SO, WHAT ABOUT SAM?

Robin Brownlee
November 16 2011 01:52PM

When Sam Gagner skated with the Edmonton Oilers at Millennium Place Tuesday, he did so on the fourth line. At Rexall Place today, Gagner didn't even take a twirl. Yet another speed bump in a season fans hoped would help define how and if Sam fits in the long-term plans.

The start of Gagner's fifth NHL season has been, to understate, a trying one as we approach the quarter-pole. The struggle continues with word from coach Tom Renney today Gagner has tweaked his back and is officially listed as being out day-to-day.

Having already missed six of the 17 games the Oilers have played because of a high-ankle sprain, Gagner returned from a six-game road trip with just two assists to show for the 11 games he's played.

Already passed on the depth chart by 18-year-old rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and stuck behind Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger, Gagner's bounced between the right wing and his usual spot at centre. Tuesday, Renney had him at pivot with Ben Eager and Lennart Petrell. Now, this.

What to do with Sam?

TOUGH START

While the Gagner debate between backers and detractors often gets nonsensical -- he's portrayed by some as a future franchise cornerstone and by others as destined to become a draft day stiff -- he's an NHL player. The real question, what kind of NHL player? We don't have that answer.

After back-to-back seasons in which Gagner was limited to 68 games by injury, and points totals of 41 and 42, I counted myself among the group of people who felt Gagner needed to show us something this season that would clarify where he fits in the pecking order. I still feel that way.

With Gagner yet to duplicate the 49 points he tallied in 2007-08 as a rookie and with 28 games missed these past two seasons, my take has been that he needed to stay healthy and play something approaching a full season -- say, 78-82 games. Keep projections and what-if out of it.

That's likely not going to happen this season, even if this back issue proves to be minor and he's back in the line-up against Ottawa on Thursday and for a rematch with Chicago Saturday.

To this point, those of us hoping Gagner would provide some clarity have yet to see it. If anything, the big picture and Gagner's place in it, is less clear now than it was when training camp opened. A bad start. Another delay. More debate.

The prudent approach, as always, is patience. We already know that runs thin with a sizeable segment of Oiler fans. What I'm wondering is if that's becoming an issue with team management.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 02:01PM
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I hope they trade him so I don't have to hear people moan and complain about him anymore.

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#2 Dman09
November 16 2011, 02:11PM
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I like Gagner and I still think he is a good player but I can't expect him to do a whole hell of a lot playing on 3rd and 4th lines. He needs to be in the top six same as MPS and Omark. Is it no wonder that people are un happy with all three of these guys but none of them have yet recieved sigificant time in the top six. I would like to Gagner on a line with Eberle and Hall. RNH with MPS and Omark. I think the horcoff smyth and Hemsky line should be used as a third line although I'd rather have Jones on the line than Hemsky. I believe Hemsky would do better on a team that is lacking players on thier top line. There are just too many options here in Edm. I like a 4th line of Belanger-Petrell-Eager/Hordi.

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#3 geoilersgist
November 16 2011, 02:11PM
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I wanted the best for Samwise but he just can't seem to get it together. I'm glad I had him picked as one of my goats as the other is already in the AHL. Shouldn't be long now and he will no longer be an oiler.

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#4 gord962
November 16 2011, 02:11PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I hope they trade him so I don't have to hear people moan and complain about him anymore.

I would be fine with trading Gagner IF they get back similar value to his draft pedigree. I still think the best option is packaging up Sam with a good prospect and a high draft pick to get a #2 d-man.

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#5 Dman09
November 16 2011, 02:16PM
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gord962 wrote:

I would be fine with trading Gagner IF they get back similar value to his draft pedigree. I still think the best option is packaging up Sam with a good prospect and a high draft pick to get a #2 d-man.

Would you be willing to trade Gagner for Cody Frason with what ever extras they decide, that seems like the only Dman possibility at the moment.

