Comparables: Sam Gagner

Jonathan Willis
May 20 2010 10:33AM

Edmonton Oilers v Toronto Maple Leafs

With all of the young prospects coming up the system and the first overall pick for this summer’s draft in the bag, it’s easy to forget about the importance of the Oilers’ best young forward currently playing with the NHL team, Sam Gagner.

Part of that is the apparent lack of development; Gagner has yet to match his scoring totals as a rookie, although his overall game has improved by leaps and bounds. That lack of offensive development has some wondering what kind of player Gagner projects as. We’ve seen different names tossed out there; Jim Matheson suggest Stephen Weiss while Lowetide generally prefers Vincent Damphousse as a benchmark.

Gagner’s track record is far better than Weiss’s was at the same age, so I suspect that Matheson’s comparable is underselling things, but I think the Damphousse comparison is realistic. Still, I also think we need more players to compare

One of the difficulties of comparing players across different years is that league scoring hasn’t been consistent; in 1981-82 NHL teams scored four goals per game on average, while immediately prior to the lockout they were just a hair over two and a half.

To make comparisons a little fairer, I went back to the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, and looked at all the forwards who a) were 6’1” or shorter b) played in the NHL in their first year of eligibility and c) didn’t have a truckload of penalty minutes. I then took those players and adjusted their offence to reflect an NHL season in which teams averaged three goals per game, and projected that offence over an82-game schedule. I did the same with Gagner, and ended up with a list of five players who had comparable scoring over their first three NHL seasons:

 

Player Year One Year Two Year Three
Sam Gagner 15-40-55 18-28-46 19-33-52
Jim Fox 16-22-38 24-30-54 23-33-56
Bobby Carpenter 25-27-52 25-29-54 22-31-53
Vincent Damphousse 18-21-39 11-32-43 21-35-56
Pat Falloon 22-28-50 23-23-46 20-28-48
Tim Connolly 16-22-38 11-34-45 11-40-51

Carpenter, Connolly and Fox all have roughly comparable birthdays to Gagner. Damphousse is seven months older over the seasons in question, while Pat Falloon’s birthday makes him almost a full year older than Gagner.

Jim Fox was a tremendously talented player who managed to survive 1980’s hockey despite standing only 5’8” tall. He spent just over eight seasons with the Kings, scoring just under a point per game in each of them, before injury ended his career. He missed the entire 1988-89 season recovering from a knee injury suffered during the stretch drive the year before; he attempted to make a comeback the following year but only played 11 games before being forced to retire.

Bobby Carpenter was the first high school hockey player to jump directly into the NHL. He had a strong start to his career and in his fourth season scored 53 goals and 95 points. Unfortunately, it was a one-off; his scoring returned to its previous levels and more or less stayed there for the majority of his career. After Carpenter turned 30 he became more of a defensive specialist, but in the end he managed to play 1178 games at the NHL level, recording 728 points.

Vincent Damphousse was the sixth overall selection in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, and after three seasons of decent results in Toronto he broke out in his fourth year, scoring 33 goals and recording 93 points for the Maple Leafs. He would either near or surpass the point-per-game mark every season for the next eight years and ended his NHL career with 1205 points in 1378 games.

Pat Falloon had some up and down seasons after a promising start to his NHL career. He struggled during his fourth season, rebounded the following year with a new team, struggled some more and was dealt again, struggled some more and then got signed by Edmonton; he was okay for the Oilers before getting shipped off to Pittsburgh, and he eventually found himself playing in Switzerland.

Tim Connolly has had an occasionally brilliant career that has been plagued by injuries; when healthy he’s an excellent offensive player and when healthy has been a number one centre since the NHL lockout. Unfortunately, he’s not healthy all that often.

It’s a fairly nice group to be compared to, especially since Falloon’s a full year older and I’m probably stretching to include him in the group anyway. Connolly and Fox both would have had significantly better careers if they were healthy, Damphousse was a very good player for quite a long time, and Bobby Carpenter had a long and relatively successful NHL career.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Ryan14
May 20 2010, 03:48PM
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And I thought the Seguin/Hall debate was getting out of control

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#102 ForFrakesSake
May 20 2010, 03:48PM
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This bickering is a reason to stay away from Oilers blogs... cant imagine wasting a whole day re-retorting...

Thanks for the article JW, I will do whatever i will with the instilled info...

Cheers,

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#103 dizz
May 20 2010, 04:09PM
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Thanks for the article JW and I appreciate your effort and sharing your findings.

