Sudden Sam

Lowetide
July 19 2011 10:33AM

In the decade that began in 1997-98, no Oiler rookie approached the heights reached by Sudden Sam Gagner. Samwise. The young magician posted a big number as a teenager, and has been chasing it ever since. Is Gagner ever going to get better?

By any measure (except for the ones David Staples uses) Sam Gagner is getting better, making progess. Let's begin with the easy stuff, the boxcars:

  • Age 18 79, 13-36-49 (.620 points per game)
  • Age 19 76, 16-25-41 (.539 points per game)
  • Age 20 68, 15-26-41 (.603 points per game)
  • Age 21 68, 15-27-42 (.618 points per game)

You call that progress? Yes, yes I do. Gagner has never played on a good hockey team at the NHL level. Team wins by season were 41, 35, 27 and 25. Team GF totals per season were 235, 234, 214 and 193. So, using the brain God gave us Gagner was in on 20.8% of the offense as a rookie and 21.8% of the offense this past season.

Sam Gagner might appear to be running in place, but he is now the best offensive option at center for the Edmonton Oilers. His 5x5 points-per-60 numbers are heading in a good direction too:

  • 07-08 5x5 per 60m: 1.96
  • 08-09 5x5 per 60m: 1.69
  • 09-10 5x5 per 60m: 1.56
  • 10-11 5x5 per 60m: 1.91

RUN....IT'S MATH!!!!!

My Dad always had a saying that worked during arguments with my Mom. It went something like "if you have to work this hard to prove you're right then you're probably wrong." Not a strong argument, but it drove my Mom crazy and that was the end game (Mom and Dad were happily married btw, couples niggle away at each other. Some of us enjoy it!).

Gabriel Desjardins supplies us with a steady stream of information from year to year at behind the net. If he charged a dollar for every visit he'd own my house. I promise this won't hurt a bit, we're going to look at two measurements here that are easily explained:

CORSI REL

Let's first define Corsi:a stat for all the shots directed for and against while a player is on the ice at even strength. Includes shots, missed shots and blocked shots.

Now Corsi Rel: A players corsi rating versus the rest of his team. Calculated by subtracting the team's collective corsi rating while he's off the ice from his on-ice corsi rating. Can be used to calculate the relative corsi rating of his opponents for quality of competition purposes.

Both definitions and a very nice guide here.

  • 07-08: 0.6 (7th among Oiler F's)
  • 08-09: 6.0 (6th among Oiler F's)
  • 09-10: 10.9 (second among Oiler F's)
  • 10-11: 7.0 (tied for 4th among Oilers F's)

As you can see, Gagner has consistently been among the top 6 F's by this discipline, including last season when he played with the two rookies after Christmas. These CorsiRel numbers are very good, from beginning to end.

ZONE START/END

This measures a lot of things, not the least of which is how much does the coach trust you? During the MacT years with that young 07-09 team Shawn Horcoff didn't see many offensive zone faceoffs (as an example). Pat Quinn and Tom Renney have been less likely to play the percentages but there's still a lot to be learned from the stat. Progress would be a larger positive gap between end and start.

  • 07-08: 52.8/53.9 (+1.1)
  • 08-09: 55.4/49.7 (-5.7)
  • 09-10: 48.8/49.8 (+1.0)
  • 10-11: 50.9/53.4 (+2.5)

Overall a very positive number, with one season off the rails (Horcoff was off by 4 points this past season, as an example). The good thing about this is that the 10-11 number was posted when he was playing with two rookies (Omark and Paajarvi) and shoud bode well for the future.

There are some negatives in the Sam Gagner resume. His PP number was poor this past season, but so was Hemsky's and that guy is a ridiculous PP talent. I'm more inclined to blame the coaching/setup for the failure of the PP (same with PK by the way). His faceoff percentages are poor, and if he's going to have a career at center improvement needs to be made in the discipline.