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#6 The Hall Way
November 16 2011, 02:16PM
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It seems to me that "team management" is "patient" to the point of being over patient

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#7 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 02:23PM
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Dman09 wrote:

I like Gagner and I still think he is a good player but I can't expect him to do a whole hell of a lot playing on 3rd and 4th lines. He needs to be in the top six same as MPS and Omark. Is it no wonder that people are un happy with all three of these guys but none of them have yet recieved sigificant time in the top six. I would like to Gagner on a line with Eberle and Hall. RNH with MPS and Omark. I think the horcoff smyth and Hemsky line should be used as a third line although I'd rather have Jones on the line than Hemsky. I believe Hemsky would do better on a team that is lacking players on thier top line. There are just too many options here in Edm. I like a 4th line of Belanger-Petrell-Eager/Hordi.

So we should have three of our most unproductive players in the top 6 and 2 (3?) of our most productive players on the "third line".

Interesting line of thinking.

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#8 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 02:25PM
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gord962 wrote:

I would be fine with trading Gagner IF they get back similar value to his draft pedigree. I still think the best option is packaging up Sam with a good prospect and a high draft pick to get a #2 d-man.

Too late, anyone that spent the summer(+) trying to run him out of town can't stipulate on quality of return.

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#9 Dman09
November 16 2011, 02:29PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

So we should have three of our most unproductive players in the top 6 and 2 (3?) of our most productive players on the "third line".

Interesting line of thinking.

Hocoff, Smyth and Hemsky are not the future of the Oilers. We need the younger players to take over and perform at a higher level and right now the way things are they aren't making progress.

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#10 Kodiak
November 16 2011, 02:30PM
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He isn't going to bump RNH from the top 6 and can't handle the toughs like Horcoff so he is stuck in a 3rd or 4th line role, a role he has shown he can't produce in.

I think we play the heck out of him on the PP and pick and choose games that we can give him some top 6 line mates and minutes so he can show enough to get something decent in return. I think a Gagner for Cody Franson type deal would be better for Gagner and the Oilers as right now he isn't anything more than a passenger.

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#11 Spydyr
November 16 2011, 02:33PM
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"Yet another speed bump in a season fans hoped would help define how and if Sam fits in the long-term plans."

He has defined how he fits in.Sam has proved to be the 4TH best center on the team.

Get something for him whilst you still can. Say a package with another small forward for a top 4 d-man.

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#12 Kodiak
November 16 2011, 02:34PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Hocoff, Smyth and Hemsky are not the future of the Oilers. We need the younger players to take over and perform at a higher level and right now the way things are they aren't making progress.

Gagner in Horcoff's role would get eaten alive. It would be comical but not productive for the team or Gagner.

The younger players have to step up and show they can take over and play at a higher level. Gagner hasn't done that. You don't reward passengers, you trade them.

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#13 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 16 2011, 02:37PM
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Somewhere Arch's ears are burning and his heart is crying...

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#14 Dave Lumley
November 16 2011, 02:39PM
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I think Sam is a bonafide NHL player but not on the Oilers. With Nuge being our first line center I can't see having a small second line center who is slow and not great in the circle.

What to do? Break up the Kids and put Gagner between Hall and Eberle. Nuge can center Hemsky and Smyth. Horcoff between Jones and PRV. Belanger on the fourth with the flavor of the day.

This way if Gagner lights it up we can get a descent return when he is traded. Need to build the trade value somehow. Look at those Bruins, we need some size and grit and Sammy just does not fit the bill.

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#15 gord962
November 16 2011, 02:48PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Too late, anyone that spent the summer(+) trying to run him out of town can't stipulate on quality of return.

I have always stated that we move Gagner for this - look back at any of my posts.

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#16 Dman09
November 16 2011, 02:49PM
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Kodiak wrote:

Gagner in Horcoff's role would get eaten alive. It would be comical but not productive for the team or Gagner.

