GAGNER TALKS ABOUT HIS NEW CONTRACT

Jason Gregor
July 25 2012 09:42PM

Last Friday Sam Gagner and the Oilers avoided arbitration when they agreed to pay the 6th overall pick in 2007 $3.2 million for the upcoming season. Most felt it was a fair deal, but some wondered why only one year.

I caught up with Gagner and got his thoughts on his new deal, heightened expectations for the team, Ralph Krueger and some lighthearted comments about Ted, "Hall and Ebs" and Breaking Bad.

JG: When you woke up Friday morning were you thinking you would get a deal done or were you expecting to go to arbitration?

SG: I don’t know, it’s hard to say on both ends. I don’t think that anybody really likes to go to arbitration. I think for myself I had a lot of people tell me it’s a tough thing to go through and I just wanted to be prepared in case it did go down and I tried to be as prepared as I could. I’m obviously glad that it didn’t and that we were able to get something done. I’m happy to be an Oiler for another year.

JG: Most players are always looking for a longer deal, why do you think that a one-year deal was the best deal for you?

SG: I think it just works for best sides. At the end of the day, I obviously love the city of Edmonton and I love the fans, love everything that goes along with being an Oiler and Edmonton is where I want to be. And so I want to get my chance to stay long term and another year just gives me another opportunity. I’ve got to make sure that I run with the opportunity. I’m excited for the challenge. It’s a great team to play for, especially with all of the up and coming players we have and it’s time to turn things around, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

JG: When you left at the end of the season, you were very upfront and honest about the fact that you needed more guys to “buy in.” You were very vocal about the “buy in” factor; do you plan on being more of a leader this year?

SG: Yeah I hope so. I felt like I’ve taken strides in that area of my game. I’ve always been a guy that tries to lead by example and through my work ethic and the way that I approach the game both on and off of the ice. I think that it’s important for guys to step up into that leadership role. Obviously with the way that things have gone, simply it’s not good enough. And we have to find a way to turn things around and get into the playoffs it takes a lot of guys pulling at it and it takes the leaders doing their jobs the right way. I’m excited for that challenge going forward.

JG: Give me your thoughts and impressions of Ralph Krueger as your new head coach.

SG: I’m really excited about it. I think, you look at the way that our power play went last year and he was the guy running it. He’s a really creative mind and I think that with the amount of really young skill that we have, that it’s going to bode really well for us. Obviously he’s a guy who’s very passionate about the game and he wants to succeed and he wants to win. And I think that if you don’t have that attitude playing for a guy like that that you will get left behind so for the guys that are really passionate about playing and want to succeed Ralph is a perfect fit and I think that we’re all really excited about playing for him.

JG: He’s a fan of duos rather than trios. He mentioned Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle, he mentioned yourself and Hemsky as a pair and then possibly rotate Yakupov and Hall on the left side. Have you ever had conversations with him about what he likes about Hemsky and you as a duo?

SG: I really haven’t. That’s obviously something that you deal with in training camp and there is obviously so many line combinations that we can throw together. As a centreman you just have to be excited about the amount of quality wingers that we have. I’ve played a lot of different position over the years and I’ve got to play with a lot of different guys and develop some chemistry. And so no matter who I play with, I’m excited about the opportunity.

JG: Ideally though you’d like to have at least one consistent winger?

SG: You know what, I’ve gotten used to, and I think everyone has, playing with different people. At the end of the day things aren’t going to go unbelievably every night. There are going to be changes and you have to be ready for that. It’s part of the process of playing in the NHL and especially with the amount of depth that we have. We can obviously roll with different guys throughout the lineup and have some success with that. So it’s important for us to remain sharp and to play with anybody and just have that winning mentality. I think that if we can do that, it’s going to make things better for all of us.

JG: Things have been difficult every since you came into the NHL; you’ve never been in the playoffs. Do you have a sense that this year might finally be different?

SG: You certainly hope so. I think that with the acquisitions that we’ve made and with the young guys getting older and getting more mature and raising their games, I think that it’s about time that we change the ship here and actually there’s a lot of guys that are going to help push it. I hope to be one of those guys that are going to help push it. I feel that if I can step my game up, it’s going to help a lot and I’m excited for that challenge and I’m excited to make the playoffs.

AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT

JG: What do you need to improve in your game?

SG: Well obviously everything. I think that the biggest thing for me is my consistency. I’ve had stretches where I’ve played really well and stretches where I haven’t played so well. I think that I’ve made strides defensively and I want to continue to make strides there. I also need to continue to improve my faceoffs and playing that gritty two-way game and hopefully find that consistent level offensively. If I can do that it will be a better year for me and for the team.