However, with summer at its peak (it actually happened Sunday. Did you miss it?) I think it's time to put it out there: Sam Gagner is the best offensive option at center for the 11-12 Edmonton Oilers. All of Gagner, RNH, Horcoff and Belanger should post solid crooked numbers, but Gagner's age, resume and skill set suggest that it's a good bet he'll grade out as the best available centerman in offensive situations this coming season.

Should Nugent-Hopkins surpass him, it would represent an outstanding debut. Should 89 lose offensive playing time (at EVs and PP) to Horcoff and Belanger, we should consider it a major blow to Gagner's status as a top flight young player ready to emerge as a difference maker.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 justDOit
July 19 2011, 10:55AM
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Warning to Gagner: look at Cogs, and know that if you DON'T start to produce and develop as a player, we'll trade you to a... more talented team... in a - uh - warmer climate... with... umm... ok, maybe I should shut up now...

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#2 They're $hittie
July 19 2011, 09:55PM
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Jordn Eberle is only 6 months younger, and plays a position with less defensive responsibilities. Yet at the age of 20 both had very similar point totals.

Eberle has not accomplished what Gagner has in the NHL yet either.

So why are you not running Jordan out of town. Or is that the plan for next year.

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#5 Matt Henderson
July 19 2011, 11:48AM
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@Lowetide

Bless you Lowetide, Bless you. It's been me and a few others fighting off the zombie horde of Gagner-haters for days now. Finally the army is coming in to provide some support.*

*This is the part of the movie where either 1) the army is quickly overwhelmed 2) the army is there to eradicate anything in the quarantine zone including the protagonist 3) the hero leaves with the army to safety only to be overwhelmed right before the credits roll.**

**maybe I should have used something other than a zombie reference because the outcomes arent very desireable...

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#6 Adam
July 19 2011, 01:20PM
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@Jason Gregor

LOL, thanks, maybe if I wasn't at work, I'd be able to take the time to catch an error like that.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/6/1/2200114/sam-gagner-scoring-chances-2010-2011

The tables provided by Derek there demonstrate Gagner's season pretty well. The WoWY #'s (with or without you) show Gagner making Penner and Hemsky substantially better players (and them making him better in turn).

You also can notice Gagners SCA/SCF plummet later in the season when he had to carry MPS and Omark. Players whose WoWY with Gagner wasn't very good. He may not be able to carry the rookies, but he played well in his tough minutes role with Hemsky and Penner, and that's a VERY valuable ability for any player, especially a still improving 21 year old.

On the point of being special, you're splitting hairs. Gagner isn't going to be a player like Crosby or Stamkos or even Hall, but there's still a good player in there, and its obvious when you look beyond G/A/PTS/ AND +/-.

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#7 David S
July 19 2011, 03:13PM
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People. For the love of all that's holy, it's GAGNER. G.A.G.N.E.R.*

*Peeve exposed

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#8 Clyde Frog
July 20 2011, 09:37AM
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I think this is simple, reading over the posts I am going to generalize 2 camps. Group A can talk amongst themselves and Group B can do the same.

If you title your post Group A or B, it will help stop cross posting and ensure people don't get stuck trying to change someones world views.

Group A believes Second Line Centres should:

Post 50-60+ points.

Be roughly 6'2", 220+

Demonstrate an excellent 2-way game

Be gritty, energetic, greasy

Have demonstrable stats that indicate they increase the play of their linemates.

Player's with these qualities are easy to aquire and develop.

Sam Gagner's inablitiy to post 50+ points in his first 4 years means he is a 3rd liner at best.

Sam's +/- is directly related to him being tiny and having no commitment to the defensive game.

He is too small and slow to produce and his current productin levels come from (Sorry I'm not clear on this one, but I'll try my best) coaches and linemates just gifting him said points.

4 years in the league means we should expect him to be at full physical and skillset development. In the 8 1/2 years between now and him turning 30, he will not progress, just slowly regress into obscurity.