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#104 Oil_Loc8or
May 20 2010, 05:00PM
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@ The Nation

How many points do you see Gagner getting as a ceiling ? I tried to start a poll but haven't received any comments in return.

I say he would max out at 70 but 65 is more realistic. If he could get close to what Hemsky has in the past we should be happy. Also I see Hemsky as a 80 point guy max.

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#105 OilBaron
May 20 2010, 05:01PM
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In 1968/9 Gordie Howe had a 103 points in 76 games played. The average goals per game in that year was 5.96, or 2.98 per team. In 2009/10 it is 2.84 in an 82 game season.

(2.84/2.98)*103*(82/76) = 106 points.

In 1988/89 Bernie Nichols had a 150 point season in 80 games. 7.48 goals per game.

(2.84/3.74)*150(82/80) = 117 points.

Bernie Nicholls is a better player than Gordie Howe.

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#106 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 20 2010, 05:48PM
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Oil_Loc8or wrote:

@ The Nation

How many points do you see Gagner getting as a ceiling ? I tried to start a poll but haven't received any comments in return.

I say he would max out at 70 but 65 is more realistic. If he could get close to what Hemsky has in the past we should be happy. Also I see Hemsky as a 80 point guy max.

Assuming he's getting 1st line minutes:

Prime years (call it 23 - 31)

1-2 peak season: 78- 85 points

2-3 seasons: 70 - 77

2-3 seasons: 62 - 69

1-2 seasons: 55 - 61

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#107 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 20 2010, 05:49PM
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OilBaron wrote:

In 1968/9 Gordie Howe had a 103 points in 76 games played. The average goals per game in that year was 5.96, or 2.98 per team. In 2009/10 it is 2.84 in an 82 game season.

(2.84/2.98)*103*(82/76) = 106 points.

In 1988/89 Bernie Nichols had a 150 point season in 80 games. 7.48 goals per game.

(2.84/3.74)*150(82/80) = 117 points.

Bernie Nicholls is a better player than Gordie Howe.

Bernie Nicholls had one better offensive year then Howe (when 2nd assists probably weren't as prominent)

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#108 Oil_Loc8or
May 20 2010, 06:47PM
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@OilBaron

This is probably the best statement written about this article." Good players are seen and not calculated" >

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#109 Crash
May 20 2010, 07:25PM
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With an improved offensive attack coming in the near future and Sam as our #1 center I can see him as an 82+ pt player in the years to come if not higher...

With guys like Hemsky, MPS and Taylor Hall on his wings his numbers will soar...

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#110 DSF
May 20 2010, 07:26PM
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The inclusion of only players of a certain height and the exclusion of those who are taller makes this whole line of reasoning ridiculous and would make even the most sanguine observer suspect your motives JW.

Since height has virtually nothing to do with scoring rates, unless you can launch a treatise on how 6'4" players have better scoring rates than 6'0" players, I'm from Missouri on this one.

Betcha Gretzky outscored every 6'4" player. Will you take that bet?

Your premise was ridiculous.

Gagner has stalled big time. Considering his size, his average shot and average speed and how easily he's knocked off the puck, he's no John F. Kennedy Mr. Quayle.

Sure his defense has improved and, after three years in the league, if it hadn't, he would be termed an absolute bust.

Next you'll be telling us Horcoff is legit #1 centre (again)

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#114 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 20 2010, 07:55PM
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OilBaron wrote:

Do you really think I think Nicholls is a better player?? Good players are seen and not calculated.

lol, what? Maybe you should read what I wrote again. Your the one that tried to conclude that Nichols was the better player.

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#115 DSF
May 20 2010, 08:02PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Define a "big player" and a "small player" and tell me exactly how they have different skills? You can't except in the broadest possible terms.

The arbitrary method you used is totally irrelevant and could only be seen as an effort to pump Gagner's tires.

Then trying to extrapolate those "skills" over different eras based on average scoring rates while ignoring a host of other factors just renders the entire exercise suspect.

If you factor in rule changes, size of goalie equipment, more or fewer games per season, stick construction, advances in skate technolgy, training methodologies (hell, Damphousse was a chain smoker), and a partridge in a pear tree, you might be on to something.

As it is you're just digging a statistical mud pit.

BTW, people who have a bias never know it.

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#116 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 20 2010, 08:09PM
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DSF wrote:

Define a "big player" and a "small player" and tell me exactly how they have different skills? You can't except in the broadest possible terms.

The arbitrary method you used is totally irrelevant and could only be seen as an effort to pump Gagner's tires.

Then trying to extrapolate those "skills" over different eras based on average scoring rates while ignoring a host of other factors just renders the entire exercise suspect.