JG: I know that last summer you worked very hard on improving your foot speed, you felt faster, you looked faster and then an unfortunate an injury set you back. Ethan Moreau and Jarret Stoll worked on their skating and they said that it was a three or four year process, doing it every summer and then they noticed differences. You’re now halfway through the second summer of doing this. Have you noticed that you’re faster this July than last July?

SG: Yeah, I feel better. I’ve switched up my training and I’m doing the same sort of things on the ice and I feel healthier than I have and that’s a great sign. I just want to continue to push it and continue to get faster and just have that motivation through the summer to get better. And be excited for September.

JG: When you’re working on your footwork, how much of it is on the ice and how much is off of the ice?

SG: A lot of it right now is off of the ice, just doing a lot of agility work and making sure that just body is working properly. I’ve been working with a different guy this summer out of Calgary and he has a guy in Toronto that is helping me out. It’s been great. I’m excited to see how it translates to my on ice stuff and so far it’s been going very well.

JG: I’m not sure how much you follow the pulse of the fans, but you are the most polarizing player amongst Oiler fans.  Do you sense that, do you ever see that, and where do you feel you stand in your development?

SG: Obviously I think that I haven’t reached the level that I’m going to finish my career at, that’s for sure. I felt like last year was my best year in terms of my all-around game, and I went through different things earlier in the year where I was trying to find my game. I came back from injury and different things went on and then I found my stride halfway through the year. And then I played really well up until the last 15/20 games and that’s something that I have to continue to work on mentally and if I can do that, then I’m pretty confident that I can reach a new level and I’m excited for that challenge.

JG: What happened in those last games that you felt your play dropped off?

SG: I think that it becomes a reality that you’re not going to make the playoffs again for the fifth year in a row and that’s kind of tough to deal with. And I think that as a professional you have to handle it the right way and find different ways to motivate you to play. I tried to battle through it, but it made it a little more difficult. That is something that I can improve upon and I’m excited to come into this season and rectify that, and like I said I’m happy to be an Oiler for another year to help make this team make a push for the playoffs.

JG: With that one-year deal is there a sense at all from you that maybe you have to prove to the organization what your worth is and how reliable you can be?

SG: I think regardless of if it was a one-year deal or a ten-year deal I have to prove myself that I can reach that next level that I’ve been trying to reach. This is an exciting year for me to get a chance to do that. I’m excited to get a chance to do that as an Oiler and excited for the challenge, I feel I have something to prove.

TED AND BREAKING BAD

JG: You’re a big Family Guy fan, have you seen the movie Ted yet?

SG: I saw it last night, and I was in stitches. It was hilarious.

JG: Was it hard when you looked at Ted to not see Brian?

SG: I have this one buddy who kind of acts like Ted, so I was seeing him the whole time. I think that that was the reason probably why I didn’t see Brian.

JG: What was your favourite line?

SG: I thought that at the end when he says that they put the stuffing in the wrong areas and then he snapped back to reality and said ‘ah naw, I’m just kidding.’ I thought that that was pretty funny and that stuck with me because it was right at the end of the movie. There were so many good lines. It’s hard to pick one.

JG: What about Breaking Bad, that seems to be one of the hottest shows on T.V. right now. Are you a fan of Walter and Jesse?

SG: Ya, I’m about a season behind where it’s at right now, but I watched the first few seasons pretty quickly. The first season was a little tough to get through but once you do that it’s a great, great show.

JG: Looking at some of the characters, out of your Oiler teammates who do you think would be Hank?

SG: Who would be Hank? I don’t know. Maybe Whits? [Ryan Whitney]

JG: He would like to be the authoritative guy?

SG: Ya, he would have a lot of fun with that.He likes to think he's in charge.

(Sidenote, Ryan Whitney tweeted me that Darcy Hordichuk would be Walter)

JG: Who would be Jesse?

SG: I’m going with Hallsy on that one for sure.

HALL AND EBS

(Listen here. Scroll down to bottom of the page, "Hall and Ebs 420 lessons," is hilarious.)

JG: Speaking of Hall, have you ever heard Hallsy and Ebs on the Bear?

SG: Yeah, I’ve heard pretty much every one of them. They’re bang on. They’re bang on and pretty funny.

JG: We had Hall on the show and he’s not really a big fan of the skits.

SG: Yeah I know, that’s why I like saying that it’s bang on. (laughs)

JG: If they would have had a Gags and Cogs version five years ago who would have been Hall and who would have been Ebs?

SG: Oh Cogs would have been Hall for sure. No question.

JG: Why’s that?

SG: That’s the way that it went in our house.

JG: Are you saying that you were more responsible even though he was the older one?

