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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#51 David S
July 19 2011, 12:18PM
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After 4 yrs. I would have guessed he'd be more of a contributor by now. He linemates Cogliano and Nilsson are both gone as failed projects. You have to think he may be next if he can't address his weaknesses and show improvement.

Would that be the same "Cogliano" that just got a juicy three-year deal slotting him in the top nine of a pretty decent NHL ice hockey team?

"Failed Projects" FAIL.

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#52 billylikestodrinksoda
July 19 2011, 12:19PM
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I think we got tricked into thinking that because sam put up such extraordinary numbers in his first year, that obviously he would improve exponentially over the upcoming years which of course hasn't happened. It doesn't mean that sam's not a good player or should be traded however. It means that Sam is turning into what most people thought he was the year he got drafted which is a skilled second line centre. He's never going to be a ryan kesler who can shut down the opposition, but at the age of 21 he still has plenty of time to grow and learn the game, especially under the tutelage of Tom. What people get caught up on is the fact his point totals have not caught up to the high expectations that people had set on him after year 1. He will never be a first line centre, and was never projected to be in his draft year. He is what he is and will probably be a 55-60 point 2nd line centre given the opportunity which on any team is a good offensive centre. Now if u wanted a shutdown, faceoff winning second line centre, then I understand the negativity towards him, but you gotta give the kid a chance to learn the game at a defensive level from his 3rd coach in his young NHL career. Success in the faceoff dot can also be learned and personally I would like to see the amount of 21 year olds who are perfect at their jobs 4 years in. It takes time to learn and gain experience and as much as 4 years seems like a long time, when your on a last place team that had a piss poor dressing room and little veteran leadership from 07-10, your not going to learn and gain a whole lot if one is thrown into that type of experience

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#53 David S
July 19 2011, 12:40PM
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Makes plays, decent shot, goes into the greasy areas, great anticipation and sees the game better than most.

LT, maybe you should have attached this clip in your article. It would have helped your case alot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPYYgbykeBg

~Yes. By all means let's ditch this loser at the first opportunity. We don't need any of his kind around our team. RNH WILL CRUSH HIM THIS YEAR!~

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#54 RexLibris
July 19 2011, 12:54PM
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I agree in that we have to see what Gagner can do on a good team. He's not a cornerstone player, but he's likely to become a good complimentary player on a good team and it would be nice if, when this team is ready to compete, we don't have to go out shopping for those guys because we have them in our system already. Ideally he's a second line centre playing with good wingers, preferably ones with some defensive acumen to help cover their collective keisters.

That being said I think there is one aspect in Gagner that math can't quantify. This team is going to need a lot of things when they start making the playoffs and Gagner has already proven he can bring this essential quality to the team. I speak, of course, of playoff beards. Did you see his Movember last year? He's only 22 and he grew a moustache that'd put most lumberjacks to shame. Without Pisani's Barbarossa to draw on in the postseason we'll definitely need Gagner to step up there.

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#55 David S
July 19 2011, 12:54PM
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He's a beauty player, no doubt. The thing about Gagner is that if you trade him now you better be sure. RNH may come in here and shoot lights out, but that isn't written in stone.

QFT

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#56 Quicksilver ballet
July 19 2011, 01:14PM
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Here's another good example of the type of player the Oilers have in 89.

http://youtu.be/uMfCK0DIj4M

Empty net, last man back and sells his teamates out by giving the opposition the puck with an empty net. He wouldn't take a hit to make a play and advance the puck beyond the red line and prevent an icing call. Must not be one of those "greasy" areas of the rink David S was referring to.

....just sayin.

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#57 David S
July 19 2011, 01:21PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Here's another good example of the type of player the Oilers have in 89.

http://youtu.be/uMfCK0DIj4M

Empty net, last man back and sells his teamates out by giving the opposition the puck with an empty net. He wouldn't take a hit to make a play and advance the puck beyond the red line and prevent an icing call. Must not be one of those "greasy" areas of the rink David S was referring to.

....just sayin.

Dude. IT WAS STEVE OTT.