Group B believes Second Line Centres should:

Post anywhere from 60 points (On teams blessed with 2 first line quality centres) to 35 (On the not so blessed teams.

Size is relative to skillset, that the players ability to compete and produce should be the only factor when rating kids. (We feel the burn of Zach Parise versus MAP too close in our hearts)

2nd line traditionaly makes up the 2nd teir scoring players and should focus on putting points on the board, being defensively responsible should be a goal but not THE goal.

Have the ability to score over all other intangibles. If the first line centre goes down with injury, having a 2nd line centre step up and keep producing versus having Toby Peterson slot in... .... Nough said...

Finding players who can line-up at centre and produce 40+ points consistently is difficult and teams search high and low for kids with this ability.

Sam is producing as a second liner already, and has shown marked improvement on his ranking as compared to fellow centres each and every year.

Sam played on the last place team and no-one managed a pretty +/-...

There is no such thing as gifted points in the NHL, you earn each and everyone.

Physical maturity is something that starts peaking in your late 20's not at 21. Skill development never stops, the players who make 10+ year careers will all atest to that. When you look at the fact that the kid has almost a decade before he hits 30 and a history of producing already, his stats become even more impressive.

Recap Read through, decide your group and talk amongst yourselves. Because it boils down to you either hate the kid or respect him and no-one is going to change your mind.... Mainly because its not what the kids done, its the filter of how you view hockey in general that skews it one way or another.

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#9 Jason Gregor
July 19 2011, 11:00AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Jason: CorsiRel reflects his defensive numbers. The puck is headed in the right direction when he's on the ice. This is also reflected in zone start/finish. When Sam Gagner is on the ice, the puck is heading in a better direction compared to the rest of the team.

I believe both stats show his ability in the area you've mentioned.

What about is +/- and GA over 60 minute numbers. If the puck is going in the right direction, how come those numbers are so low?

Gagner has put up okay numbers on a 30th place team, but when the team gets better talent like RNH, do you think he will still get the same opportunities to produce those numbers? He has to take a big step forward this year, or his window of opportunity will be much smaller, at least in Edmonton.

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#10 Crash
July 19 2011, 12:23PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Bless you Lowetide, Bless you. It's been me and a few others fighting off the zombie horde of Gagner-haters for days now. Finally the army is coming in to provide some support.*

*This is the part of the movie where either 1) the army is quickly overwhelmed 2) the army is there to eradicate anything in the quarantine zone including the protagonist 3) the hero leaves with the army to safety only to be overwhelmed right before the credits roll.**

**maybe I should have used something other than a zombie reference because the outcomes arent very desireable...

I agree wholeheartedly and what the detractors can't seem to grasp is that most likely better days are ahead of him...

They don't seem to get the premise that many, many of today's top players were in nowheresville at age 21 and for some reason they believe Gagner has topped out....possible, yes, but not very likely.

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#11 DoubleTap
July 19 2011, 12:35PM
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The conversation on this blog's comments between Lowtide and Gregor provide the insights that make Oilersnation so valuable.

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#13 Ender
July 19 2011, 03:29PM
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justDOit wrote:

It might be good for him, or it might be a minors-dump or buyout in two years.

It'll be a softer landing for him in Ana than it was in Edm, that's for sure. A deeper roster and fans who know more about the shovel girls than the players will help.

Let's be fair. They have some shovel-girls worth knowing.

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#14 justDOit
July 19 2011, 06:07PM
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I would love to have Gagner show up at one of our workplaces and critique our abilities, or lack thereof.

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#15 book¡e
July 19 2011, 07:31PM
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They say 3 percent of the people use 5 to 6 percent of their brain

97 percent use 3 percent and the rest goes down the drain

I'll never know which one I am but I'll bet you my last dime

99 percent think we're 3 percent 100 percent of the time

64 percent of all the world's statistics are made up right there on the spot

82.4 percent of people believe 'em whether they're accurate statistics or not

I don't know what you believe but I do know there's no doubt

I need another double shot of something 90 proof

I got too much to think about

Todd Snider - statisticians blues - I tried posting the whole song but I guess the post was too long. Google it and Give it a listen.