The younger players have to step up and show they can take over and play at a higher level. Gagner hasn't done that. You don't reward passengers, you trade them.

Beg to differ. Gagner has been in the top 5 in points for the team for 4 years. So far this year he is showing a faceoff% of 57.7. You can't compare styles of play for a player that is more of a checker to one that is offensive. Just because you put players in the top six doesn't mean you use them as penalty killers. Over the last two season horcoff's point production has been falling and he didn't break 37 points in either season.

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#17 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 02:50PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Hocoff, Smyth and Hemsky are not the future of the Oilers. We need the younger players to take over and perform at a higher level and right now the way things are they aren't making progress.

Or maybe they need to step up and take the roles rather then have them gift wrapped.

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#18 Glenn Schwarz
November 16 2011, 02:52PM
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In 2007 the big three were to lead us to the promised land Nilsson, Gagner and Cogs, Fast forward 4 years only Gagner is left of that group. Does anyone think he's been used right? Should he not be at centre with 2 good wingers. How about give him and PRV a chance to pull it together on the same line. I've asked R.B. and Gregor a couple weeks ago about Lander to the wing, Would love to see a third line of PRV, Gagner, Lander move Jones, and Belanger down with Petrell. Lets give him a chance with 2 big wingers.

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#19 gord962
November 16 2011, 02:52PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Beg to differ. Gagner has been in the top 5 in points for the team for 4 years. So far this year he is showing a faceoff% of 57.7. You can't compare styles of play for a player that is more of a checker to one that is offensive. Just because you put players in the top six doesn't mean you use them as penalty killers. Over the last two season horcoff's point production has been falling and he didn't break 37 points in either season.

Horcoff is playing the tough of the toughs. If the Oilers lined up Gagner against the other teams top lines night in and night out the Oilers would get destroyed on a regular basis.

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#20 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 02:52PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Beg to differ. Gagner has been in the top 5 in points for the team for 4 years. So far this year he is showing a faceoff% of 57.7. You can't compare styles of play for a player that is more of a checker to one that is offensive. Just because you put players in the top six doesn't mean you use them as penalty killers. Over the last two season horcoff's point production has been falling and he didn't break 37 points in either season.

Sorry, I'm a Gagner fan but theirs no way he could play against the league elite without getting picked apart like Horc can.

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#21 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 02:54PM
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Spydyr wrote:

"Yet another speed bump in a season fans hoped would help define how and if Sam fits in the long-term plans."

He has defined how he fits in.Sam has proved to be the 4TH best center on the team.

Get something for him whilst you still can. Say a package with another small forward for a top 4 d-man.

The issues is, even if he is currently the 4th best center on the team, two of the three ahead of him are closing in on 35.

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#22 Dman09
November 16 2011, 02:56PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Sorry, I'm a Gagner fan but theirs no way he could play against the league elite without getting picked apart like Horc can.

Really, because over the last two years when Horcoff has been hurt it was gagner that was on the top line as a center and he still managed to be a top 5 on the team. It was also at this time that his point production increased.

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#23 Mitch
November 16 2011, 02:58PM
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Robin you said it best when you wrote that your not sure what kinda NHL player Sam is going to become. I don't feel at this time Coaches or Managment or Sam Gagner himself can give that answer. Sam looks like another Cogliano, the Oilers would be lucky to get a 1st round pick in return. With that return they may as well keep Sam if he can except a checking role.

With injuries today depth isn't a bad thing.

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#24 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 16 2011, 03:01PM
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I think the guy that's going to force an issue with Sam down the road is Pitlick. He looks to be a big C who plays with jam an has scoring potential. It would be nice to have a C with some toughness.

I think his youth, draft pedigree and production history actually will protect him from the wolves for some time, but I fully expect Pitlick (or Brule if he can turn his game around) to be knocking at his door in the next year or two.