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#58 David S
July 19 2011, 01:24PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Here's another good example of the type of player the Oilers have in 89.

http://youtu.be/uMfCK0DIj4M

Empty net, last man back and sells his teamates out by giving the opposition the puck with an empty net. He wouldn't take a hit to make a play and advance the puck beyond the red line and prevent an icing call. Must not be one of those "greasy" areas of the rink David S was referring to.

....just sayin.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=steve+ott+cheap+hit&aq=2&oq=steve+ott

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#60 Dman09
July 19 2011, 01:44PM
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Don't want to make anyone mad or anything but I think we need to stop focusing on just Gagner and look at the overall picture which is the team.

Regardless I think we can all agree that we hope to see RNH fill out the 1C position and I think we can agree that Gagner isn't likely to ever be a 1C. With that said I think you need to assess the team and what it needs.

We have Horcoff and Belanger for at least the next three years and add to the RNH. Now it has been mentioned that Lander is possibly a future 2C and could be similar to Kesler. Regardless of that assessment I'm sure he will make a good 3C. Horcoff's stats and abilites allow him to be a good option for the 2C as well and Belanger is a perfect 3 or 4 C.

The way I see it Gagner isn't going to be a vital piece of the future, yes he is a good player but I think he will command too much money to play as a third liner and doesn't possess the skills and size to be a defensive expert, I think the biggest benefit for the team would to use him to try and trade for a top 2 defenseman. Hocoff can play 2C and out up similar if not better numbers until lander is ready, which could be sooner than people think.

I don't think its urgent but if I was Tambo I would slowly be looking at offers and interest to package Gagner and a defensive prospect for a Top defenseman.

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#61 Kodiak
July 19 2011, 01:49PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Gagner is challenged in the dot, no doubt. I'm not certain how much veteran wingers have to do with that kind of thing but would suggest it's at least part of the problem (so many kids everywhere).

He's also inconsistent on the PP and that might impact him as soon as this season. Although I believe Gagner will be a better PP option than RNH (who has never played in the NHL before) it probably won't take long for the coach to try something else.

I agree with you on the faceoffs Lowtide. Our wingers have done a pretty poor job of helping in that department. I watched countless draws where the two centermen are tied up, the puck is loose but the opposition wingers take control. I'm betting the FO% of which ever center has Smytty on his left side will go up quite a bit this year.

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#62 Pajamah
July 19 2011, 01:50PM
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Gagner can only be a Elite superstar 1C or a 4C for a bottom feeder, which means he is a plug

State your case, go, boom!!!

I will not tolerate semantics!!!*

*Will, infact, tolerate semantics

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#63 Dman09
July 19 2011, 02:09PM
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Dman09 wrote:

I still like Gagner and I've been following him since before he was drafted. I just look at the direction of the team and what the team needs and he doesn't seem to fit. Gagner would be a nice addition to a team that is already filled with a lot of big guys. I could see him fitting in a place like Dallas maybe San Jose.

What about maybe Gagner, a defensive prospect like Chorney and draft picks too San Jose for Brent Burns.

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#64 godot10
July 19 2011, 02:21PM
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Gagner isn't blessed with physical gifts. His strengths are his intelligence and his passing ability. It takes longer for most players with average physical gifts to develop as an NHL player.

Gagner is tracking well to be a solid 2nd line centre in a couple of years.

Many players like the Sedins, like Zetterberg and Datsyuk didn't breakout till 24ish.

Gagner and his two rookie winger had a few disastrous games that really hurt their defensive stats. The Ranger game, and one LA game when LA through the Kopitar line against Gagner and the two rookies.

But they usually responded with bounce back games. They were high event, which is what one would expect with a 21-year old and two rookies.

Without the flukey slashed hand last year he would have had 55 points.

He's tracking to be a solid 60 point second line centre, Does his defensive game still need work? You bet, but he's 22, not 25.

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#65 Dman09
July 19 2011, 02:58PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Did you read the article on point production. Not a lot of 2nd line centers produce 50 points. I think 40 points a season is possible for Lander and he brings a good defensive game and a lot of leadership.

35 centers last season put up 50 points or more. which would lead one to believe that only 5 2nd line centers were able to get 50 points. Its likely different in that there are some 1C that didn't hit 50 points and more 2C that did but you get the general idea. Only 56 Centers got more than 40 points. Thats not even 2 centers a team scoring more than 40 points. I think you may have unreasonable expectations of a second line players.