SG: Cogs acts more responsible, but at the end of the day, behind closed doors it was always me that was the more responsible one.

PARTING SHOT

I've noticed in the past year that Gagner has become much more direct in how he views his play and that of his team. He is sick of losing, and considering he's only 22, turns 23 in August, he still has many years where he can be a part of a winner, but he wants win now. 

That is a great sign. The Oilers need more guys who are sick of losing and will put in the hard work in the off-season so when they come to camp this team will be strong enough to compete.

With only a one-year deal, I expect Gagner to arrive at camp feeling he has lots to prove and accomplish.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Oilcruzer
July 25 2012, 09:52PM
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Another block.

Great article too. Nice to see real, unscripted answers by a pro athlete.

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#2 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 25 2012, 10:10PM
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Any sense on his fitness level compared to the last few years, Jason?

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#3 Jamie B.
July 25 2012, 10:12PM
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I listened to three different interviews with Gagner the day he he signed and yours was the best, got the least cliche answers out of him. Appreciate that, Gregor.

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#4 Eric
July 25 2012, 10:13PM
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You got to love players like Gagner. They are passionate about the game, want to win, and are willing to put the time in off the ice in the summer to improve their game. (Crosby also comes to mind.) It's nice to see someone not simply check out when they make bank. Obviously this is only a one year deal, but I have no doubt this is the type of person he is. You want guys like this on your team. I really believe he will push for 60 points this year. Lock him up long-term, he will be an important piece in the playoffs.

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#5 Mike
July 25 2012, 10:17PM
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Jamie B. wrote:

I listened to three different interviews with Gagner the day he he signed and yours was the best, got the least cliche answers out of him. Appreciate that, Gregor.

Agreed. Gregor is great at asking questions that don't lead to cliche answers. People seem comfortable with him. Gagner seems like he has something to prove. I like that. Hopefully he stays healthy and can get 55 points. That would put us in a great spot.

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#7 Will
July 26 2012, 12:23AM
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I don't deny his point production is arguably good for a second line center, and he works hard and rarely take shifts off. But I still think we can do better, and that management should be looking to make our team better. If that means trading Gagner, to make the team better, than I say do it. Speaking of which. Why don't we sign Semin, trade hemmer for Antripov, and then trade gags for better D?

Semin is asking for the same deal Hemsky gets, Antipov, I think would be an upgrade as he's bigger and more experienced. And getting better D would push everyone nicely down one notch on the depth chart, and we wouldn't be relying on so many young kids to carry our hockey team.

Plus, all these things are not pie in the sky. Gagner has trade value (though depending on who you;re going after you may need to include more). Antripov is expendable now that Jokinen has signed and young guns are on the rise in Winnipeg. Plus he only has one more year left on his contract before becoming a free agent. And finally Semin is a huge upgrade over anyone of the possible 1st 2 line LW (Smyth, Hall, Paajarvi, Harti). And is apparently only asking for 5 mill over 2 years.

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#8 GVBlackhawk
July 26 2012, 12:35AM
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Will wrote:

I don't deny his point production is arguably good for a second line center, and he works hard and rarely take shifts off. But I still think we can do better, and that management should be looking to make our team better. If that means trading Gagner, to make the team better, than I say do it. Speaking of which. Why don't we sign Semin, trade hemmer for Antripov, and then trade gags for better D?

Semin is asking for the same deal Hemsky gets, Antipov, I think would be an upgrade as he's bigger and more experienced. And getting better D would push everyone nicely down one notch on the depth chart, and we wouldn't be relying on so many young kids to carry our hockey team.

Plus, all these things are not pie in the sky. Gagner has trade value (though depending on who you;re going after you may need to include more). Antripov is expendable now that Jokinen has signed and young guns are on the rise in Winnipeg. Plus he only has one more year left on his contract before becoming a free agent. And finally Semin is a huge upgrade over anyone of the possible 1st 2 line LW (Smyth, Hall, Paajarvi, Harti). And is apparently only asking for 5 mill over 2 years.

Semin is a huge upgrade over Taylor Hall?

Wow.

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#9 Will
July 26 2012, 12:53AM
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@GVBlackhawk

Hmmm, I should have figured that would draw some ire. But Semin has better points, is more durable, and is more disciplined. I think until Hall matures for another two seasons current Semin is an upgrade on current Hall. I mean the kid is only 19, and he's injured and won't play the beginning of the season. So ya, Semin playing is Huge upgrade on Hall not playing.

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#10 Sam
July 26 2012, 04:42AM
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This team needs to find a second line center. All we have is an ineffectual smurf playing that role.