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#16 Matt Henderson
July 20 2011, 08:47AM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

It's not as if these guys werent playing elite organized hockey before they were 21 either. They were also gaining valuable experience playing in the CHL, AHL, and European leagues during those years. The difference is that Gagner was good enough to play in the NHL during those same years.

The argument that Gagner has 4 years experience therefore he should be breaking out is warped. The guys trotted out as breaking out after 4 years in the NHL also had 2 to 3 more YEARS of development time.

It takes TIME and reps to get better. The difference here is that Gagner's time and reps have been taking place in the NHL vs the developmental leagues. It's not like Kesler/Sedin/Krejci/Whomever were sitting stagnant until they made the NHL and THEN the development started. We're talking about several YEARS extra to work on parts of their game with considerably less pressure to deliver.

Years in NHL vs Years Developing shouldnt even be an argument, yet here we are.

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#17 evilstu
July 19 2011, 10:39AM
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Still to early to give up on this kid. Thanks for the break down, all arrows point up in my opinion. I would like to see him be stronger, but even with that, he has time to become stronger with age.

Good player, and I'm hoping for a breakout season.

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#18 Smokey
July 19 2011, 10:58AM
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Samwise has put up ok numbers on a bad team. When this team is good we'll see what hes projected to be which is 20 goal, 60 point guy who works hard and bleeds copper and blue. I don' t understand anyone who rags on this kid. I think his numbers are reflective of the fact hes playing on 30th place club. I don't see him vanilla soft as some do. He does hit and this is guy who kicked Kesler ass and actually two years ago and fought Jokinen and held his own. His game will improve as his work in the corners gets better. I think that time with Smyttie will be huge for him because he'll learn how to become profficient in winning puck battles. GO SAM GO. Ignore the naysayers. We want you here...

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#20 Adam
July 19 2011, 11:52AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

So you are saying he is more of a complementary player. I would agree 100% with that.

Obviously he's a bit more of a complimentary player right now. He's 21 and in the toughest league in the world. But he drove results in bad circumstances and that needs to be taken into account.

He can't carry rookies, but he's shown to actually be an excellent compliment to Hemsky and Penner playing against tough minutes. That would suggest a pretty special player at 21.

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#21 a lg dubl dubl
July 19 2011, 12:18PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Bless you Lowetide, Bless you. It's been me and a few others fighting off the zombie horde of Gagner-haters for days now. Finally the army is coming in to provide some support.*

*This is the part of the movie where either 1) the army is quickly overwhelmed 2) the army is there to eradicate anything in the quarantine zone including the protagonist 3) the hero leaves with the army to safety only to be overwhelmed right before the credits roll.**

**maybe I should have used something other than a zombie reference because the outcomes arent very desireable...

I'll help you fight the zombie hord that are the Gagner hates Arch :)- It'll b those same people that when/if Sam is traded they will call for STs head and scream blue murder that Gagner got traded when he starts putting up 60+ points/yr.

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#22 David S
July 19 2011, 12:24PM
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More to the point, it seems here in Edmonton most fans are addicted to "shiny object syndrome". People are falling all over themselves lauding the next high-rated 18 year-old prospect to come in and blow the doors off, but as soon as a quality NHL'er isn't putting up a PPG pace, well it's off to the trash heap with him.

Maybe you guys would be better off following the Oil Kings. Seats are cheap so you can go and actually watch games in person (something I doubt most do here). Every player is a bonafide lock for a top-tier NHL job only a couple of years away (or so their fans say anyways), and HF boards is always looking for new, young gullible posters.

Sheesh.