If you factor in rule changes, size of goalie equipment, more or fewer games per season, stick construction, advances in skate technolgy, training methodologies (hell, Damphousse was a chain smoker), and a partridge in a pear tree, you might be on to something.

As it is you're just digging a statistical mud pit.

BTW, people who have a bias never know it.

So do you think if he didn't factor in size, people would be indifferent that Gagner was compared to players 3-4 inches bigger and 30lbs heavier?

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#117 DSF
May 20 2010, 08:16PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

So do you think if he didn't factor in size, people would be indifferent that Gagner was compared to players 3-4 inches bigger and 30lbs heavier?

In the end, size doesn't matter much, no matter what my wife says.

And to use it a sawing off point is largely irrelevant unless you can more closely define what it means.

Theo Fleury was much smaller than Gagner but had speed, finish around the net, tenacity, a chip on his shoulder and went into every corner in a bad mood.

Where is he in this debate? (there are many others).

If you can't quantify all the other factors I mentioned previously and modify it with TOI, QC, QT what have you got?

Mud.

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#118 Bookie
May 20 2010, 08:24PM
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Yes, Gretzky would be no better than an average top forward, with the one exception being that the world is not an imaginary fantasyland built in your head.

Wasn't the Nicols 'better than' Howe thing sarcasm?

Don't forget your sarcasm mark folks¡

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#119 Crash
May 20 2010, 08:27PM
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DSF wrote:

In the end, size doesn't matter much, no matter what my wife says.

And to use it a sawing off point is largely irrelevant unless you can more closely define what it means.

Theo Fleury was much smaller than Gagner but had speed, finish around the net, tenacity, a chip on his shoulder and went into every corner in a bad mood.

Where is he in this debate? (there are many others).

If you can't quantify all the other factors I mentioned previously and modify it with TOI, QC, QT what have you got?

Mud.

Just from what I've picked up by reading who JW picked to include in the comparison...I believe he stated that he was comparing guys who began their careers straight out of junior and who were top 10 draft picks...

As a result I believe if I'm understanding what JW has already explained, Fleury wasn't a top 10 pick who started his career directly out of junior so he doesn't qualify for the debate...

Fleury was 20 yrs old when he started his NHL career

Just sayin'

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#120 Hemmertime
May 20 2010, 09:13PM
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@David S

Had to give props, smartest post in all the comments. Statistical analysis is "take what you want from it". If you have such a problem with the methodology I do not see why you have to react to it as if he just insulted your mother.

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#121 Robin Brownlee
May 20 2010, 09:16PM
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@David S

I'd be willing to wager that 10 years from now, we will see that Gagner and Weiss end up with virtually the same PPG.

I'm not going to go out of my way to criticize the methods Willis has used to draw his conclusions, but I bet if we cut this item out and pin it to the wall -- or simply archive it here at ON for you new-fangled types -- and look at it in 2020, it'll play out the way I see it.

Weiss will continue to be the player we've seen the last two seasons -- a guy who has had 60 and 61 points and will more often than not fall into the range of 60-65 points (or equivalent PPG).

Gagner will grow into much the same player. A better first three seasons -- given his extra games, playing time and a hot stretch drive with Nilsson and Cogliano in one season -- does not have me convinced, as it does Willis, Gagner will develop to be more than that.

By the way, to this point in his career (481 games), Weiss is at .59 PPG. Gagner, through his first three seasons (223 games), is at .59.

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#122 David S
May 20 2010, 09:32PM
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Thanks for the insight Robin.

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#123 Andrew
May 20 2010, 10:04PM
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I will never understand why every hockey fan looks at Gretzky through rose colored glasses and I didn't say he isn't a great player, he definitely is. But his numbers are incredibly inflated due to the era he played in and due to the aforementioned reasons in my previous post. Look at his numbers near the end of his career. He had a 97, 90, and 62 point campaigns in his final three years and he didn't lose a step either as he was always more cerebral than talented. Those point totals were very good considering the NHL was entering the trap and clutch era during his final years in the league. Once again Gretzky is a great player who deserves to be on the top 100 players of all time. He just isn't the greatest player in history.

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#124 rickithebear
May 20 2010, 10:20PM
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Next you'll be telling us Horcoff is legit #1 centre (again).

Pretty points are what please you. Soooo! thirty teams in the league. top 30 scoring centers are 1st line. for scoring. we will use this grade 5 analysis for game play.

05-06 73 points 22nd 06-07 51 points 40th 07-08 50 points 40th, playing 30 less games, .94 ppg rank 16th 08-09 53 points 34th for centers

Basicly when healthy at his best he is a top 15-20 points producing center. At his worst he is a 35-40 center.