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#11 Jamie B.
July 26 2012, 04:46AM
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Will wrote:

Hmmm, I should have figured that would draw some ire. But Semin has better points, is more durable, and is more disciplined. I think until Hall matures for another two seasons current Semin is an upgrade on current Hall. I mean the kid is only 19, and he's injured and won't play the beginning of the season. So ya, Semin playing is Huge upgrade on Hall not playing.

That would draw ire? Personally, I didn't make it past "trade Hemmer for Antropov". Gonna disagree with you that that would do anything to improve the team.

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#12 Doc Unk
July 26 2012, 07:19AM
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Hall - "What happens if we smoke it?" Ebs - "You turn into Dustin Penner."

CLASSIC!!! Stay away from those Capital-Ex pancake breakfasts boys!

Glad to see Sam signed. This kid has been a fulltime NHL player for 5 years and is only 22/23. I think it has been proven that he has the talent and the drive to be a fine supporting player for the Oiler's fated return to glory.

Oilers finish 5th to 10th in the west in 2012-13 and are a consistent playoff team beyond that.

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#13 Reg Dunlop
July 26 2012, 08:32AM
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@Will

If Semen is a big upgrade over Hall why is no NHL team interested in signing him? Could be the fact he pretends to not understand or speak english when he doesn't want to interview. Could also be the rumored off-ice issues or the on ice laziness. If you consider him an upgrade on Brian Hall, well, maybe but Taylor Hall? Also, you may want to ask flame fans if the Joker will be a big addition for the Jets. And who exactly are the Jets young guns? Kane has been mulling that contract offer for more than a week, so maybe his desire to stay in hockey's smallest market isn't that great and after him it is slim pickings.

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#14 michael
July 26 2012, 08:40AM
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Polarizing is certainly an apt choice of words for Gagner.The Love-Hate relationship with the fans seems to be a source of inspiration for Gagner to do better. I like Gagner and think that you can win with RNH and Gagner as your 1-2 centers. I think the Oilers need to add size on thier wings as time goes on. Gagner gets 60 points this season if he plays with Yak and Hemsky. 20+ goal season.

You always say that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results is insanity. How do you rate this off season. New coach(?), add Yakupov and Shultz. Resign RFA's and Smyth. Delete Barker. How does the addition of 2 players make this team better than last years? Adding 2 unproven players,though very talented, does not appear to bode well for the upcoming season. Is the experience factor that RNH,Hall and Eberle key to perhaps this teams ability to win more games this season? Will the coaching be more attack first oriented?

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#15 Archaeologuy
July 26 2012, 08:42AM
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Losing is really taking its toll on young Gagner. This rebuild better start producing some more Wins before that disdain for losing becomes a disdain for the club, and not just for Gagner.

A solid season from Dubnyk, a bounceback for Belanger, and a healthy Whitney could do this team some much needed good.

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#16 geoilersgist
July 26 2012, 08:54AM
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Those skits are pure gold. highly addictive and leads to a hard life of meth, crack.... hahahaha just awesome.

I think Gagner is going to improve again this season. You can never have too many guys on the team that have the drive he has.

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#17 Pouzar99
July 26 2012, 08:58AM
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Apparently July is the silly season for hockey blogs, but the suggestion that Semin is better than Hall is the topper.

Semin does not give a crap. Hall bleeds Oiler blue. He would take off the crossbar with his teeth to win. No one wants to go near that dog, Semin, while every team would kill to get Hall. Semin has made a career out of folding when the chips are down and coasting whenever the mood strikes him.

Enough of all the major trade mania. The Oilers should NOT trade prospects. Hemsky is there only marketable asset and not until he proves that he is a reasonably durable elite player. Live with it!

Think long term. The main problem is not on D but the lack of size and physicality at forwards. If Hemmer bounces back he could be the asset that brings us a mean Top 9, or even Top 6 forward eventually, though they are hard to get. We are getting closer. Don't panic and blow everything, including cap management by shipping out good young prospects like MP for a Top 4 D man when Klefbom will be in the lineup next season.

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#18 French Toast Mafia
July 26 2012, 09:43AM
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@Will

Antropov an upgrade at second line center because he is bigger.... Oh boy. When was the last time you watched him play? If it has been in the last couple years I find it very weird you would consider him an upgrade over Gagner or Hemsky... And I'm very far from a Hemsky supporter.

Semin an upgrade over Hall is so brutally untrue that I don't think I can even bring myself to start listing all the reasons that show how stupid an idea that is.

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#19 Archaeologuy
July 26 2012, 10:00AM
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Voracek just got a 4 year deal at 4.25

Talk about perceptions killing Gagner. Offensively Voracek is no better than Gagner, but he'll be making a million more for 3 years longer than the contract Sam just signed. It's amazing what 3 inches and 10 pounds is worth to a hockey player.