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#25 Kodiak
November 16 2011, 03:01PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Beg to differ. Gagner has been in the top 5 in points for the team for 4 years. So far this year he is showing a faceoff% of 57.7. You can't compare styles of play for a player that is more of a checker to one that is offensive. Just because you put players in the top six doesn't mean you use them as penalty killers. Over the last two season horcoff's point production has been falling and he didn't break 37 points in either season.

So are you suggesting RNH goes head to head against the oppositions top line then? Or you want Gagner take that assignment? Or do you want your third line centered by Horcoff to be playing 18 ES minutes a night against the toughs and have your 2nd line get 12 minutes a night?

One of your top two lines has to be able to play against tough opposition at even strength. Horcoff can do that and still produce. Gagner can't and he also isn't bumping RNH so that leaves him in a bottom 6 role. Not sure why that seems so tough to comprehend?

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#26 gord962
November 16 2011, 03:04PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

The issues is, even if he is currently the 4th best center on the team, two of the three ahead of him are closing in on 35.

How soon will it be before Gagner is passed on the depth chart by those in the AHL? Gagner should be getting better each year, the improvement just hasn't been there like the Oilers expected. I know, he is only 22 - there is still lots of time. I believe that he can have a decent career as a 2nd line centre. I just don't think he will have the opportunity here in Edmonton. And what happens if he never gets better/doesn't break through? What if he continues with 60-70 games played and 40 points? Is that who we want as our 2nd line centre? How long do you wait for him to have a breakout season? Until he is an UFA and he walks for nothing?

I think we should move Sam while we can get a decent return. Lots of teams would be willing to gamble if they had an immediate need for secondary scoring with strength elsewhere to spare. Although I think Sam is not fast enough, lacks size and grit, and isn't strong defensively, I still think he can produce at a decent clip if used in the right situation. With Edmonton's 'defense first' mentality, Gagner's style doesn't match with the team philosophy - the same issue Omark is facing.

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#27 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 03:07PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Really, because over the last two years when Horcoff has been hurt it was gagner that was on the top line as a center and he still managed to be a top 5 on the team. It was also at this time that his point production increased.

We are talking defensivly, not offensively.

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#28 Archaeologuy
November 16 2011, 03:08PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Somewhere Arch's ears are burning and his heart is crying...

True Story.

I was so looking forward to this season for Gagner. He came in faster and poised to play with some talented guys and between his ankle and the amazing play of RNH he's been left behind.

It's early in his playing career still. I have time for him, even if that means this year is mired playing with the likes of Petrell and Eager while Belanger mysteriously plays with better linemates (Maybe not so mysteriously, but still that guy has been vanilla in the offensive zone).

2 points is obviously not good enough, not even for a guy who is a notoriously slow starter. Outside of the obvious coming back from injury excuses there isnt much to say.

I dont want to see him go. I still dont like the depth down the middle at C for the organization. Horcoff cant be expected to keep it up forever. After RNH and Gagner, the under 25 crowd is relatively lacking in offensive power.

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#29 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 03:09PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I think the guy that's going to force an issue with Sam down the road is Pitlick. He looks to be a big C who plays with jam an has scoring potential. It would be nice to have a C with some toughness.

I think his youth, draft pedigree and production history actually will protect him from the wolves for some time, but I fully expect Pitlick (or Brule if he can turn his game around) to be knocking at his door in the next year or two.

Pitlick is barely producing in the AHL... I also believe he's been playing on the wing down there.

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#30 Dman09
November 16 2011, 03:10PM
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Kodiak wrote:

So are you suggesting RNH goes head to head against the oppositions top line then? Or you want Gagner take that assignment? Or do you want your third line centered by Horcoff to be playing 18 ES minutes a night against the toughs and have your 2nd line get 12 minutes a night?

One of your top two lines has to be able to play against tough opposition at even strength. Horcoff can do that and still produce. Gagner can't and he also isn't bumping RNH so that leaves him in a bottom 6 role. Not sure why that seems so tough to comprehend?