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#23 Death Metal Nightmare
July 19 2011, 12:28PM
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pass on Gagner. the dude puts up vulture points. he rarely is creating anything out of his skill, but depends on others to create the chaos and picks up the corpse scraps. we've seen Linus Omark create more plays down low in a few games on the boards than Sam Gagner has in his entire career here. not to mention, Gagner has been horrible on the PP not because of the "setup" but because hes so easy to converge on with his lack of foot speed and inability to make deft, quick decisions. we've seen it tons of times where a high pressure PK can make that dude cough the puck up, or get knocked off the puck so easy.

these stats are deceptive for what he really brings to the table because of his physical limitations.

hopefully he does get better because this stupid "age" excuse is getting old real fast based on the amount of experience he has NIGHT after NIGHT

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#24 mayorpoop
July 19 2011, 12:35PM
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i think everyone could come to the conclusion (in one way or the other) that sam, 21 yrs, COULD have better days ahead of him.

to me the point however is not what he can be, but what do we need of him and for the team?

do we think he is a future #2C or can we grow that from within elsewhere/trade.

what is his value? does that value help us obtain asssets from other teams in areas which we are lacking?

what is forward strategy of this team, big/fast...skilled/saverage or a mixture of the above?

the underlying theme of this is that sam is not a bad player....is he a player we need/want/value on our team?

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#25 Jason Gregor
July 19 2011, 12:36PM
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Adam wrote:

Obviously he's a bit more of a complimentary player right now. He's 21 and in the toughest league in the world. But he drove results in bad circumstances and that needs to be taken into account.

He can't carry rookies, but he's shown to actually be an excellent compliment to Hemsky and Penner playing against tough minutes. That would suggest a pretty special player at 21.

Pretty special would be Taylor Hall in my books, not Gagner.

Please show me the stats that back up he has been an Excellent complementary player with those guys for any extended period of time, because I can't find it. And what results did he drive exactly?

I'm not saying Gagner is horrible, but he needs to take another step to be considered a legit top-six on a contending team. IMO.

***Not to be a douche, but it is complementary not complimentary. If he was the latter then he would be praising Hemsky not making him a better player. Just saying. Not being a dick.***

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#26 SurfacetoAirMissile
July 19 2011, 12:49PM
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Does Gagner need to take a step forward this year? Yes he does, the organization is starting to stockpile prospect centers and sooner than later they will be pushing him out of job if he does not show he is progressing.

What is the top end for Gagner? NOBODY can possibly know at this point in his career. He is 21 years old with 4 years of NHL experience. He could have a break out year this year or the next or he could continue at his current pace. There are many players that take a longer time to develop into great NHLers. Take a look at St.Louis's numbers.... how many people said he couldn't improve and would be no better than a 40 pnt. guy?

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#28 Quicksilver ballet
July 19 2011, 01:36PM
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David S wrote:

Dude. IT WAS STEVE OTT.

Most every team in the league have 2 players on the roster similar to that of Steve Ott. It's no wonder the opposition licks their chops when they look across and see Gagner rallying the troops.

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Gagner is so young still! I can't believe all the hate this guy is getting. He's put up decent numbers for his age. He's played for three different coaches in four years. If RNH cranks it and becomes our #1 centre then great. RNH as #1 and Gagner as #2, that's pretty good.

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#30 Clyde Frog
July 19 2011, 02:22PM
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@Dman09

LOOK AT THE STATS FOR WHAT CENTRES PRODUCE:

60+ point Centres over the last 3 years : 21, 26, 22

**DISCLAIMER** Any Centre posting 55+ points should be considered a legit 1st line producer.

Over the last 3 years Sam has moved from 61st, to 54th to 48th overall in scoring for Centres.

Sam has shown consistent improvement in production compared to his fellow Centres, is that not the best measure of production year by year? How he is producing relative to those in the same position?

Sam did start as a fringe 2nd line centre but has since produced enough compete for a job on any team not blessed with 2 first line centres.