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#66 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
July 19 2011, 03:00PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

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.

list them.

50ish players similar to steve ott? c'mon now

1 on almost every team i can see. 13ish goals, 30ish points, 130ish PIMs... pain in the ass who can play a decent amount of minutes...

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#67 David S
July 19 2011, 03:10PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

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.

^THIS!

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#69 David Staples
July 19 2011, 03:45PM
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One thing about Rel. Corsi, Bruce McCurdy just did a study -- for second year in a row, teams that were outshot one more games than teams that had more shots. So correlation between outshooting and winning is negative.

What does this mean for Corsi?

Well first off, for Corsi to make any sense you have to factor in ZoneStarts, as players who take a lot of own zone faceoffs tend to have weaker Corsi numbers.

You must also factor in that with that some players will have better Corsi than others due to score effects, so a good-offence, poor-defence guy will see his Corsi bumped up because he's out there a great amount of time when his team needs to press and the other team goes into a defensive shell.

Then you have to wonder if it's worth doing any of this factoring and taking into account, because outshooting isn't related to winning any more.

So I get it that not everyone will go by Neilson numbers. That's perfectly OK. They are a subjective stat, after all.

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#70 FastOil
July 19 2011, 03:46PM
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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.

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#71 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
July 19 2011, 03:50PM
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David Staples wrote:

One thing about Rel. Corsi, Bruce McCurdy just did a study -- for second year in a row, teams that were outshot one more games than teams that had more shots. So correlation between outshooting and winning is negative.

What does this mean for Corsi?

Well first off, for Corsi to make any sense you have to factor in ZoneStarts, as players who take a lot of own zone faceoffs tend to have weaker Corsi numbers.

You must also factor in that with that some players will have better Corsi than others due to score effects, so a good-offence, poor-defence guy will see his Corsi bumped up because he's out there a great amount of time when his team needs to press and the other team goes into a defensive shell.

Then you have to wonder if it's worth doing any of this factoring and taking into account, because outshooting isn't related to winning any more.

So I get it that not everyone will go by Neilson numbers. That's perfectly OK. They are a subjective stat, after all.

so if we factor so much into a subjective stat isnt that kinda like saying we are making the stats fit the point we are trying to make?

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#73 smiliegirl15
July 19 2011, 04:08PM
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Unfortunately our kids have been thrown to the wolves these past couple years. There has been a lot of pressure on them to excel. We haven't really had a lot of good veteran guys to help them along.

They benefit from all the minutes they get but is it really that helpful for guys like Gagner and Cogliano, who could have used a little more good veteran presence?

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#75 David Staples
July 19 2011, 04:46PM
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Best Gagner comp . . .

When Pierre Mondou was 22, he had his break-out year with the Habs.

So why not Sam Gagner doing the same at age 22 in Edmonton.

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#76 Jason Gregor
July 19 2011, 06:01PM
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Adam wrote:

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 +/-.

Your last line is an interesting one. "There is a good player in there if you look past goals, assists and points."

Gagner will be an NHLer based on his goals, assists and points, not his defensive play, or his physical play, or his perceived scoring chances. His current game isn't suited to be a two-way player, so he needs to produce first and foremost. You might not like it, but his role is to score.

If you never bury any scoring chances. and if you don't ultimately produce more points you won't be a top-six forward.

Not sure why you think he was carrying 23 and 91. Paajarvi got way better as the season progressed and especially playing with 23.

Saying it is obvious is also a massive stretch. What is obvious is that that he has yet to score 20 goals, yet to reach 50 points and did this on a 30th place team. Do you think he gets the same amount of ice time on a contender?

So he is only better when he plays with Penner and Hemsky. Penner isn't here. What if he doesn't play with Hemsky this season? Will he produce?

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#77 Walter Sobchak
July 19 2011, 06:06PM
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I think the Oilers still have to give Gagner a year or two at least. Let's see what happens, with less responsibility and easier minutes, maybe he gets 55 to 65 points. I'm sure at the year end Renney and staff talked to Gagner about improved training, foot speed, defense and such.

We have to get off the trade Gagner train,especially for a defense man that can be had for a lot less.