Know for your educated types: over these four years can you name the centers who outscored the other teams best while facing more defensive situations than offensive zone. twp of the years it was only one center in the whole league and his name started with SH. Another year it was this guy and a stiff named Mike Richards. one year he missed due to the Ryan smith trade collapse.

1st line center: please thats Pierre( boys do you want to be his monster) McGuire analysis. Its still bothers me luongo asked to be his monster.

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#125 I am the Liquor
May 20 2010, 10:31PM
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Oilerbear tell us where Horcoff ranked in +/- in the league last season?

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#126 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 20 2010, 10:42PM
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Andrew wrote:

I will never understand why every hockey fan looks at Gretzky through rose colored glasses and I didn't say he isn't a great player, he definitely is. But his numbers are incredibly inflated due to the era he played in and due to the aforementioned reasons in my previous post. Look at his numbers near the end of his career. He had a 97, 90, and 62 point campaigns in his final three years and he didn't lose a step either as he was always more cerebral than talented. Those point totals were very good considering the NHL was entering the trap and clutch era during his final years in the league. Once again Gretzky is a great player who deserves to be on the top 100 players of all time. He just isn't the greatest player in history.

Lets get real here, of course his point totals were lower his last three years... he was in his mid to late 30's. 99.99% (estimate) of athletes see their performance decline (rapidly) after 31ish... Gretz was no different.

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#127 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 20 2010, 10:44PM
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David S wrote:

I don't have a problem with Jonathan's position. It seems like quite reasonable conjecture if you ask me. Not perfect, but at least plausible. I also appreciate Robin's suggestion, borne of experience and observation. Naturally, different comps arise, and again, no problem with that. I lean to Robin's experience, but others might prefer terse statistical analysis. That's cool.

@GSC - It seems to me it would only be fair if you proposed your set of comps and methodology and then we could debate the merit (or lack thereof) of your choices. That's what this article is about - "Comparables: Sam Gagner". Not "Crap on the author to make yourself look cool.".

So far all I've seen is a guy who disagrees with the methodology but hasn't offered up a better/different alternative. If you have another suggestion, post up or maybe lay off the high-school chest butting. That stuff belongs over at HF boards.

Great post.

The most frustrating part of this was that the conclusion to the blog was that: Gagner will likely have a career that falls somewhere between Pat Falloon and Damphouse.... wow that really rocks the boat.

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#128 PaperDesigner
May 20 2010, 11:06PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I'd be willing to wager that 10 years from now, we will see that Gagner and Weiss end up with virtually the same PPG.

I'm not going to go out of my way to criticize the methods Willis has used to draw his conclusions, but I bet if we cut this item out and pin it to the wall -- or simply archive it here at ON for you new-fangled types -- and look at it in 2020, it'll play out the way I see it.

Weiss will continue to be the player we've seen the last two seasons -- a guy who has had 60 and 61 points and will more often than not fall into the range of 60-65 points (or equivalent PPG).

Gagner will grow into much the same player. A better first three seasons -- given his extra games, playing time and a hot stretch drive with Nilsson and Cogliano in one season -- does not have me convinced, as it does Willis, Gagner will develop to be more than that.

By the way, to this point in his career (481 games), Weiss is at .59 PPG. Gagner, through his first three seasons (223 games), is at .59.

Robin, doesn't the fact that Gagner has the same PPG rate this far from his prime years suggest that he figures to be a better version of Weiss? I say he ends up being a 70 point player who is on your second line, and plays first unit power-play time, with an outside shot of being a legitimate point per game number one center.

It's too early to pidgeon-hole Gagner. There aren't many players who "are what they are" in the NHL by age twenty.

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#129 sizzler
May 20 2010, 11:14PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I'd be willing to wager that 10 years from now, we will see that Gagner and Weiss end up with virtually the same PPG.

I'm not going to go out of my way to criticize the methods Willis has used to draw his conclusions, but I bet if we cut this item out and pin it to the wall -- or simply archive it here at ON for you new-fangled types -- and look at it in 2020, it'll play out the way I see it.

Weiss will continue to be the player we've seen the last two seasons -- a guy who has had 60 and 61 points and will more often than not fall into the range of 60-65 points (or equivalent PPG).

Gagner will grow into much the same player. A better first three seasons -- given his extra games, playing time and a hot stretch drive with Nilsson and Cogliano in one season -- does not have me convinced, as it does Willis, Gagner will develop to be more than that.

