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So much for the notion that Sheldon Souray had to leave Edmonton before Sam Gagner(notes) could leave limbo.

The Edmonton Oilers announced they've inked Gagner, a restricted free agent, to a 2-year deal. TSN's Ryan Rishaug reports it's for $4.55 million total, with a $2.275 million cap hit. His previous hit was $1.6 million, and Cap Geek's figures have him as the fifth-highest paid forward on the Oil. And yes, we did giggle when seeing Shawn Horcoff's(notes) $5.5 million hit for the next five years; it's an understandable, human reaction ...

Horcoff signed his 6-year deal back in 2008, and there was some debate this summer about whether the Oilers should go long-term with Gagner as well. He's 21, he's got 131 points in three NHL seasons and he could be Edmonton's first-line center. David Staples of Cult of Hockey had this take before Gagner signed:

Gagner has improved in each of his first three seasons. Still, he has yet to put up huge boxcar numbers, so his value isn't what it might well be one year from now. If he signed a five or six year deal now, taking him through prime years in his hockey career, the value on the deal might well be huge for the Oilers.

But that doesn't sound like the direction the Oilers will go in. Management evidently wants to be sure of Gagner's performance, and that of [Andrew] Cogliano, before any long-term deal is offered.

As Staples mentioned, Cogliano remains in RFA limbo, but GM Steve Tambellini has mentioned him in the plans for next season.

As for Gagner, he becomes the latest solid young player (see: Perron, David) to sign a 2-year deal ahead of the potential 2012-13 work stoppage. Probably just a coincidence (sigh).

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