs higher as we get closer to arbitration. If Gagner reaches an arbitrator things could get ugly.

The Cap

The Oilers now have $14,400,001 in cap space for next season at a $70.2 million cap. Assuming Gagner signs for somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.3 million, there will be around $11 million in wiggle room left.  The number will change slightly based on which of Paajarvi, Lander, Teubert, Fedun, Potter and Petrell make the team; as well as if the Oilers make any trades.

That's plenty of space to work with if the Oilers want to make short-term additions at the deadline (please, please, please) and it also allows them a good base to draw from when it comes time to extend Hall and Eberle once the year ends. If by some miracle this roster makes the playoffs, the Oilers will be doing it for a very good price. At least until the kids cash in.


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