On June 25, it was reported that the Edmonton Oilers had made restricted free agent Sam Gagner a contract offer.
But today, a couple of weeks (and a whole lot of other Oilers news) later, a deal has yet to be signed.
According to general manager Craig MacTavish, the next step in the process could be arbitration.
“I would think that Sam would (go to arbitration),” MacTavish said. “We’re still hopeful that we can get a deal done soon.”
Gagner, 25, finished second in team scoring last year with 14 goals and 24 assists.
For the Oilers, the problem with going to arbitration is that the maximum term that could be awarded is one year, which would leave the talented center — who’s already got six NHL seasons under his belt — a pending unrestricted free agent.
We’ve seen these games of chicken before in RFA negotiations. If Gagner truly wants to be in Edmonton, it’s hard to imagine the two sides don’t negotiate a long-term deal by themselves.
Still, we’ll be keeping an eye on this story. A trade isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Of note, the deadline for players to file for arbitration is tomorrow at 5 p.m. If Gagner does file, a deal could still be reached after that, prior to the actual hearing.