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#20 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 26 2012, 10:02AM
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@ Arch

Yup, that's the exact contract we should have given Gagner.

Now watch, he'll be out the door for little to no return in a year or two.

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#21 Let's Rebuild
July 26 2012, 10:05AM
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I think i will be chuckling about the Hall and Ebs "420 lessons" for the better part of today.

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#22 Cody anderson
July 26 2012, 10:12AM
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@Will

Wondering if you might be the GM to replace Feaster or Burke.

Semin over Hall? that is like saying Jones is better then Crosby because he palyed more games last year and got more points.

Semin has elite skill but not the drive that makes you a winner. He will always put up descent points but he is not a player you build a team around.

Hall reminds me a lot of Iginla. he will get good point totals his entire career but he will probably not be a top 10 point producer in the NHL. That being said he drives the play, is well rounded, doesn't take shifts off, and he wears his compete level on his sleeve for the rest of the team to admire. He will be our captain for a decade plus and is the ideal player to build a team around.

For comparables see Toews and Iginla.

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#23 Evilas
July 26 2012, 10:15AM
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If anything this article introduced me to Hall & Ebs, very nice. Living near Calgary I miss out on this stuff. Thanks for the link Gregor!

As for Gagner obviously he is young and obviously he is still going to improve so obviously he in on a good contract that will obviously pay dividends this season.

Obviously he is not a big guy, so obviously we will have to trade him for someone obviously bigger.

Obviously I wish they would stop using that word.......

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#24 Cowbell_Feva
July 26 2012, 10:28AM
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I was listening to a game on 630 CHED and Stauffer made a great point that I agreed with about Gagner. He was on the ice when the other team scored, and after watching the replay Stauffer said something to the effect of: "As soon as Sam gets out on the ice for more than 40 seconds, he is standing up straight, meaning his legs are tired. Because of it, it cost the Oilers a goal, and if he can't maintain a hockey position for that long than I'm not convinced he can be a #2 NHL centerman." (obviously not a direct quote)

I couldn't agree with Stauffer any more. I know that at an NHL level 40 seconds would feel like 40 minutes, however it seems to me he gets caught out there a lot in situations similar to this. He should have some really talented wingers flanking him this year, and I hope he has success, but I'm not sure he is physically built strong enough to be the #2C over an 82 game sched.

As well, if people think that adding Yakupov and Schultz is going to make this Oilers team a playoff team, then they need to take off the Oiler-goggles and get their head checked.

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#25 harp
July 26 2012, 10:42AM
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Voracek is consistently healthy and brings a better overall game. Gagner is strictly one dimensional, he isn't physical at all.

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#26 French Toast Mafia
July 26 2012, 10:54AM
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@Cody anderson

Iginla has been in the top 10 in points and goal scoring multiple times. So if your thinking Hall will turn out like Iginla then you should expect to see him at the top of goal scoring and points lists for multiple years. As well as over 500 career goals in the age of low scoring.

That would be nice to see...

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#27 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 26 2012, 10:55AM
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@ harp

Translation - He's bigger therefor I assume he plays a better overall game.

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#28 Will
July 26 2012, 11:10AM
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Whoa.... Okay, let me try to clarify again. I'm not talking about who I'd rather have going forward, I'm talking about making the team better for this year. Antripov is an upgrade over Gagner, just look at his numbers. And as for all the Semin haters out there, feel free to read up:

http://www.lighthousehockey.com/2012/7/7/3143770/alexander-semin-nhl-free-agent-reasons.

And if you didn't read past Hemskey for Antripov, then yes that was a stupid plan. But I think we have to start looking past our fandom, and actually what's wrong with icing the same team. We are weak on the LW after Hall, we are relying on too many young kids to meet or exceed expectations, and we need to get bigger and more physical, and finally we need to get better on D. If you think this plan truly doesn't do that, then what do you propose? And if one more person says trade Omark for Weber, I'll cry. This at least tried to be realistic in terms of what teams might give up.

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#29 Cody anderson
July 26 2012, 11:11AM
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@Cowbell_Feva

I think adding Schultz and Yak improves the team right away, but is not enough to win us more then an additional 5-10 games. In a year or 2 it will make us much stronger.

I think we were better then a 29th place team last year. We were racked by injuries especially on the back end, somehow decided to ride Khabi as a starter for 1/2 of the year, and had brutal effort by a lot of the vets. I think Kreuger will get more out of those vets. We have a little better depth then last year although we could still use more. I think we are better able to handle a few injuries.