Sam's size will dog him, but production wise it has not knocked him out of a second line centres role at all.

If you are desperate to trade him, you better find a bonafide top 6 forward or top 2 defensemen coming back. Because right now, without any growth to his game, Sam deserves to line up as a second line centre no questions asked in the NHL and he has been improving compared to his competetion each and every year since breaking into the league, and still has 8 more years in the NHL before he turns 30...

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#31 Clyde Frog
July 19 2011, 02:58PM
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What?

Energy and checking as the skillset of your 2nd line?

What?

A second line takes the scoring pressure off the first and should make it tough to roll out the shutdown defensive pair against your first all night.

A good second line produces points. Defensive play is an added bonus, but if they don't produce they aren't called a second line...

I think our expectations have gone even further out of whack...

Energy and checking come from your 4th, hell few teams even run their 3rd lines as shutdown lines anymore.

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#32 David S
July 19 2011, 03:58PM
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FastOil wrote:

I think Gagner will be a steady scorer, good team mate and all round guy.

I think he'll get better every year.

I also think Gagner will get owned in the playoffs when there are no lanes because he is not naturally a good player in tight and doesn't have the first step to create space or beat guys one on one, say like RNH who is already an elite skater.

RNH in junior created gap because D backed of him for fear of getting beat. They can crowd Sam because he can't beat them.

He will have the same downfall as the Sedins did in the playoffs - no threat one on one, can't get away from players because of speed, will get pushed to the perimeter, but will have good reg seasons.

Based on that I would pump him up and deal him.

Dude, you should watch some real games instead of NHL '11. Sam is one of the best players on our team who can stickhandle in a telephone booth. The only guy better at it is Omark.

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#34 Wax Man Riley
July 19 2011, 07:40PM
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So what I'm hearing from the comments is this:

Gagner is good because he has been the highest producing center for the Oilers over the last few seasons, but he isn't good because it is a 30th place team.

Gagner has put up less points only because he is on a 30th place team. If he was on a better team he would put up more points.

But....

If he was on a better team, he wouldn't get the ice time because he isn't good enough. So he wouldn't get more points. However, having better linemates would inflate his stats, so if he had better linemates he would put up more points.

Do you see how this is talking in circles? The argument about him scoring or not based on better linemates/better teams can be used on both sides of the argument.

Sam Gagner will have a very good NHL career. He is (soon to be) 22 years old, and has at least 10 more years of playing ahead of him. The old argument will stand that Henrik Sedin didn't score over 50 pts until his 6th year of pro hockey (including his lockout year).

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#35 Woodguy
July 19 2011, 08:30PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Sure, or bad zone coverage on his part..lol...Either way I'm not sold, yet, that Gagner is a top-six forward on a contending team. Being a top-six on a 30th place team is much different than being on a contender.

Sure, or bad zone coverage on his part..lol.

Lots of guys have crunched a huge amount of numbers to see how much players affect SV%ON.

They are come up with the same answer. Next to no impact. Huge amount of luck involved.

Its pretty random for most players. Just take your top 5 favorite players and look at theirs, its all over the place.

Sam Gagner's SV%ON for the last 4 years:

07/08 .898

08/09 .924

09/10 .910

10/11 .876

He didn't get good for 2 years then lose his defensive mojo. It can be this random for lots of players.

Fun fact: Gagner had the worst ONSV% of any player who played at least 40 games in the NHL last year. 566 out of 566. (first was Biznasty with .981 LOL, is Biz 2nd coming of Gainey?)

2 years before he was tied for 188th out of 581.

What will probably happen next year is that Gagner's ONSV% will normalize a bit and his plus minus will greatly improve as a result, but reporters and writers will create a narrative that "Sam has become more defensively responsible" when most of the change will be due to the goalie stopping the puck close to an average number of times instead of historically bad.

