The Edmonton Oilers and center Sam Gagner have agreed on a one-year, $3.2 million contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing that had been scheduled for Friday.
"It's obviously a long process but ? I'm really excited it's over with," Gagner told the Oilers' website. "Arbitration is something you want to avoid if you can. I'm just happy something got done and I'm signed up for next year."
Gagner, 22, set a career-high last season in goals (18) and was a plus-5, the first time in his five seasons he had a positive plus/minus.
The highlight of his season came Feb. 2, when he had four goals and four assists in the Oilers' 8-4 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was the first eight-point NHL game since Mario Lemieux on Dec. 31, 1988, and Gagner joined Lemieux as the only players to score eight points in a game with one on each of his team's goals.
Gagner said there had been talks for a longer-term contract, but for now, he said he and the club are happy with this deal.
"I think at the end of the day this kind of worked out for the best," he said. "I think there's still an opportunity to stay in Edmonton long term. I need to have another good year this year and continue to solidify myself as a good NHL player and reach new levels. I'm excited about that opportunity and excited to get going next year."
Taken by the Oilers with the sixth pick of the 2007 NHL Draft, Gagner has 77 goals and 143 assists in 366 NHL games.