If we start to trade away solid players this rebuild cycle will never finish, we just end up like the Islanders.

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#78 Walter Sobchak
July 19 2011, 06:44PM
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@OilFan

Yes, it would help the rebuild getting a defense man, but at what cost? trading your only proven point producer? isn't that counter productive?

Well, the Oilers traded Eric Brewer,Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka for Chris Pronger. besides Brewer, are the other two players even playing? So ya defense men can be had for a lot less then giving Gagner up.

So how is Sam going to play easier minutes? Sam wont play on the 1st line, so he wont see the best defense man, not playing on the 1st PP unit or having to take important draws in his own zone.

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#79 Kodiak
July 19 2011, 06:44PM
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Gagner carries the puck over the line and gets squeezed to the boards by the Dman. With nowhere to go , he takes a shot from 28' out along the boards at the net that hits the Dman 4' away from him in the shins. The puck goes to the corner, Paajarvi picks it up and throws it toward the net. The other team intercepts and races the other way on a 3 on 2 and has a glorious scoring chance just as Gagner finally gets back in the play after falling down along the boards from the hit he took after his "shot".

According to Relative Corsi, Gagner would have a positive rating as two shots were directed at the opposition net as opposed to one on ours. Yeah, I'll stick to what I see instead of the stats.

And what is the main concern with young age? Lack of experience! A young player is experiencing new things and it takes them some time to adjust. Gagner has played 4 seasons in the NHL and I don't see how age is a factor anymore. His adjustment period is over. He's had 4 years to figure out what it takes to play in the NHL. He's had 4 years to work with skating gurus and personal trainers to get faster and stronger. He's had 4 years to grasp the defensive side of the game. I'm sure he can still improve but I don't think it's realistic to think there will be a big increase in any of these areas.

Regarding Gagner's production drop the second half of the season, was it Gagner's inability to carry the rookies or the rookie's inability to carry Gagner?

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#80 CanaDave
July 19 2011, 08:19PM
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I agree that Gagner has to take a step forward with his game this year, no matter who his linemates are or what situation he is put into. As others have said the fact that he is entering his 5th NHL season means, at least to me, that despite his age he's not a rookie in this league any more. He's still young, but he doesn't really get to play the inexperienced card at this point.

It's my opinion though that whether you want Gagner to stay long term or not, all Oiler fans should be hoping for him to score 60+ points this season and succeed in a featured offensive role. Whether it's to prove that he's a completely viable 1 or 2C for the Oilers long term or to make his trade value as high as possible, everyone should be pulling for Gagner to take the next step this season.

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#81 spOILer
July 19 2011, 08:36PM
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You know what, I'm probably biased for some unknown reason but... whenever I am forced to read Staples, whether it be here or MC's or LT's or Treena's or whenever the Journal is stupidly and infuriartingly listing his blog with actual articles, which sadly is pretty much all the time, I never read anything that ever makes me want to read more. Ever. Not once. I never wonder what Staples thinks about whatever is going on, and I don't know why.

I do know I spend a lot less time at the Journal because they place his blog with the regular articles. That and they possibly have the worst website known to man. And I grew up a bigtime Journal fan, pouring over their stats, Jones, Matheson, Short and then Cole, throughout the 70s and 80s, but since then, they have completely lost me.

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#82 belly
July 19 2011, 09:26PM
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What is the average age of second line centers in the NHL? Gagner = Not the oldest, proably one of the youngest. Gagner = Not the best in both columns (defence/offence) or the worst. Ganger = MADE THE NHL AT 18. All without looking at stats.

ALL = 4 years and only 22. What seems to be the idea now a days?? RE-BUILD. What better idea then to have the rookies come in and see someone that is established at there age when they have entered the NHL to realize they have someone to grow with that in-turn is already a veteran precence to them.

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#83 Woodguy
July 19 2011, 09:31PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

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.

No kidding.

SV%ON is very swingy and full of luck.

Think of 5 players and go look at it (you can mess with the setting on the link LT posted)

It has little rhyme or reason.

You are right that Khabby was putrid last year. AHL back up type of bad.