By the way, to this point in his career (481 games), Weiss is at .59 PPG. Gagner, through his first three seasons (223 games), is at .59.

I will agree with you on "A better first three seasons -- given his extra games, playing time and a hot stretch drive with Nilsson and Cogliano in one season". Gagner to Weiss is a good match, as they both still have upside and Weiss did improve last yr. But when comparing Gagner....My personal opinion is that he will be a lot closer to an ex-oiler named Doug Weight. Gagner has better totals right now, but that's is various reasons discussed above. But Weight's 4rth yr in the league was a break out yr and I think that will be a coming out party for gagner as well.......keep your fingers crossed hopefully no injuries.

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#130 Oil_Loc8or
May 20 2010, 11:30PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Thank god you spoke up, I've been getting it from everyone over predicting a 65 point guy in Gagner. Being told that I consider Horcoff having a better ceiling/offensive upside. I find it strange you think a young player won't be a ppg guy. Reality like I've said before, yourself and I are in it. What's your take on Hemsky ?I like the atricles Willsi writes they get everyone all pissed off. Wicked idea behind it and starts a great debate. Props Johnathan

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#131 Crash
May 21 2010, 12:06AM
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PaperDesigner wrote:

Robin, doesn't the fact that Gagner has the same PPG rate this far from his prime years suggest that he figures to be a better version of Weiss? I say he ends up being a 70 point player who is on your second line, and plays first unit power-play time, with an outside shot of being a legitimate point per game number one center.

It's too early to pidgeon-hole Gagner. There aren't many players who "are what they are" in the NHL by age twenty.

I agree with you paper designer....Weiss didn't make the NHL until he was 22 yrs old...that alone tells me that Gagner is going to be a better player...he hasn't even reached the age that Weiss started in the league and he's already averaging the same number of PPG that Weiss has and Weiss is into his prime years in the league...now he's 27

Gagner is averaging the same PPG at age 18/19/20 that Weiss averaged 22/23/24....I can't see Sam remaining stagnant as his offensive role increases here...The make up of the team going forward will be a factor but IMO Sam's possible ceiling is much higher than the 60-65 pt mark...I think 60-65 is a given with the possibility of more being more than just likely....

Sam's numbers at this young of an age mirror or are better than many of today's top end stars....What we are seeing in Weiss is likely as good as it gets....but with Sam the possibility of him being much more than Weiss is very real...

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#132 Oil_Loc8or
May 21 2010, 12:21AM
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Crash wrote:

I agree with you paper designer....Weiss didn't make the NHL until he was 22 yrs old...that alone tells me that Gagner is going to be a better player...he hasn't even reached the age that Weiss started in the league and he's already averaging the same number of PPG that Weiss has and Weiss is into his prime years in the league...now he's 27

Gagner is averaging the same PPG at age 18/19/20 that Weiss averaged 22/23/24....I can't see Sam remaining stagnant as his offensive role increases here...The make up of the team going forward will be a factor but IMO Sam's possible ceiling is much higher than the 60-65 pt mark...I think 60-65 is a given with the possibility of more being more than just likely....

Sam's numbers at this young of an age mirror or are better than many of today's top end stars....What we are seeing in Weiss is likely as good as it gets....but with Sam the possibility of him being much more than Weiss is very real...

So all the people that say Gagner was rushed are wrong? What if, what if

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#133 Crash
May 21 2010, 12:27AM
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Oil_Loc8or wrote:

So all the people that say Gagner was rushed are wrong? What if, what if

Yes I do think all those that said Gagner was rushed are wrong....the only bad thing about Gagner entering the league when he did was that he will become UFA a year or so sooner...

I don't understand where this premise that Sam was rushed in too soon comes from....Sam has equated himself quite well so far at the beginning of his career and like I said has been just as good or in some cases even better than some of today's big stars were when they were his age.

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#134 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 21 2010, 05:03AM
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Oil_Loc8or wrote:

Thank god you spoke up, I've been getting it from everyone over predicting a 65 point guy in Gagner. Being told that I consider Horcoff having a better ceiling/offensive upside. I find it strange you think a young player won't be a ppg guy. Reality like I've said before, yourself and I are in it. What's your take on Hemsky ?I like the atricles Willsi writes they get everyone all pissed off. Wicked idea behind it and starts a great debate. Props Johnathan

Well you do consider Horcoff having a better offensive ceiling... you know since you think Gagner's ceilling is lower then what Horc has ACTUALLY produced.