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#36 Matt Henderson
July 19 2011, 08:48PM
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@Woodguy

So help me gawd, if Khabibulin's inability to stop a puck is going to be the reason the Oil dump a perfectly good young centre I am going to rage out. This man is a curse upon us all.

Seriously though, if Sam Gagner had been not good enough to play in the NHL up to this point in his career we'd be talking about how great of a prospect he is. Instead, this guy is a bum with no future and lacks the tools to get better.

Unbelievable.

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#37 Woodguy
July 19 2011, 09:23PM
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Here's another fun exercise.

Take some of your favorite centers and look at their 21 year old year.

Here's some:

Jeff Carter 62gp 14g 23a 37pts -17

Hendrick Sedin 82gp 16g 20a 36pts +8

Saku Koivu 82 gp 20g 25a 45pts -7

Patrick Sharp 3gp 0g 0a 0pts

Mike Richards 59gp 10g 22a 32pts -12

Ryan Kessler 82gp 10g 13a 23pts +1

David Krejci 56gp 6g 21a 27pts -3

Sam Gagner 68gp 15g 27a 42pts -17

There are plenty more.

Everyone who expects Gagner to be like those guys today forget how long it takes for NHL players to develop.

Last year we should have been seeing Gagner's 1st or 2nd NHL season. Because the Oiler management have been developmental basketcases up until last year it didn't happen.

Don't hate Sam for it. He's tracking ahead of a lot guys you would love to have on the Oilers.

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#38 @Oilanderp
July 20 2011, 12:26AM
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LT, I completely see what you are trying to get at with this post. After having read it and sublimating it into that which is mine, I hereby decide to carry on with whatever it was I was going to do before you posted in the first place. Having completely ignored everything, I therefore OBVIOUSLY reaffirm exactly whatever it was I believed. Thanks Thomas Hume, and don't trade Gagner. [insert crap ppl will ignore anyway here taking up 4 paragraphs].

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#39 Matt Henderson
July 20 2011, 01:59PM
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Kodiak wrote:

So you are saying a 21 year old rookie won't have to make any adjustments in his game, will be used to the speed of the NHL game, understands the physical requirements of the game, and that the CHL and AHL provided him with the best competition to hone his game so a 21 year old rookie is on the exact same learning curve as a 21 year old 4 year veteran? Really? Seriously?

No, I'm saying a 21 year old rookie will have had 3-4 more years of development time to work on aspects of his game before entering the league with lower expectations than a 21 year old 4 year NHL vet.

Really. Seriously.

Look at Eberle's numbers and look at Gagner's numbers. Do you feel the same about them? Because they produced roughly the same, except Eberle did it playing with better players.

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#40 fuck off
July 19 2011, 10:39AM
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Damn you Stu!

BTW, good article again LT.

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#41 Jason Gregor
July 19 2011, 10:44AM
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Those are just offensive related numbers. What about his defensive numbers GAON/60? What about his ability, or inability, to back off defenders.

Gagner's doesn't put up big enough offensive numbers right now to overlook the other aspects of his game. That is his biggest challenge moving forward. Not just producing, but improving in other facets as well.

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#42 geoilersgist
July 19 2011, 10:55AM
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I really hope that Gagner doesn't get traded, it's far to early to let him go. Glad to see some evidence that shows he has been improving since his sophomore slump.

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#44 Jason Gregor
July 19 2011, 11:14AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Plus minus and GA/60 are tied to things like goalie save percentage. When Sam Gagner was on the ice, their goalie was not stopping the puck (.876SP). This would compare to a player like Ryan Jones, who enjoyed a .925SP; neither of these numbers is likely to stay that far from the median.

I don't know what the odds are that any player would see a .876SP on a team that had a .903SP (that was the Oilers number overall) but there had to be a large amount of luck involved in it.

http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_statistics.php?ds=34&s=33&f1=2010_s&f2=5v5&f4=C+LW+RW&f5=EDM&f7=40-&c=0+1+3+5+2+4+6+7+8+20+10+29+30+31+32+33+34#

Sure, or bad zone coverage on his part..lol...Either way I'm not sold, yet, that Gagner is a top-six forward on a contending team. Being a top-six on a 30th place team is much different than being on a contender.