If you look at Gagners point production over the last couple of years, when Horcoff was hurt and gagner was playing the toughs with good wingers his point production increased by 30% and he seems to have made a step forward on faceoffs so far this year as he currenlty is at 57.7% comprehend as you want but history shows that Sam can step up to the plate if he wants to.

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#31 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 03:11PM
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gord962 wrote:

How soon will it be before Gagner is passed on the depth chart by those in the AHL? Gagner should be getting better each year, the improvement just hasn't been there like the Oilers expected. I know, he is only 22 - there is still lots of time. I believe that he can have a decent career as a 2nd line centre. I just don't think he will have the opportunity here in Edmonton. And what happens if he never gets better/doesn't break through? What if he continues with 60-70 games played and 40 points? Is that who we want as our 2nd line centre? How long do you wait for him to have a breakout season? Until he is an UFA and he walks for nothing?

I think we should move Sam while we can get a decent return. Lots of teams would be willing to gamble if they had an immediate need for secondary scoring with strength elsewhere to spare. Although I think Sam is not fast enough, lacks size and grit, and isn't strong defensively, I still think he can produce at a decent clip if used in the right situation. With Edmonton's 'defense first' mentality, Gagner's style doesn't match with the team philosophy - the same issue Omark is facing.

"How soon will it be before Gagner is passed on the depth chart by those in the AHL?"

A quick look at how often guys taken outside of the top 15ish turn into top 6 forwards tells us that betting on anyone in the AHL to over take him is a fools bet.

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#32 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 03:13PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

True Story.

I was so looking forward to this season for Gagner. He came in faster and poised to play with some talented guys and between his ankle and the amazing play of RNH he's been left behind.

It's early in his playing career still. I have time for him, even if that means this year is mired playing with the likes of Petrell and Eager while Belanger mysteriously plays with better linemates (Maybe not so mysteriously, but still that guy has been vanilla in the offensive zone).

2 points is obviously not good enough, not even for a guy who is a notoriously slow starter. Outside of the obvious coming back from injury excuses there isnt much to say.

I dont want to see him go. I still dont like the depth down the middle at C for the organization. Horcoff cant be expected to keep it up forever. After RNH and Gagner, the under 25 crowd is relatively lacking in offensive power.

"this year is mired playing with the likes of Petrell and Eager"

The worst part is that I believe he was slotted to start the year between Smyth and Eberle.

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#33 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 03:14PM
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Dman09 wrote:

If you look at Gagners point production over the last couple of years, when Horcoff was hurt and gagner was playing the toughs with good wingers his point production increased by 30% and he seems to have made a step forward on faceoffs so far this year as he currenlty is at 57.7% comprehend as you want but history shows that Sam can step up to the plate if he wants to.

I'm thinking you need to put some proof behind your claims.

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#34 gord962
November 16 2011, 03:15PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

"How soon will it be before Gagner is passed on the depth chart by those in the AHL?"

A quick look at how often guys taken outside of the top 15ish turn into top 6 forwards tells us that betting on anyone in the AHL to over take him is a fools bet.

A better producing centre could also be found via UFA if need be. We also have more picks to come over the next few years before Horc and Belanger's contracts are over. Looking at the team like there will be no changes is as foolish as thinking Horc and Belanger will be here in 4 years time.

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#35 Oilcan
November 16 2011, 03:17PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Really, because over the last two years when Horcoff has been hurt it was gagner that was on the top line as a center and he still managed to be a top 5 on the team. It was also at this time that his point production increased.

And we finished last the last two years...nuff said!

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#36 Smokey
November 16 2011, 03:18PM
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No ones ever happy. 9-6-2 and somehow in the playoff race. Were complaining we got too many top 6 forwards. Seems like a good problem to me.

I love all the man-love Horcoff is getting, and hes getting all the credit for matching up against the toughs. I think were forgetting the 3 years he swam below the surface. My point is this, Sam would do just fine if Horocoff is hurt. The Oiler`s need to find a way to play him in the top 6 to see about a return if hes not in their plans. If they don`t their going to loose him for peanuts.