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#84 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 20 2011, 08:33AM
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Kodiak wrote:

Jeff Carter: 82GP 46g 38a 84pts +23

Henrik Sedin: 76gp 11g 31a 42pts +23

Saku Koivu: 65gp 14g 30a 44pts -7

Patrick Sharp: 50gp 9g 14a 23pts +1

Mike Richards: 79gp 30g 50a 80pts +22

Ryan Kesler: 82gp 26g 33a 59pts +8

David Krejci: 82gp 22g 51a 73pts +37 (3rd season)

Martin St.Louis: 82gp 33g 37a 70pts +10

Joe Pavelski: 80gp 25g 34a 59pts +5 (3rd season)

Travis Zajac: 82gp 20g 42a 62pts +33 (3rd season)

Paul Stastny: 82gp 28g 50a 78pts +4 (as a 21 yr old, drafted 44th overall the year before Sam)

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

Here's another fun exercise, let's compare these players in their fourth NHL season (or prior) when growing pains and age shouldn't be used as an excuse. Age is an excuse because of lack of experience. If you've played 4 years in the league you should have figured out what it's all about by then and what you need to bring to the table.

I'm not exactly sure why you are so reluctant to admit that age isn't simply related to experience but also to the body's natural athletic development.

Go ahead and google "peak athletic ability and age", you'll quickly find that for the most part the human body is at it's highest athletic potential in the 23 - 30 range.... and that it isn't, in fact 18 - 21.

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#85 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 20 2011, 08:50AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

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.

Ya I don't get it either. Pretty simple concept, look accross almost every major sport and outside of the odd freak exception the guys playing at the highest levels are in that 23 - 30 sweet spot.

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#86 TigerUnderGlass
July 20 2011, 02:15PM
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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?

I don't really understand your insistence on making this solely an experience issue when much more than that is involved in player development.

Otherwise we should just put as many draft picks immediately on the NHL roster so they can get as much experience as early as possible.

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#87 Archaeologuy
July 20 2011, 03:37PM
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@Kodiak

I'm comparing them because they put up almost equal numbers but one is a star on the rise and the other has plateaued and wont amount to anything (according to you). Jordan Eberle is not heads and tails better than Gagner defensively, you just think that because you have much lower expectations for him than you do for Gagner.

I never said there werent advantages to playing in the NHL, but what advantages there are for developing your game in the NHL dont make up for extra years to work on deficiencies with little to no pressure.

By my thought process players do NOT improve at the same rate, but they do keep improving past the age of 21 no matter how many years they played in the NHL.

By YOUR thought process all players should develop equally based on years in the league, completely ignoring the total amount of development post draft or physical maturity. It's completely unrealistic.

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#88 TigerUnderGlass
July 20 2011, 03:54PM
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@Kodiak

Enough with the Gagner was stuck with rookies and therefore has an excuse BS. He played half the season with Hemsky, some with Hall and some with Penner.

You did see the splits Lowetide posted showing Gagners numbers early in the season, when he played with the guys you just mentioned, and his numbers after teaming up with Omark and Paajarvi didn't you?

You're right though, he did play with those guys, and he was having a very good season until he had to go and try to float 2 rookies by himself.

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#89 TigerUnderGlass
July 20 2011, 05:35PM
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Kodiak wrote:

Gagner got primetime PP minutes and didn't do a whole lot with it so it looks like maybe it was a case of the rookies not being able to carry him 5x5 like Hemsky and Penner did moreso than him not being able to carry the rookies.

Pick a position.

First we say that he played with rookies and you say that he also played with good players and still sucked.

Then we demonstrate that this is not true, that he performed when playing with good players, and you change your argument to "they were carrying him."

Make up your mind.

Is it really your opinion that Renney played him with rookies to see if they could carry him? You aren't even making sense, you're just arguing for arguments sake.

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#90 Archaeologuy
July 20 2011, 05:53PM
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@Kodiak

How many dimensions did many of the names we've bantied about have at the age of 21? Many lacked scoring or defensive responsibility as well. They rounded their games out. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Gagner's game cant improve as well.

You can make up an issue with his skating that has been a non issue his whole career, or question his heart despite any evidence that it's deficient, but in the end you are of the belief that he has plateaued. This flies in the face of all common sense and historical evidence but it is your opinion and youre entitled to it, even if its dead wrong.

