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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#101 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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#102 TigerUnderGlass
July 19 2011, 03:47PM
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Dman09 wrote:

If you actually read properly I was putting a lot of weight on the fact that second line players are not likely to score more than 50 point in a season. And Kelser is a good example of a second line player that was used as a shut down role. Their offense is in part their defense because they also use high energy and checking to accomplish that.

Interesting you say that because during the regular season Kelser was 3rd among Canuck centers in Quality of competition and in the playoffs he was 4th.

(ie. he was NOT used in a shut-down role)

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#103 David Staples
July 19 2011, 03:50PM
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Sudden Sam played must as much with Taylor Hall and Ales Hemnsky as with Omark and Paajarvi.

He also had a good number of shifts with Dustin Penner.

http://www.dobberhockey.com/frozenpool_linecombo.php?selForward=EDMGAGNER%2CSAM&period=ALL&situation=EV&games=2010-2011%3AR%3A99&Submit=Show+Line+Combinations&sent=go

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#104 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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#105 Dman09
July 19 2011, 03:50PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

Then explain him shutting down the blackhawks in the first round

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#107 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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#108 David Staples
July 19 2011, 04:01PM
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Neilson numbers are a subjective stats, but NHL teams use them, and I'm sure coaches do their best to be fair and accurate. Otherwise, why bother?

As for me, I've always liked Gagner as a player. Still do. You can say I was biased against him this season and in past seasons, but that doesn't fit my own bias -- I want him to succeed.

And I'm not saying trade the guy.

I'm saying that Rel. Corsi doesn't tell us much if anything about his defensive play, that he's leaked chances and goals against since he got in the NHL, and he's got to improve that to be a useful centre. His offence is OK, though it could be better. It's the defence that's really not working.

I still have high hopes for the kid. He's only 22. He could be the next Hakan Loob yet!

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#109 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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#111 TigerUnderGlass
July 19 2011, 04:11PM
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Dman09 wrote:

Then explain him shutting down the blackhawks in the first round

Please explain his Qualcomp rating? He spent an entire season comfortably 3rd among centers on his team.

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#112 Dman09
July 19 2011, 04:19PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Gagner is 21, turns 22 in August. People always seem to be thinking he's older, it's understandable he's been around awhile despite still being so young.

Gagner, like all young players not named Orr, Lemieux, 99 etc bleeds chances and those chances often end up in the back of the net.

But I do think it's fair to point things out like linemates, etc.

If memory serves, Gagner began playing with MP and Omark around about Christmas. So, if we split the season into two (easier courtesy hockey-reference) we get the first half (36, 9-15-24 -5) and then the second half (32, 6-12-18 -12).

We're all around the reasons (context) for his season but imo the plus minus is explained by the goaltending (what a lousy SP, a lot of pucks ended up in the net he had nothing to do with), the rookie wingers and the fact that the Oilers were horrible.

Sam Gagner wasn't good enough to drag this team out of the abyss. But you could say that about a lot of people who aren't 21, too.

Having said all this, if the right trade came along would you be willing to part with Gagner.

I've said the only way i would trade him is for a top 2 defenseman and the reason I picked Gagner is because i think he is the only player that would make the deal happen. Unless Hemsky decides he doesn't want to play here anymore and/or management doesn't want to keep him. And I think his position right now might be an easier one to replace especially if RNH is full steam ahead this year.

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#114 Dacota
July 19 2011, 04:32PM
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We are currently blessed as Oiler fans with a number of fantasy notions and possibilities going forward. To think that Gagner, Brule, and Cogliano(all top half first rounders) have no place in the organization bodes well for our future, however, there is a time and place for every possible move. I don't envy ST and the balance of power for knowing when the moment is right to transition significant talent out of town, and indeed, for what return.

I expect that most of us would agree that the future would have RNH, Pitlick, and Lander (with many others knocking) as top 3C which is a very enviable position when compared to other organizations in the league. It is largely acknowledged that our current needs cry out for a "minute munching" stud Dman and there are several ways to approach that objective. Currently, the best options would appear to be Bogosian or Weber, but where are we now? Is the timing right? How much cap to commit? This is as much about "Chess" as it is about talent.

I suggest that we don't want to be a one year wonder, but rather find a strategic way to maintain our core in the hopes of creating a post lockout dynasty. That remains a very tall order for the decision makers at the helm. There will be talent that we don't want to go, but they must. Back in the day of the most talented team ever assembled (you know the one), there were constant periphery adjustments from year to year and yet we won 4 of 5. So sorry Steve, tough B'day!! Sidebar-If the Flamer debacle never happened, would Pocklington have had the courage to the Great one?? I say NO! If we would've had the chance at 6 straight...? Go guys...I gotta wear shades!

