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 Team 1260.
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#1 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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#2 fuck off
July 19 2011, 10:39AM
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Damn you Stu!

BTW, good article again LT.

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#3 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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#4 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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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 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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#12 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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#13 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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#14 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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#15 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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#17 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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#18 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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#19 Archaeologuy
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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#20 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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#21 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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#22 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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#24 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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#25 Archaeologuy
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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#26 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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#27 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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#28 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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#29 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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#30 a lg dubl dubl
July 19 2011, 12:18PM
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Archaeologuy 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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#31 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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#32 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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#33 Crash
July 19 2011, 12:23PM
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Archaeologuy 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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#34 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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#35 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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#36 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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#37 knobby
July 19 2011, 12:34PM
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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.

The oracle has spoken.

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#38 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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#39 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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#40 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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#41 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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 spOILer
July 19 2011, 01:00PM
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Ahh, yes. Semantical arguments are the best, aren't they?

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#47 spOILer
July 19 2011, 01:01PM
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Let me try that again in lieu of a delete button...

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

Ahh, yes. Semantical arguments are the best, aren't they?

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#48 TigerUnderGlass
July 19 2011, 01:01PM
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@Jason Gregor

***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.***

Thank you.

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#49 russ99
July 19 2011, 01:11PM
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Tambellini went out and got 3 good defensive forwards this offseason, so enough with the pressure that Gagner has to be a defensive forward to be successful.

Let's let the kid develop without the pressure of turning into a Selke winner which so many seem to want.

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#50 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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