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#45 Dman09
July 19 2011, 11:23AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Those are just offensive related numbers. What about his defensive numbers GAON/60? What about his ability, or inability, to back off defenders.

Gagner's doesn't put up big enough offensive numbers right now to overlook the other aspects of his game. That is his biggest challenge moving forward. Not just producing, but improving in other facets as well.

True in a way but he didn't exactly play with the best defensive players either. Defense is also a team effort not an individual effort. Can't place all the blame on him for that. I would think that Sam playing with Smyth and Hemsky would be a big difference maker. And of course an improvment by the defenseman.

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#46 Matt Henderson
July 19 2011, 11:34AM
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Personally, I see Sam as high as 1C for this year only, 2C in the near future, and shifted to the wing in the event that another Centre comes in and proves to be a better option AND Hemsky is moved along.*

Long term I see him returning to the wing as he once did in his Rookie year, if anything because of the subpar F/O numbers. However, I still see him as a usefull offensive player.

I think he's been progressing slowly but surely, and I'm just fine with him. As Gregor fairly questions, maybe on a contender Gagner, as he is right now, is not good enough to be a 2C. I think that it's hard to tell what exactly he can do when surrounded by contending talent since he played so much last year with rookies.

I would like to think that when paired with wingers who score more than 20 goals combined he can put up better numbers.

*If another centre proves to be better BUT Hemsky is signed long term then it's probably time to start looking to get a D-man in return for Sam. Those are two big IFs.

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#47 TripleP
July 19 2011, 11:34AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Well sure, some of that might be bad coverage. We're talking about a 21-year old center playing with two rookies, that's a recipe for disaster in any era.

However, even with those things considered that's an enormous number (the gap between 89's SP and the Oilers average SP).

As for being top 6 on a 30th place team, that was the opportunity given him and he delivered. If Gagner was traded to Calgary and played between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay I'm sure the numbers would be better.

"If Gagner was traded to Calgary and played between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay I'm sure the numbers would be better."

Couldn't that be said of almost any player? "If only he could play with the Sedins, he'd put up 100 points!"

The league is full of marginal players who's game would improve if surrounded by superior talent. If Gagner wants a spot on this team, he needs to be the kind of player that makes his linemates better, not the other way around.

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#48 Jason Gregor
July 19 2011, 11:43AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Well sure, some of that might be bad coverage. We're talking about a 21-year old center playing with two rookies, that's a recipe for disaster in any era.

However, even with those things considered that's an enormous number (the gap between 89's SP and the Oilers average SP).

As for being top 6 on a 30th place team, that was the opportunity given him and he delivered. If Gagner was traded to Calgary and played between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay I'm sure the numbers would be better.

So you are saying he is more of a complementary player. I would agree 100% with that.

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#49 Adam
July 19 2011, 11:49AM
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@Pilgor09

Actually, stats suggest this year was an anomally for Gagner (likely due to the situation he was in). His normal on ice sv% (with this year dropping the average) is .900%. For the previous 3 years combined it was .908%. If we were to recalculate GA adjusted to his previously established ONsv% then his GA/60 gets a lot better.

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#50 Clyde Frog
July 19 2011, 12:13PM
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Try something for me. Ignore Gagner's stellar rookie season and pretend he only put up 8 points.

Now look at his career totals, looks like an exciting prospect?

So offensively he hasn't smashed down any doors, but please look at the injury history and how we have lacked our top flight offensive players for large stretches..

Its not like they have been riding him on the first line and giving him nothing but sugar time with our best players...

The kid has solidified his production as a 2nd line centre, if he progresses great! If not we can sleep soundly knowing our 2nd line will be producing at the clip we need until we KNOW we have a better talent ready to step up.

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