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#135 GSC
May 21 2010, 05:52AM
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David S wrote:

I don't have a problem with Jonathan's position. It seems like quite reasonable conjecture if you ask me. Not perfect, but at least plausible. I also appreciate Robin's suggestion, borne of experience and observation. Naturally, different comps arise, and again, no problem with that. I lean to Robin's experience, but others might prefer terse statistical analysis. That's cool.

@GSC - It seems to me it would only be fair if you proposed your set of comps and methodology and then we could debate the merit (or lack thereof) of your choices. That's what this article is about - "Comparables: Sam Gagner". Not "Crap on the author to make yourself look cool.".

So far all I've seen is a guy who disagrees with the methodology but hasn't offered up a better/different alternative. If you have another suggestion, post up or maybe lay off the high-school chest butting. That stuff belongs over at HF boards.

That's always the angle then, isn't it? If folks don't have a mathematical method for evaluating a skater, their insight must be totally useless.

What would you like me to do? Throw some advanced stats your way? If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm not going to do that. I don't see Gagner as being the next Damphousse and I've tried to make clear why I feel that way...but because I'm not using YOUR preferred methodology, my frame of reference carries no weight.

This isn't a fricking dissertation defense, this is a hockey blog. If you can't accept that many fans aren't going to buy into your method of analysis for a variety of reasons (mainly because there are those of us who just don't need to), then you're always going to end up disappointed and getting into spats like this.

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#136 Robin Brownlee
May 21 2010, 07:34AM
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@Crash

Weiss didn't make the NHL until he was 22 years old?

This is why I get impatient. Everybody has the right to an opinion, but shouldn't they have a grasp of the basic facts before treating everybody to "I think this or I think that?"

Weiss played seven games during the 2001-02 NHL season at age 18. He played 77 games in 2002-03 at 19. He played 50 games in 2003-04 at age 20.

So, does "that alone" tell you that your entire premise, your opinion, carries no weight because it isn't based on a foundation of fact?

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#137 madjam
May 21 2010, 07:57AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Lets get real here, of course his point totals were lower his last three years... he was in his mid to late 30's. 99.99% (estimate) of athletes see their performance decline (rapidly) after 31ish... Gretz was no different.

You can only compare elite stars relative to the time/era they played in ,and the gap or distance from which they outplayed the talent at the time - which makes Gretzky number 1 ! Stats never tell the whole tale ,and you'll find the players they played with more often than not determine those stats or lack thereof . Now how many points might Gagner be getting if he were paired with Kurri and Gretzky , etc.? Also ,hugely dependent on what division and opposition they play , as well as many other factors !!

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#138 Crash
May 21 2010, 09:25AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Weiss didn't make the NHL until he was 22 years old?

This is why I get impatient. Everybody has the right to an opinion, but shouldn't they have a grasp of the basic facts before treating everybody to "I think this or I think that?"

Weiss played seven games during the 2001-02 NHL season at age 18. He played 77 games in 2002-03 at 19. He played 50 games in 2003-04 at age 20.

So, does "that alone" tell you that your entire premise, your opinion, carries no weight because it isn't based on a foundation of fact?

I stand corrected and can admit to the mistake...I humbly apologize for making you impatient...I looked up Weiss's stats and immediately looked below the last season he spent in the AHL...I guess I should qualify it by saying he finally made the NHL permanently at age 22.

I still stand by my opinion that Gagner stands more than a real good chance of being not only better than Weiss but much better...I see a much higher upside to Gagner than you do obviously.

Yes I was incorrect about Weiss's actual start date in the NHL...and it does shoot a small hole in the premise of Gagner having a chance of being better than Weiss based on that alone but my opinion was not based solely on that so to say my opinion carries no weight at all because it isn't based on any foundation of fact would be an inaccurate statement. You honed in on my error and disregarded everything else.

Gagner stepped into the league immediately and did so in better fashion than Weiss...Gagner also has numbers equal to or better than many of todays big names had when they were younger and some of those didn't even start at age 18 (ie: Henrik Sedin just to name one). You totally disregarded that part of my opinion which is a fact. You also disregarded the premise that because Weiss at age 27 and well into his prime years is averaging the same ppg that Sam is at age 20 that Sam stands a good chance of surpassing Weiss over the next 7 yrs. IMO Sam will improve on his .59ppg average by quite a bit during the next 7 yrs up to age 27 based on what I see in him with regards to, hockey sense, skill level and his level of compete. I also feel as though Sam's playing time on the PP in the years to come will increase dramatically from what they have been in the 1st 3 yrs of his career and it will also be with better players than what it has been so far.