If Hemski and Whitney are healthy and have bounce back years and Dubnyk starts 60+ games I think we have a legit shot at the playoffs. I would put us at the 7th to 10th spot.

In my mind our main issues are grit (more of an issue in the playoffs) and ability to deal with injuries. With Yak added to the top 6 adn Pajjarvi and Hartikainan having another year of development our depth looks better on offense. On D adding Schultz adds a body with huge potential and Whitney having a full year of rehab could be better as well.

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#30 The Soup Fascist
July 26 2012, 11:28AM
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Gregor's comments about strong lower body are spot on. Crosby is not the biggest guy in the world but his legs are like tree trunks. Ditto Martin St. Louis. Seeing Ray Whitney on the golf course, dude has huge thighs, (I know this sounds creepy, but you can't help but notice it, especially on a guy who is otherwise very slight). Let's get away from the whole "thigh" issue asap - it is creeping ME out.

The point being, smaller guys can certainly compete in one on one battles, but they need to put the time in to get strong and use their lower center of gravity and quickness to their advantage. Gagner is working on it and will continue to figure it out.

Semin better than Hall is bordering on a troll post and should be treated as such. But as usual, I cannot help myself. Hall is the straw that stirs the drink. I know through December 2011 the Oiler's were 4-12-5 without Hall in the lineup due to injuries - have not had time to do the math since then. He is a dynamic passionate player who plays hard virtually every shift. If you want to question his predisposition for injuries - fine. But please do not mention Semin in the same breath as Hall. They are as different as black and white. Although, I think that Reg Dunlop stating that Semin was closer to Bryan Hall than Taylor Hall likely covered it. Gold.

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#31 Cowbell_Feva
July 26 2012, 11:29AM
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@Cody Anderson. It sounds to me like there are a lot of IF's in your reasoning as to how the Oilers will finish ahead of a lot of teams that don't have those same IF's. Players will get hurt. The vet's are one year older, so don't expect them to "lead the way". Relying on Dubnyk as the saviour between the pipes is wishful thinking. All said and done, the stars would need to align in order for this team to even be close to the playoffs. I would be shocked if they even beat Colorado in the NW standings.

I think without a shadow of a doubt the achilles heel of this team is Defense. Whitney is our best Dman and his feet aren't something I have a tonne of trust in. After him, there isn't a guy that I trust to make an outlet pass. Petry showed flashes, but again, not yet a legitimate NHL top 2 guy. Theres lots of 4's and 5's on the backend, but we need one more top 2.

We can all hope in one hand and sh#t in the other, and see what we end up with more of. Sorry that a new coach, rookie Russian, and NCAA defenseman with zero NHL games under his belt make me feel warm and rosey.

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#32 The Soup Fascist
July 26 2012, 11:57AM
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@ Will

Took the time to read the blogsite you posted. Some interesting thoughts and stats on Semin, especially his numbers in the playoffs. However to put it in context it is written by a blogger who goes by his first name on an Islander's fansite and thinks the Islanders should sign him. So whether it is an award-winning, objective study or akin to a Wanye article on the "Top Reasons to Love Jordan Eberle" could be debated. The difference is one appears to take himself seriously, the other not so much.

The more I read and hear from / about Semin, he seems to be a bigger Linus Omark. Certainly his numbers are better and he has been around longer, but I get that same "sense of entitlement" feel from both guys. Semin has put up numbers, so maybe he can get away with more, but at the end of the day it is still a pain in the a$$. Someone will sign him and likely do OK in doing so. I just don't see him as what we need.

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#33 Quicksilver ballet
July 26 2012, 12:36PM
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It brings me great comfort to know we have Horc and Gags to lead the charge down the middle this season. With no addition of a top 2 blueliner this summer, we can settle in this winter and watch our ever lovin lottery pick'n Oilers...

26th overall and win the lotto again.

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#34 Lochenzo
July 26 2012, 12:41PM
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Most teams would be pretty excited if they had a 21 or 22 year old rookie centre that scored 20 goals and 40+ points.

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#35 Will
July 26 2012, 12:53PM
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@The Soup Fascist

There were other more "professional" blogs, but this one was the one that I think demonstrated all the same points in the most concise manner. And even though he's a blogger, he still based it off numbers and observations.

And again, totally cool if people want to dissagree, but I'm interested to hear in their solution. If Semin isn't what we need, then what is and how do we get it?

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#36 Cody anderson
July 26 2012, 02:12PM
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@Cowbell_Feva

Lol....we are still lacking depth so there are certainly some ifs in order for us to do anything.

