Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Oilers sign Garon to two-year deal, cry foul on Nylander

See, you guys? Free agents DO want to sign here! SEE?? STANLEY CUP HERE WE COME.

Anyhow, I recall Mathieu Garon as being one of those unheralded Kings goalies who would kick the shit out of the Oilers on their home turf on a regular basis, so it seems like a fine pickup to me.

As a backup, Garon is a solid addition. As Roloson's heir apparent once the big guy gets tired of losing and quietly requests a trade to a contender at the deadline this season, I'm a little less confident.

Here's the link to the story on TSN.

UPDATE: More interestingly, PM points out in the comments that the Oilers have released an official statement regarding the situation surrounding Sunday's Michael Nylander deal that wasn't. From the Oilers site:

On Sunday, July 1, 2007, Kevin Lowe, Oilers General Manager, and Mr. Mike Gillis, Certified Agent for Michael Nylander, negotiated and agreed to a multi-year NHL Standard Players Contract, starting in 2007/08. Mr. Gillis confirmed same to the Oilers in writing.

The Oilers then proceeded with preparations to announce Mr. Nylander’s contract agreement on July 2, and concurrently continued with the process of negotiating with other free agents based upon Mr. Nylander being an important roster ingredient for the future.

However, while the Oilers were expecting the returned, signed agreements from Mr. Nylander and Mr. Gillis, the Oilers discovered through public announcements made mid-afternoon on July 2, that Mr. Nylander had subsequently entered into a long-term contract with the Capitals.
The Canadian Press has calls out to all relevant parties. It'll be interesting to see how this one develops.


Steve said...

Garon's fine, but I can't help but to suspect he comes more expensive than Jussi, which means that Lowe's using his budget to improve our backup goaltending, which doesn't actually rank in the top ten things that needed improving about this team. How many games did Jussi cost us last year?

Chris! said...

While I do think the Oilers needed to upgrade their backup goaltending for the reasons I expressed (Roloson is too old and too good a playoff performer to stick with a losing team for much longer, and we need a potential starter in the pipeline), I agree it is one of our least pressing concerns.

I'll reserve judgment on that until I see the dollar amount, though.

Steve said...

I don't see anybody on the list of available goalies who strikes me as likely to be able to take over from Roloson within the next year (do you?), so I think we should be signing a backup to be a backup. Then, whenever Roloson is gone, we find an established starter. This assumes that nobody in the system will be ready, which seems like a safe assumption given that the Oilers just, you know, signed Garon.

The other thing about this signing is that it crushes the Toivonen rumours, which is also a blow to the Glen Murray rumours.

epinonymous said...

Was Markannen really asking that much?

Pleasure Motors said...

I think Markkanen chose to leave in the hopes of getting more playing time, though I can't verify that.

As for Garon, I assume Chris is generally right in thinking he's more for insurance than anything. He'll give JDD and Dubnyk at least until February to show what they've got in the A, then if/when Roloson wants out (one assumes a 38-year-old doesn't want to wait around for a re-build), Garon will move into more of a tandem-type role with whichever one looks more NHL-ready. On the off chance neither of them gets to a level management is comfortable with, we can always then go looking for a more suitable number one next summer, with the protection of having an NHL-capable (if not exactly spectacular) goalie no matter what.

With the exception of maybe Auld or Aebischer--like, really maybe--Garon was probably the best available goalie for what we needed, namely an insurance policy againt Roli leaving/going down and the youngsters not being ready to step in. A fine if unspectacular forward-thinking move.

Pleasure Motors said...

Far more intriguingly, dig this story about the attempted signing of Michael Nylander:

Legal action?

Chris! said...

Holy shit. The Oilers sound pissed, and with good cause. If they had the agreement in writing like they say, legal action seems obvious.

Think the Oilers will try to force Nylander to play for them this year?

garnet said...

Chris, it sounds like they have Gillis' written agreement to the deal, not Nylander's. Or that's how it reads to me.

Anonymous said...

I'll miss Jussi but am quite happy with Garon. He was number one of three UFA goalies I was hoping for; my first choice b/c he would know many of the Western team players. Plus he's 6'2 and a .905 (career). Very nice.

Good new also getting Raffi done. NOW GET STOLL DONE PLEASE!!

I would'nt be surprised if there is some legal action; what Nylander and his team did may have gummed up Lowe's crucial next moves in the free agency chess game.

Chris! said...

Garnet, yeah, I saw that bit. But seeing as Nylander's agent was the chief negotiator on the deal and is paid to legally represent his client, shouldn't Gillie's signature bind Nylander to the agreed-upon contract?

If the Oilers do have legal recourse on this, though, I'm curious to see what they'll seek to rectify the situation.

garnet said...

I think you need Nylander's John Hancock as well. Interestingly, Nylander canned his last agent, Paul Theofanous, just two weeks ago, reportedly because Theofanous had committed him to the Rangers for three years at $3.75M. Seems like he made the right call, too, given everything.

Pleasure Motors said...

As I said in an e-mail to Chris, I assume they'll be looking for some kind of draft compensation or something from Washington and/or the NHL. If they can get anything (and I honestly have no idea if they could), I assume it will be along the lines of that whole Keenan/St. Louis/Rangers debacle from the mid-'90s. Although, again, that might assume that Washington did something untoward in this, which it doesn't sound like they did.

Either way, something to distract us from our lack of other free agent signings.

Chris! said...

Yeah, and now Matheson has a great story about all the incredible free agent signings we passed on while we thought we had Nylander locked up. I can hardly wait to hear how great this year could have been.

Also, Oilers have signed Torres to a three-year, $6.75M deal. $2.25 a year seems like a good price for a man of his talents.

Baroque said...