I`d like to also see MPS in OKL. Play the guy top 6 here or develop his in the AHL. I love the guy, but hes never been given remotely the same opportunity as Hall, and Eberle, and he`s mishandling is causing him to struggle.

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#37 Spydyr
November 16 2011, 03:18PM
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Players earn their ice time. Sam is playing with fourth line players because he has played like one. He is the fourth best center at the moment.No one can change that but Sam himself.

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#38 melancholyculkin
November 16 2011, 03:22PM
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This should be fun.

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#39 Quicksilver ballet
November 16 2011, 03:23PM
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Even the most avid of Oiler fan has to see the writing on the wall now, i'm sure Oiler management is even of the same mindset now. Feel the Oilers could hold out and get more than Cody Fransen for him. Has to be one team out there that believes under a new system Gagner could blossom, just need to find one that has something the Oilers would desire in return. Perhaps a mid first rounder if they threw in Plante as well. Oilers only need cash (draftpicks) in return for 89, we don't need someone elses problems.

Wouldn't it be great to see an Oiler centerman licking his chops as he looks across and sees Sam Gagner as his faceoff opponent. Even if 89 never puts together a 50 pt season he could still have a 10-15 yr career in the NHL. Best wishes Sam Gagner.

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#40 Archaeologuy
November 16 2011, 03:23PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

"this year is mired playing with the likes of Petrell and Eager"

The worst part is that I believe he was slotted to start the year between Smyth and Eberle.

Yes. The What-Ifs continue to pile up with him.

I still believe he has a long and productive career ahead of him. I hope it's here in Edmonchuk.

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#41 PutzStew
November 16 2011, 03:23PM
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Dman09 wrote:

I like Gagner and I still think he is a good player but I can't expect him to do a whole hell of a lot playing on 3rd and 4th lines. He needs to be in the top six same as MPS and Omark. Is it no wonder that people are un happy with all three of these guys but none of them have yet recieved sigificant time in the top six. I would like to Gagner on a line with Eberle and Hall. RNH with MPS and Omark. I think the horcoff smyth and Hemsky line should be used as a third line although I'd rather have Jones on the line than Hemsky. I believe Hemsky would do better on a team that is lacking players on thier top line. There are just too many options here in Edm. I like a 4th line of Belanger-Petrell-Eager/Hordi.

Congrats. You have, by far the best answer I have read on this solution. Thank you for using logic. Unfortunately I think we're stuck with Hemsky until the deadline so I don't see much changing so.

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#42 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 16 2011, 03:23PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Pitlick is barely producing in the AHL... I also believe he's been playing on the wing down there.

Did you listen to Nation Radio this week?

Byers and LT seemed to be giving Pitlick pretty high marks. Here's LT write up:

Which of the "younger group" has done the most? Byers didn't hesitate. Answer? Phil Cornet. Byers said he's been exceptional around the net and on the PP. Great hands, and he's forced his way up the depth chart at the expense of veterans and more highly touted prospects. Byers also told me that Tyler Pitlick has been a very physical player and very involved despite being kept off the scoreboard recently (Pitlick scored last night). Curtis Hamilton has been involved at even strength plus a little on the PK, but neither he or Pitlick is getting much special teams time. We should factor that into their boxcars. When I asked him which of the kids (Pitlick/Hamilton) was playing more and having an impact on the game, the answer came back Pitlick.

I'm not saying the guy is a guaranteed NHL C... but he has potential and the team could definitely use a C with some jam. RNH and Gags are small, finesse players; Belanger and Horcoff are grittier but are hardly edgy, power forward types. Pitlick could be the guy.

If would be funny to argue against writing off a young NHL player by writing off a 20 year old 13 games into his pro career (not sure if you're doing that... but if you are it would be funny)

aside. I had no idea he was on the wing. the Barons website still lists him as a C. can anyone confirm this?