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#91 stilldrinkingthekoolaid
July 19 2011, 10:40AM
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Still hoping for more from Sam. Nice read and shows good things happening.

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#92 David S
July 19 2011, 10:52AM
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I bet there's alot of guys working on their best, shiniest retaliatory posts right about now.

*Also, looks like Cogliano got a pretty fair pay raise. Good for him. Besides, ~we're far better off with Jones anyway.~

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#93 Pilgor09
July 19 2011, 11:17AM
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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#

There is a reason that the goalies SV% is lower when he is on the ice. It's because he isn't in the right spots and giving up easy scoring chances.

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#94 fuck off
July 19 2011, 11:18AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

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.

I'm guessing this is your way of volunteering to write up an article displaying the statistical progression of Sam's defensive game?

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#95 FMS
July 19 2011, 11:18AM
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I have no problem believing that Gagner is progressing, my biggest concern with him is what is he progressing towards? I see a center who can put up around 60 points against legitimate NHL opposition, but is bad on faceoffs and is unlikely to be a significant factor on special teams. Without a doubt thats a useful, legitimate NHL player, but I'm not sure its a fit with this organization long term.

Any time you want to make a run for stanley you're going to need a lot of bodies that can fill a lot of different roles. On the 05/06 team, damn near everyone could kill a penalty, and every center was better than 50% in the faceoff circle. It doesn't look like this iteration of the Oilers will have quite the same depth in that area, and I think if we ever want to win a cup we'll need a 2C with a wider range of skills than Sam will offer. I'm not suggesting we turn around and trade him for anything, but if we can use him in a package for a similar player at a position of need (more of a two-way center, a power winger or a young top-four defenceman) I say go for it.

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#96 Shredder
July 19 2011, 11:20AM
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I know we all wanted Samwise to keep improving on the number of points he's earned, but let's all remember that he came in as the youngest player in his rookie season, and then he's played with some brutal players and locker room cancers (see O'Sullivan, Souray, etc.)...and he's managed to maintain consistant offensive play, and I'd say slightly better defensive play every year. I'd like to see a bit more backchecking, but not too much more, but most importantly a better faceoff number. Otherwise, I love that guy.

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#97 Jordan
July 19 2011, 11:35AM
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When listening to Nation Radio, I heard Stauffer prognosticating about line combinations and remember him clearly suggesting Gagner would be playing with Pajaarvi and Omark this coming season, likely with RNH landing between Smyth and Eberle, and Horcoff Centering Hall and Hemsky, and Belanger looking after the 4C role.

If Bob is correct in that prediction, do you think its a tell from the organization about Sam's value to the team moving forwards?

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#98 Jason Gregor
July 19 2011, 11:37AM
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fuck off wrote:

I'm guessing this is your way of volunteering to write up an article displaying the statistical progression of Sam's defensive game?

Nope. But if you want one displaying his statistical offensive progression you won't find one. He hasn't improved offensively.

I'm sure they can show a stat that says he is creating more chances, but his goal and point totals aren't going up. They might, but they haven't yet and if they don't this year his opportunity to get quality PP minutes and 5-on-5 icetime will dip as well.

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#99 knobby
July 19 2011, 11:55AM
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Since his arrival in the NHL Gagner was all we the Oil really had for a future star. Since the decision to tank and rebuild there has been the obvious influx of talent as a result of the good drafting of TMB and two consecutive 1st overall picks. That in my view puts Gagner's recent development of cement hands around the net and general lack of speed and quickness out there. He really needs to get his foot speed to a higher level. He regularly turns the puck over in the centre-ice area because he gets caught from behind. Those turnovers are killers. He slows down at the other team's blueline and starts looking around. If he can't carry into the zone with speed he needs to start dumping it into the corner and go after it on the forecheck.

After 4 yrs. I would have guessed he'd be more of a contributor by now. He linemates Cogliano and Nilsson are both gone as failed projects. You have to think he may be next if he can't address his weaknesses and show improvement.

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#100 Death Metal Nightmare
July 19 2011, 12:30PM
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David S wrote:

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.

nah. Gagner just doesnt have the physical traits to "command" the game in the NHL. hes a vole avoiding dinosaurs and meteors. still has a bit of success out there but isnt going to do much out there with out being given the privilege of top-end wingers.

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