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#115 Dman09
July 19 2011, 04:33PM
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@Lowetide

I agree with you on Cogs and I do believe he will be better player down the road and may even be next year.

I would think that Gagner has already proven to be a quality NHL player the problem is his range of skills at the moment are limited. Would it be a possibility, if RNH makes the team, that they may move gagner down to the third line and 2nd pk to try and develope his defensive game more than the offense. Maybe pairing him with one of Smyth, horcoff, belanger on the PK to try and teach him the defensive side of things?

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#116 @Oilanderp
July 19 2011, 04:38PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Not to add to an argument, but for every stat that shows Gagner to be a good player, there's an equal amount of evidence that suggests he's deficient in other area's.

For every 'you tube' showing a great goal there's a video of Gagner getting drilled along the boards.

For all that say he played with fringe players, he was played with elite talent as well.

What I need to know is that Gagner can make a huge step forward this year. Not a marginal increase. He has to be faster, stronger, defensively responsible, more points, better face off percentage,leader on and off the ice.

I've been a supporter of Gagner for 5 years, I don't care how old he is, this is his last year in my books unless he completely takes over the 2nd line center.

Yes, if only we had a way of not just examining all the individual cases but some way of combining them at a glance..... oh wait: it's called statistics.

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#117 Dacota
July 19 2011, 04:44PM
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My bad, "TRADE" the great one??

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#118 Ted Sheckler
July 19 2011, 04:46PM
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You can use statistics to prove anything. 94% of people know that.

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#119 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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#120 YFC Prez
July 19 2011, 04:48PM
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Gagner is a quality offensive C right now. I know some of you are ready to call it quits on his development, but I really doubt this is as good as it gets. There is a gifted player there but with a fairly one dimentional skill set, I can't Imagine Gagner ever becoming a decent 2-way center, but I certainly can see him becoming a 50-60 point player. That's more than good enough for #2 C on a contending team. Trading Gagner may very likely come to bite the Oil Brass in the butt. Give him at least 2 more years and if he gets passed in the depth chart by a better player then trade him, no regrets. I just can't fathome giving up on a kid like Gagner at 21-22 years old, we do want to be done this rebuild at some time don't we.

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#121 Dman09
July 19 2011, 04:58PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Gagner is a quality offensive C right now. I know some of you are ready to call it quits on his development, but I really doubt this is as good as it gets. There is a gifted player there but with a fairly one dimentional skill set, I can't Imagine Gagner ever becoming a decent 2-way center, but I certainly can see him becoming a 50-60 point player. That's more than good enough for #2 C on a contending team. Trading Gagner may very likely come to bite the Oil Brass in the butt. Give him at least 2 more years and if he gets passed in the depth chart by a better player then trade him, no regrets. I just can't fathome giving up on a kid like Gagner at 21-22 years old, we do want to be done this rebuild at some time don't we.

The problem they may face is that he is a one dimentional and because he puts up points he will demand a fat rasie, one which i think the oilers would likely no give him due to the fact that he is a one dimensional player. They want to use that cap to keep the like of RNH, hall, eberle, mps.

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#123 Quicksilver ballet
July 19 2011, 05:24PM
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The glove save by Moog against the Canadians in 81 playoffs for the few who want a walk down memory lane.... http://youtu.be/xTfeHZvfg6k

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#124 horndog77
July 19 2011, 05:26PM
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I hope this year Sam and alot of other players on this current roster can surprise us all. I think the offensive talent is there with this group, it's just a matter of staying healthy and not letting as many goals in. D

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#125 WeepForTheSin
July 19 2011, 05:27PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Please explain his Qualcomp rating? He spent an entire season comfortably 3rd among centers on his team.

Manny Malhotra

If Kesler wasn't shutting down the opposition in the playoffs, then he has no excuse for his lack of offensive production in round 1, at the very least.

I also must have been watching different games.

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#126 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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#127 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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#128 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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#129 OilFan
July 19 2011, 06:09PM
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Gagner is a average NHL player not a great 2nd line center but not bad either. Do most Gagner fans drink the Kool-Aid ? But but he's only 21 !!! Sam's a smart hockey player but slow as hell, his shot isn't great and brutal at the dot, a defensive liability. I see Gagner playing the wing in the future just not in a Oiler jersey.

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#130 OilFan
July 19 2011, 06:21PM
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@Walter Sobchak

Won't it help the rebuild by getting a defense man ? "Had for less" What would Gagner's trade value be ?