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#43 Dman09
November 16 2011, 03:25PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I'm thinking you need to put some proof behind your claims.

Just go to NHL.com and look at the numbers yourself. All you have to do is compare game logs between Gagner and Horcoff.

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#44 Oilcan
November 16 2011, 03:25PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Players earn their ice time. Sam is playing with fourth line players because he has played like one. He is the fourth best center at the moment.No one can change that but Sam himself.

Exactly I think the problem is everyone is afraid that if Gagner gets traded he rips it up, and that might be the case but I think it is safe to say Gagner is not getting it done here, if he were to put up 40-50 points and play a solid defensive game that would be a different story, or PK or win a FO.

As a fan I have a hard time trading guys because I think they will be good but there is a point where you have to trade guys, example I think Peckham could be a solid bottom pairing guy one day but not right now so I think it would be fine to package him up.

Yes Gagner is young and Horcoff and Belanger are getting older but I think Gagner is easily replaced in the UFA market.

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#45 Wax Man Riley
November 16 2011, 03:26PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Really, because over the last two years when Horcoff has been hurt it was gagner that was on the top line as a center and he still managed to be a top 5 on the team. It was also at this time that his point production increased.

You know The Oilers finished LAST place over the last 2 years, right?

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#46 Dman09
November 16 2011, 03:26PM
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Oilcan wrote:

And we finished last the last two years...nuff said!

And one individual makes a team

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#47 A-Mc
November 16 2011, 03:27PM
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Soo, does this mean Lander is back in!? =D

I've a nagging thought in my head that says: "Put the team back to where it was at the beginning of the season, Just to see if we start winning again. And if so, Are we doing it the way Renney is coaching the team to win"

While trying to make it better, we sometimes ruin something we don't fully understand to begin with.

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#48 Archaeologuy
November 16 2011, 03:27PM
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@Wax Man Riley

So you're saying that Horcoff's leadership as Captain is what drove the Oilers down?

Right?

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#49 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 03:29PM
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gord962 wrote:

A better producing centre could also be found via UFA if need be. We also have more picks to come over the next few years before Horc and Belanger's contracts are over. Looking at the team like there will be no changes is as foolish as thinking Horc and Belanger will be here in 4 years time.

I wouldn't bank on aquiring a FA that can produce at better then .6PPG clip.... especially without a big overpay.

Anyone drafted going forward outside of maybe next years 1st rounder is probably 5 years away from making any type of impact.

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#50 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 16 2011, 03:32PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Did you listen to Nation Radio this week?

Byers and LT seemed to be giving Pitlick pretty high marks. Here's LT write up:

Which of the "younger group" has done the most? Byers didn't hesitate. Answer? Phil Cornet. Byers said he's been exceptional around the net and on the PP. Great hands, and he's forced his way up the depth chart at the expense of veterans and more highly touted prospects. Byers also told me that Tyler Pitlick has been a very physical player and very involved despite being kept off the scoreboard recently (Pitlick scored last night). Curtis Hamilton has been involved at even strength plus a little on the PK, but neither he or Pitlick is getting much special teams time. We should factor that into their boxcars. When I asked him which of the kids (Pitlick/Hamilton) was playing more and having an impact on the game, the answer came back Pitlick.

I'm not saying the guy is a guaranteed NHL C... but he has potential and the team could definitely use a C with some jam. RNH and Gags are small, finesse players; Belanger and Horcoff are grittier but are hardly edgy, power forward types. Pitlick could be the guy.

If would be funny to argue against writing off a young NHL player by writing off a 20 year old 13 games into his pro career (not sure if you're doing that... but if you are it would be funny)

aside. I had no idea he was on the wing. the Barons website still lists him as a C. can anyone confirm this?

With how low drafting success rates are I basically go in assuming all picks are busts until proven otherwise.

That way I'm right 80% - 90% of the time.

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