So again while I did make a small error in my reading of the history and it is small, my opinion still holds just as much weight as yours does whether you choose to accept that or not. I attempted to back up why I have my opinion and made one small error. You didn't even qualify your opinion or back it up with anything. All you said is Sam WILL grow into much the same player as Weiss and that you weren't convinced that Gagner would develop to be more than that. You didn't back it up at all other than to say if Matty says it then it's true and is already a fact...

Any chance at all I could be right just as easily as you could?

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#139 RossCreekNation
May 21 2010, 09:44AM
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@Crash

I looked up Weiss's stats and immediately looked below the last season he spent in the AHL...I guess I should qualify it by saying he finally made the NHL permanently at age 22.

Ya, how dare he not play in the NHL in the 04-05 season.

~Lockout or not, he should've been proving he was a permanent NHLer~

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#141 Crash
May 21 2010, 09:57AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:
I looked up Weiss's stats and immediately looked below the last season he spent in the AHL...I guess I should qualify it by saying he finally made the NHL permanently at age 22.

Ya, how dare he not play in the NHL in the 04-05 season.

~Lockout or not, he should've been proving he was a permanent NHLer~

Holy crap....yes you are right, the lockout year....by bad....it's the old age that has me forgetting these things :)

But anyway I still think Sam will be much better than Weiss :) even though I've screwed up some of my arguement

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#142 Harlie - Team Centipede
May 21 2010, 10:05AM
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GSC wrote:

I don't agree with his method of analysis. It's that simple.

That's is the issue and has always been the issue.

so what method of analysis do you agree with? What part of Willis' analysis don't you like or do you not like statistical analysis in general?

Basically what is your major malfunction??

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#143 RossCreekNation
May 21 2010, 10:07AM
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@Crash

LOLZ, fair enough. I think most sane people think Sam will be a really good 2nd liner, maybe an okay 1st liner. I'd say its probably fair to say he'll be a #3 or #4 forward (on a good club) for the next decade. Which incidentally, is right about where I see Weiss. I'd say they're at least in the same ballpark... nothing wrong with that.

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#144 David S
May 21 2010, 10:22AM
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GSC wrote:

That's always the angle then, isn't it? If folks don't have a mathematical method for evaluating a skater, their insight must be totally useless.

What would you like me to do? Throw some advanced stats your way? If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm not going to do that. I don't see Gagner as being the next Damphousse and I've tried to make clear why I feel that way...but because I'm not using YOUR preferred methodology, my frame of reference carries no weight.

This isn't a fricking dissertation defense, this is a hockey blog. If you can't accept that many fans aren't going to buy into your method of analysis for a variety of reasons (mainly because there are those of us who just don't need to), then you're always going to end up disappointed and getting into spats like this.

I'll try this one more time, in easy to follow steps.

We get that you don't agree with Jonathan's methodology and results. Instead of picking a fight to impress (yourself/your girlfriend/your buddies), how about this:

1) Assume the topic is "Comparables: Sam Gagner"

2) Put forward your comparables - for Sam Gagner

3) Tell us why you made those choices

4) Defend your reasoning in the comments

You're right. Its not a dissertation. But if you're going to bust into a conversation like a dick - online or in person - you better have something to back up your dick-i-tude.

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#145 Tyler
May 21 2010, 11:56AM
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The Weiss comp seems a little uncharitable to me as well. He played 885.5 ES minutes at 19, scoring 15 points - 1.02 ESP/60. He added 6 points in 134.33 PP minutes, 2.67 PPP/60. The following year he played 668.95 ES minutes, scoring 1.61 ESP/60 and 111.25 PP minutes, scoring 5.93 PPP/60.

The PP time is so small that it's hardly worth getting excited about for sample size reasons. Gagner is tracking ahead of him at evens though. This doesn't necessarily mean Brownlee's wrong, only that Weiss, on the numbers, strikes me as a lousy comp.

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#146 Oil_Loc8or
May 21 2010, 12:32PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Well you do consider Horcoff having a better offensive ceiling... you know since you think Gagner's ceilling is lower then what Horc has ACTUALLY produced.

Sure, whats the point. You think Gagner will get 77 points in a season, I don't. Does that suggest that I think Horcoff is a better player ? No it suggests that Horcoff had some great seasons by his standards and Gagner won't reach those numbers.

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#147 Robin Brownlee
May 21 2010, 12:41PM
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@Crash

"Any chance at all I could be right just as easily as you could?" Yes, there's a chance, but it's highly unlikely.

You started off your argument with bad facts and I called you on it. I didn't say it was your whole argument, but it was your opening point. You think Gagner might turn out better than Weiss, and that's fine. But don't soft-sell your mistake and quickly skip on to the next point once it's exposed.