So how is Sam going to play easier mins ? Shouldn't that be for the kids with only a season behind them not four ?

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#131 They're $hittie
July 19 2011, 06:31PM
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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 believe Gilbert was terrible in his stats too. And he is paid a lot more than Gagner. And has a larger stature to that everyone complains about gagner for. so what is gilberts excuse. He is a few years older too.

Watch replays of the games last year. The oilers got scored on lots and he was on the ice for most of them.

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#132 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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#133 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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#134 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 19 2011, 07:03PM
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@ Dman09. Looks like Kessler played easier competition in th playoffs as well.

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#135 OilFan
July 19 2011, 07:08PM
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40 point players are easy to trade for

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#136 Walter Sobchak
July 19 2011, 07:13PM
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@Kodiak

All good points, I ignore most stats as well, and I cant argue about foot speed or that he plays on the perimeter or that age is a factor, your correct on all of that.

That being said I don't believe he got the proper development from the Oilers, he hasn't had the trainers or development camps as the others have and the Oilers were so desperate to get him in and play him, he's been through three head coach's,I don't want to use the locker room as an excuse for Gagner but his veteran leadership with exception to Horcoff sucked big time. I think the adjustment period really just started.

I think he should get another year before blowing him off. If he has the same issues you mentioned then we know he wont get better. IMO

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#137 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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#138 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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#139 oscar
July 19 2011, 07:45PM
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I love the “he's only 21” line. I wish young age would work as an excuse in the real world “But I've only been working here for four years, cut me some slack!”

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#140 Kodiak
July 19 2011, 07:45PM
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@Walter Sobchak

I agree his development was handled very poorly and the team situation as a whole has not been a good one for a young kid. I don't buy that he hasn't had the opportunity to work with our skating coaches regularly and playing a few seasons the kid had to recognize his lack of physical strength. He's got enough money to hire a personal trainer if improving that aspect of his game was important to him.

I don't see his game fitting this team. I can't name one successful team that has a smaller, one dimensional top six center. I think Gagner has a chance to put up better numbers but I can't see him being able to handle the playoff style of game with his skating and size.

I think the Oilers are trying to put together a Boys on the Bus, young, growing up together, maturing together, close knit team and if Gagner doesn't fit a role going forward, move him now for a young Dman that has a chance to be a part of it from the relative ground floor. Winning this season isn't a priority. Trading Sam would hurt us this year, but acquiring a Bogosian type player that is young and has the potential to be something special and a core part of the team in the future would make it worth it.

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#141 Wax Man Riley
July 19 2011, 07:50PM
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So the question is are the Oilers going to wait for him to break out? If he breaks out at all?

Is he professional enough to continue to train harder than anyone else to make himself into the player he was in junior?

Can that translate to the 'chel?

What is success for Sudden Sam? 60pts a year? #2 cebter? Less than 50 players in the NHL scored 60 or more points last year. Kovalchuk scored 60. Doan scored 60. Ladd scored 59, is he a #2C failure?

Edit: Ok, much more than A question.

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#142 Wax Man Riley
July 19 2011, 07:57PM
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@Kodiak

So, by "Bogosian-type player", do you mean Bogosian? As I hear, that will not happen. Plus, would you trade Bogo for Sam? I'm not sure I do that deal. They already have Bryan Little at 5'11" 185lbs "under-performing" with 48pts

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#143 Kodiak
July 19 2011, 08:09PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

So, by "Bogosian-type player", do you mean Bogosian? As I hear, that will not happen. Plus, would you trade Bogo for Sam? I'm not sure I do that deal. They already have Bryan Little at 5'11" 185lbs "under-performing" with 48pts

Bogosian is an option. I would do that deal but I understand Winnepeg not. It's just a matter of getting a deal done and obviously potential top pairing D men are tough to acquire. If other GM's were as optimistic about Gagner's future as some on here they should be approaching us.

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#144 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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#145 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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#146 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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#147 Archaeologuy
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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#148 Archaeologuy
July 19 2011, 08:51PM
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@spOILer

I didnt think the website was that bad. The iPad App was insanely slow, but they just had an update that made it usable. Either way I havent paid a dime to read the content, so its hard for me to complain.

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#149 Jimbones
July 19 2011, 08:52PM
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I have to agree with LT on this one. Good organizations do not give up on propsects with the pedigree of Sam.

This kid was a 6th overall pick for a reason. Be patient and the cream will rise to the top.

This kid has talent and as he gains experience and the team improves he is going to show it.

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#150 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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