I certainly do not think the vets will be leading the way on this team. We have elite youth and a veteran supporting cast. last year the effort from a lot of the vets was atroscious, and if we wanted to finish as high as possible I have little doubt that Renney would have been removed part way through the season because giving motivation, putting systems in place and getting buy-in are all part of the coach's job description.

I don't think Renney is a bad coach. I think the team they assembled is wrong for his coaching style. (Don't have an enforcer you will not utilize. It just takes up a roster spot) I also think it became evident he had lost the room which means a change is required.

I see Kreuger allowing his tough guys to do their jobs which will result in less injuries. I hope he only dresses one unless he gets one that can actually add to the lineup even without fighting.

None of us know how well Whitney's rehab is going. If he is healthy I actually think we have a strong top 5 and drop off very signifigantly from there. I would not trade for a Dman right now unless we could get a great deal. Do not overpay or give up on good assets. Let Whitney come to camp and see where he is. As long as he is mobile enough to be effective in a top 6 role I would role the D as is. If he is badly hampered and not effective then I think we need to make a trade.

If helathy he is a legit top pairing Dman. All of Petry, Smid and N. Schultz are young proven 2nd pairing guys who have yet to reach their full potential. One of them could easily develop into a 1st pairing guy. J. Schultz is projected to be a 1st pairing offensive Dman. He will have growing pains this year but offensively I expect him to have a good season. If he is partnered with N Schultz or a solid defensive Dman that can cover for some of his rookie mistakes I expect him to do well on the 2nd pairing. In my mind we have one open spot and that is the 6th guy. We have Potter, Sutton, Teubert, Peckam, Fedun and potentially Kelfbom trying for that spot. We may very well be able to cover it internally. next year Klefbom is a shoe-in to play.

I don't think Dunyk is a savior, but his numbers have been good in front of the worst D in the league. it is reasonable to expect his numbers to get better in front of an improved D.

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#37 Cody anderson
July 26 2012, 02:21PM
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@will

Depending on what the coaches know or are hearing about his attitude and how he fits on a team and acts in the dressing room I may not be against bringing Semin in. Saying he is better then Hall loses all credability. On paper he puts up numbers and has skill. If he causes dissention on a tight, young impressionable team then we don't want him.

I would say he is comparable to Hemsky and plays the left side where we only have one elite player. This is assuming Yak plays the right wing, but it sounds like Kreuger plans on starting him on the left side. The main difference is Hemsky is well liked by teammates and is good in the room.

I also disagree that Antripov is an improvement over Gagner. If they were trading Hemsky I would prefer it was either for grit and size in top 9 or a top 4 Dman with a good contract. Obviously we would probably have to include other assets for the Dman.

I will give you the fact that your trades are doable. I think we would find GM's very open to the trades you have suggested.

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#38 Cody anderson
July 26 2012, 02:53PM
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Semin just signed a one yeard deal with Carolina 7 million!!!!!

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#39 The Soup Fascist
July 26 2012, 03:08PM
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@ Will

If we agree we need a solid, large, tough top 6 forward - I pretend I am Steve Tambellini and do what he does best - wait. There are a lot of very good UFA's available next year. Perry, Getzlaf, Clowe, Hartnell, Weiss (not huge, but gritty) all fit that bill. There are some plan B's like Handzus, Filppula (not especially big or tough), Horton (if he is healthy), Brenden Morrow (a little long in the tooth for me). Likely some others, this is just a quick list, but a lot better fishing than this year.

Here is a wildcard. Boston is up against the Cap with four big RFA's next year - Rask, Seguin, Marchand and Lucic. Depending on what happens with the cap - is it possible Lucic (the PERFECT guy for us) could be plucked with an offer sheet or a trade? I think Boston is in cap hell, even when Flakey McThomas comes off the cap.

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#40 harp
July 26 2012, 04:12PM
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@ OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F July

Translation: Voracek can put up 50 points as he has previously done, and can be a physical presence which young Sam can't. He has a broader skill set then Sam in my opinion. Voracek can kill penalties too.

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#41 Will
July 26 2012, 05:11PM
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@The Soup Fascist

Now that was a well though out response. I do think at some point we'll need some free agents in Edmonton to fill holes and build around our core. But with all the overpayments going on this year, that option terrifies me a little bit. Plus, Edmonton doesn't seem to attract free agents. Maybe if we improve this year teams will see it as the time to make a run with Edmonton, otherwise I think the aggressive way some teams pursued players this off-season shows free agency is a tough and expensive road. I mean, if Detroit has trouble landing big name free agents, what hope do we have? I think we'll be far more successful through trades.

However, having said all that, I hope what you propose works out.