You did it again by saying you should have qualified your statement by saying "permanently" at age 22. So, did every player who'd been in the league for 2, 3, 4 years only make the NHL "permanently" after the lockout?

Take your lumps and then stick to your guns if you want -- I'm fine with the latter because even if Sam does turn out marginally more productive (or marginally less) than Weiss, it proves my point. I see Gagner and Weiss as neck-and-neck for the balance of their careers. They will turn out to be comparable players.

Willis: Again, your numbers need some context. Many of the players on entry level contracts who went to the AHL during the lockout dogged it. With one or two years in the NHL on their resumes, they weren't big on busing it in the AHL for a minor league salary on their two-way deals ($60,000 to $90,000), but the parent clubs wanted to keep them playing instead of sitting out.

Jay Bouwmeester went to San Antonio at age 21 and mailed it in with 4-13-17 (and minus-22) in 64 games.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard was a year younger, 20, and scored 12-42-54. OK, but not outstanding and certainly not an indicator of what he'd do at the NHL level.

Jarret Stoll, 22 at the time, scored 21-17-38 in 66 games with the Roadrunners. So-so.

Joffrey Lupul, 21 at the time, had 30-26-56 in 65 games with Cincinnati. Good. Not great.

I travelled with the Roadrunners the entire lockout season and covered them as I would the Oilers. I talked to virtually every prospect in every city because my editors wanted features on all the blue-chippers forced into the minors by the lockout. The vast majority of them put in their time because they had to, not much more.

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#148 rickithebear
May 21 2010, 10:18PM
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Oilerbear tell us where Horcoff ranked in +/- in the league last season?

Which segment!

I believe his last 25 games he was .8 points/gm +3, He is not the guy we have to worry about. He has his suckfest for the first 40 to 50 games of the first year of a new contract. then becomes the best 2 way who is around the top 30 in points.

liquor I remember you from the hF boards your one of the HF clowns who has no F...ing understanding of situational play. Take your twelve year old as back to you video games.

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#149 PaperDesigner
May 23 2010, 10:30PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

No, Gagner's PPG does not suggest he'll be better than Weiss. Gagner got a head start by playing 89 more games than Weiss in his first three NHL seasons. When you play just seven games in your rookie season, you aren't doing anything but trying to stay the hell out of the way and trying to make sure you don't sit in the wrong seat on the team bus. That head start doesn't mean Sam's ceiling is higher.

And how am I saying Gagner is what he is when I'm projecting him as a 60-65 point player when he has yet to reach 50 points? Simple math says I expect Gagner to increase his previous offensive production by 20-25 per cent, so how does that translate to me saying he's as good as he's going to get?

Sorry Robin, I think I confused your claim that they have the same PPG average with the idea that Gagner was close to his ceiling.

What I will say is that Weiss has had a chance to move into his prime years in the NHL. That it took him until his fifth pro season to produce comparable offensive numbers to what Gagner has produced in each of his first three. Gagner's first 40+ point season came at 18. Weiss' came at 23. Weiss started producing 60 at 25, and has done it twice. His PPG average has the benefit of being improved by starting in on his prime years. Gagner has played his NHL seasons as a 18, 19, 20 year old.

Here's the chart tracking their draft year production, and first three pro seasons.

Gagner: Draft year in junior: 2.22 PPG 18 year (NHL): 0.62 PPG 19 year (NHL): 0.52 PPG 20 year (NHL): 0.60 PPG

Weiss: Draft year in junior: 1.40 18 year (junior): 1.52 19 year (NHL): 0.27 20 year (NHL): 0.58 (9 points in 10 games in minors)

I guess I just don't see a similar curve between the two players. Gagner walked into a perfect opportunity at the end of his first year, and has been rounding out the rest of his game since, but has, until his 20 year old year, tracked drastically ahead of Weiss. He scored more in junior, scored better in the NHL in his early years.

Weiss had two major jumps in production; one from being a marginal NHL player to scoring enough to be useful (between 19 and 20) and from being useful to being a solid 60 point producer (between 22 and 23).

Right now, Gagner's a useful scorer, and I think we agree that he's got at least one leap in production ahead of him. One would put him in the class of Weiss. But if he has two, and I wouldn't bet against that being within the realm of possibility for a 20 year old, then he'll end up being a cut above Weiss.

He could be Weiss, and as a fan, I'd be happy with that, I just think that there's just as good a chance he ends up being an 80 point player, with the most likely outcome being a player who's in the 70 point range at his peak.

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