If this is the kind of agent that Nylander chooses, maybe he would be better off negotiating his own contract.

No wonder the Oilers are ticked.

Anonymous said...

The Oilers' press release strongly implies they had what amounts to a "letter of intent" from the agent, but no signed contract. In this case, there is nothing to enforce legally as far as the player is concerned - Nylander is in DC to stay, and there won't be any compensation coming to Edmonton. But the agent could end up with some serious tarnish on his reputation..

garnet said...

Anonymous commenter above is likely right, though -- all sarcasm aside -- I'm not sure that going back on such deals damages an agent's reputation at all. Really, he got a better deal and let his client take it; is that going to dissuade players from hiring him?

Not to make everything a Lowe-sucks meme but someone clearly in the organization counted their chickens by leaking the deal to Stauffer. Stauffer's bulletin may even have alerted the Caps and driven them to intervene. The team can complain all it wants but who really looks bad out of this? A richer player? An aggressive agent? Or the Oilers?

David S said...

A cold-hearted agent who takes advantage of the fog of the trade wars to get his client the best deal. Who woulda thought?

Man, I'd love to work for the Oilers. Absolutely zeeero accountability there! Anything goes sideways and Pat Laforge just issues some weak-ass statement blaming everybody and everything else.

"It wasn't me mommy!"

If Katz succeeds in buying the Oilers, just watch how fast heads roll.

Rod said...

The Oil statement indicates this type of backtracking by an agent is unprecedented in Oiler history. Doesn't sound to me like the Oil were unrealistic in counting Nylander as signed.

The damage is obviously what it did to their other FA plans. For example, Sykora signed in Pittsburgh *after* Nylander's agent signed. There's also the Nagy, and Handzus deals with LA. Without the dollars and term committed to Nylander, would the Oil have pursued any of those players?

At other times of year, the impact of that sort of flip-flop isn't nearly as damaging. "Free agent frenzy" though? Maximum damage.

Compensation for that damage...and from whom...likely not very helpful on the ice for the Oil this coming season. More likely it'll force a change in the rules to help ensure this type of thing doesn't happen again (i.e. more rigour and bureaucracy surrounding FA deals).

Ugly all around.

garnet said...

Didn't Scott Howson used to be the guy responsible for contracts? I figured we'd miss him, but I didn't think it would be this quick.

Andy Grabia said...

The other thing about this signing is that it crushes the Toivonen rumours, which is also a blow to the Glen Murray rumours.

Unless Boston gets Garon in a deal.

Steve said...

Unless Boston gets Garon in a deal.

Could be, I guess, but I can't see that happening before the start of the season. Seriously, are there any examples of a UFA getting signed by a team and then traded before he plays a single game for them? If there are, I'd bet there must be some kind of mitigating circumstances.

Besides that, what would the Bruins want with another goalie? The whole reason they're trying to unload Toivonen - whose name I'm certain is spelled differently than the way I'm spelling it, although I don't much care - is that they have too damned many of the buggers.

Bob said...

Lowe should leave it alone! He obviously didn't have a "signed agreement" but a letter of intent.

By going public saying they're exploring legal options, they sound like they're threatening every player looking after their own best interests.

The Oilers come off as an anti-player team. They're never going to attract UFAs this way. Cal says Pronger should have divorced his wife for the sake of the team, Lowe cans his heart-and-soul Ryan Smyth -- who took several hometown discounts -- and now he publicly mocks a player because he assumed he had a player locked up on an unsigned piece of paper.

This team won't succeed with Lowe at the helm. No amount of DVDs selling Edmonton are going to pursuade players that this is a friendly city with this kind of ridiculous public mockery of players interests.

-- Bob

Darien said...

What the Oil did here was pull a Jim Balsillie. Nylander is the Preds and the Capitals are Boots. I don't think they'll get a Sorry out of Gillis let alone moneys..

epinonymous said...

Oilers "management" has just got to chill the fuck out.

It reminds of breaking up with my first girlfriend and going apeshit about it, writing embarrassingly emotive letters, calling her friends, basically being a complete adolescent nutcase because I thought my life was slipping away.

For the next few months I couldn't go near a girl without her smelling the desperation on me.

Six months after that, once I'd truly and finally gotten my shit together...whole new babe-laden reality.

oh yeahhh...

Moral of the story: hot chicks.

mike w said...

For the next few months I couldn't go near a girl without her smelling the desperation on me.

Hey, unabashed candour is what the CinO blog comments is all about.

Oh, and another reason I like the Pitkanen trade: everyone writing in the Journal's truly poopy "venting" section is against it.

Proving that you can't have too much of a good thing, I've noticed that this venting thing has spread to other sections since I last was in town, including Entertainment:

- Avril Lavigne should take off her wedding ring when she sings that Girlfriend song.

- I read in The Journal that 3.2 million dipsticks watched Larry King interview their leader the other night. What is this fascination with Paris Hilton?

- All you lefties whining about CHED's Dave Rutherford and Charles Adler should do the rest of us a favour and listen to another station.

- Todd Babiak's world does not require a God because everyone there derives their moral values from the likes of Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell.

All this and more, for $277 a year.

Black Dog said...

Avril should take off her wedding ring when she sings that song.

That slut!

I always do.

Colby Cosh said...

Why are there so many people saying "Yeah, the Oilers had a signed letter of intent but they shouldn't complain"? You don't think it might make it a little harder to sign UFAs if they have to paralyze their planning for 24-48 hours waiting for paperwork every time they sign somebody? This throws a wrench into everybody's business model even if the LOI can't be used as a basis for litigation.

Also, Avril taking off her wedding ring before she does "Girlfriend" would be the best bit of pop-music stage drama since James Brown's bit where he collapses and then shakes off the guy with the cape. I vote YES.