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#42 Wäx Män Riley
July 26 2012, 07:14PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

It brings me great comfort to know we have Horc and Gags to lead the charge down the middle this season. With no addition of a top 2 blueliner this summer, we can settle in this winter and watch our ever lovin lottery pick'n Oilers...

26th overall and win the lotto again.

So you're saying there will be progress then?

I like it!

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#43 Oilcruzer
July 26 2012, 10:53PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Losing is really taking its toll on young Gagner. This rebuild better start producing some more Wins before that disdain for losing becomes a disdain for the club, and not just for Gagner.

A solid season from Dubnyk, a bounceback for Belanger, and a healthy Whitney could do this team some much needed good.

As well as winning...

First Gagner thread that didn't hit 150 posts in an hour.

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#44 Maddog
July 29 2012, 10:27AM
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The one year contract was a favor by Sam Gagner to the Oilers IMHO.

Sams evolution will continue this year,the basic fact of the matter is that due to our recent and serious influx of elite level talent teams CANNOT focus on our individual stars like they used to,and Sams play has reflected this fact sooner than it has been reflected in say Hemmers game.Sam had to bully the scoreing monkey off his back recently and now if Hemmer is told to shoot the puck he will suffer the same sucess and we will see him evolve in the same direction Sam has evolved in,a multi-point game direction,consistancy provides the platform for multi-point games and both hemmer and Sam have put in the defensive time to know how to CONSISTANTLY FOR 60MINS execute system basics and expose opponents weaknesses in an ordered and lethal manner,repeatedly strikeing at the same spots if they are not immediatly adjusted,this level of awareness leads to multi-point capability,in the past they were targeted and had limited opportunitys,now with our serious depth they are not as targeted and they can literally rip teams apart now,this is why the kids couldnt believe Gagners big night,remember the looks on all of their faces,of disbelief,then of utter belief??

A big lesson on the value of multi-point games was learned last year,and we need to remember to address the path to these critical nights,consistant system execution leads to consistant opportunitys to score,so 60 mins of well executed system play is what gets you a multi-point night.It is a sign of matureing offensive skill,to consistantly provide multi-point nights in the NHL,it is a sign of an elite player.If Hemmer can be talked to and convinced it is in everyones best interest to score more goals then we might see another serious big night this comeing year,and to be honest all the young guys watched how to do it and I fully expect them to be gunning for that exact number of points,coincidentally i am the creator of the NewAge Hockey System,and my System at its core value level addresses Hemmers particular individual perspective of how offense is supposed to develop and what factors catalyse a shot/vs pass decision.There is no personal player input to this decision makeing process,it is ALL System dependant and dictated,every aspect in its totality is System based.The player is merely the messenger of the systems needs.Hemmer is feeling unneeded pressure,he needs to become the trigger instead of the whole gun,the system is the gun.Sam has figured this out as a few others are doing right now.The system does all the work and you just become the trigger or the "outlet"of the systems efforts and energy.You learn to flow with the play as you manifest and control it.You can do this because you release much conventional responsibility for traditional decision makeing to the System itself,you learn to trust your teammates and the system.

We are lucky to have Sam here now,he has been indoctrinated to a NewAge Hockey System Perspective,and he will continue to evolve into this new vision of the game,he is about to make his final big growth spurt into the elite category of NHL Centermen,and it is happening here or wherever he goes,I personally would prefer here,and would have liked to have seen a six year contract in the 4.5 million dollar a year range.We are going to pay a premium for this one year stint.It will be worth it but expensive.The big question with Sam revolves around how much restraint the coach has,because Sam will provide consistant multiple point nights right off the bat and we might be inclined to put him on the first line based on this,but we already know he can play there,we need his experience and offense on the 2nd line,Sam is takeing another step and he will compete for the team points lead from a consistant second line position with some PP work.He also needs to shelter Yakupov for a year,and this means Yak might score 30-40 goals if he just stays on Sammys line for the entire season.

Silent Sam Gagner will put in the hard work and effort for 60mins every night this year and his point totals will directly reflect this,he in my opinion will dissect a lot of teams with his vision and consistant attack and repeated immediate exploitation of opponent system weaknesses.And watch for Sams offense to start in game one,he will be letting the system dictate his offensive choices so he will be shooting A LOT,it will be system generated not extra effort on Sams part but look for a huge year in the goals dept over 30 for sure.I believe we are already a playoff team and if Mr.Krueger can steer this mighty ship we will overachieve and go deeeep into the playoffs.I am afraid this team is arriveing VERY early,we arent going to have to wait for three more years to see this group enter the playoffs,it is this year and every year after that for a very long time.

Have a great year Sammy,remember conservation of motion and conservation of energy!and those elbows in the cage.

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