ABOUT SAM

Lowetide
December 11 2013 05:04PM

 

There's a lot of talk about young Sam Gagner these days, some troubling moments in the defensive zone married to sluggish offense have many wondering about his future as an Oiler. Should there be concern?

WHO IS SAM GAGNER?

Gagner's play defensively has been off this season. Although never a strength, his errant passes and exits from the defensive slot just in time to be "also in photo" are shocking for a player of his experience. I've watched this player from the beginning, and swear he's never been this bad in his own end. Mistakes? Yes. Poor decisions? Sure. However, not like this year, a year in which we have this discussion damn near every game.

WHAT is going on? IS it impacting his offense as well?

THE WHO BY NUMBERS

One of the best ways to judge offensive talent is by 5x5 points per 60 minutes. If a player can post numbers at even strength he should be able to do it on the man advantage, and Gagner has been good 5x5:

  • 2007-08: 1.96 (7th among regular Oiler forwards)
  • 2008-09: 1.69 (6th among regular Oiler forwards)
  • 2009-10: 1.56 (6th among regular Oiler forwards)
  • 2010-11: 1.91 (2nd among regular Oiler forwards)
  • 2011-12: 1.96 (4th among regular Oiler forwards)
  • 2012-13: 1.84 (4th among regular Oiler forwards)
  • 2013-14: 1.34 (10th among regular Oiler forwards)

Interesting. We know that Gagner has been poor away from the puck, but the 5x5/60 number also indicates he's well off the pace offensively. This is a fairly consistent hockey player, and we'd need to see this happen over an entire year, but I think we're seeing some effect of the horrible injury on the offensive side here. 

What are the typical causes of a poor season after a group of better ones?

  1. Injury and recovery
  2. Age
  3. Coaching change

We can exclude age, Sam is a young man who should be entering his prime as an NHL player. Injury is certainly a part of this, and despite the player claiming things are good again I think we can assume part of that is the player not making excuses (hockey player bravado is famous), and so I'll count the injury as a major contributing factor.

COACH AND PLAYER

The Oilers have already traded a recently signed veteran (Ladislav Smid) so it could happen again, but I'm not buying that Dallas Eakins has problems with Gagner. The comments by Eakins in regard to Gagner have been typical fare, certainly nothing that would cause a raised eyebrow. Eakins has been using Gagner more and more lately—he played over 19 minutes last night—and has him playing with two exceptional talents (Hall and Yakupov), so he's either putting him in a position to succeed or showcasing him.

I'd suggest that one thing they could do is put Gagner in a soft-minutes situation when Boyd Gordon comes back, in an effort to get Gagner going offensively at even strength.The Oilers have a ready replacement on the 2line in Mark Arcobello.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

In my experience as a fan, these things usually straighten themselves out about the time we identify them. There's no secret that Sam Gagner has been struggling, but he scored 2 assists last night and that's perhaps the beginning of a strong run that will see him climb to career norms.

This is a very talented hockey player and a big part of the team. My bet is Craig MacTavish and Dallas Eakins give Sam Gagner all the time in the world to get things together. 

Even if it takes the season.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 madjam
December 11 2013, 06:42PM
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Arcobello is not as good as Gagner , and if he was , then Gagner would be worthless on the trade market - simply untradeable with his new contract .

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#2 Low rule
December 11 2013, 06:06PM
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@Lowetide

The problem with Gagner and a lot of oiler players is coaching.

When he went through the crease and bumped Dubnyk he was chasing the puck.Does that not sound like swarm defence?

In basketball it's called guard the paint.In hockey it's protect the slot.

The coach put in a defence of chase the puck.When the players follow suit and leave the slot open who do you blame?

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#3 They're $hittie
December 11 2013, 08:05PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

Arcobello > Gagner

Good observation based on the most minute sample size you can think of. Gagner is nearing his 500 game played and has consistantly put up 45+ points per 82 games on the worst team in the league.

Arco has show well in 20 games.

Good thing you arent the GM

SIDE NOTE: Gagner is our biggest top six forward and if hemsky, smyth and gordon are our third line than he can share the honor for largest regular forward on the team with Gordon. (based on weight)

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#4 They're $hittie
December 11 2013, 08:16PM
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@Spydyr

He does not need to get bigger, there is no reason he can not get stronger or faster through training and yes you can get better defensively with coaching and development.

The deficiencies you listed are that of Eberle also. Play him at center and you would have the same defensive disaster. However he is less critisized because he is not a center and because he had two good years playing for canada in the world juniors.

IF we had NHL level defense none of our top six forwards issues would be this glaring.

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#5 Arius Mumin
December 11 2013, 08:28PM
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I can see why Gagner can have so many fans, it is due to the fact that these fans carry the same hockey IQ as Sam does.

More time? Give me a #@$%ing break. Most of Gagner's funboys have nothing positive to say about him or to defend his play with, they just ask of us to give the poor kid more time, that is it: just more time.

Trees that bear leaves but not fruit have usually no pith. Know them for what they are, of no use except for shade.

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#6 Harry
December 11 2013, 11:08PM
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Two words......BUY OUT!!!!

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#7 Freewheeling Freddie
December 11 2013, 06:38PM
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Overpaid overrarted

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#8 michael
December 11 2013, 07:07PM
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Look at how long it took Jones to get his mojo back. You get injured to the extent that Gagner had you take your time getting back up to speed. Goodness the critics figure you should be 100% and in mental game shape as soon as you put that uniform on. You gotta give Gagner time.

The other part of the equation is that Gagner stepped back into Eakins system as a latecomer.Heck Eakins today admitted to making some mistakes initially with his systems. The changes only lately have born fruit. The deal is that Eakins is till in the feeling out/evaluation process in his first year. He is slowly learning who can do what. And what they can't do.

Gagner is a veteran. But really he isn't. He has been force fed into situations that have essentialy been over his pay grade for 3 years. Expectations have been high. I really think under the coaching of Eakins and Acton we'll see a player who is more rounded.Give it some time folks.

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#9 Spoils
December 11 2013, 05:24PM
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the toe drags were out last night... keep dangling Gags, it'll come back.

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#10 Spydyr
December 11 2013, 08:11PM
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Guess seven years is not enough time.Better give him seven more.What will that be 14 years with no playoffs? He is Gagner and an integral part of the team.

Double facepalm.

He is not going to magically get bet better defensively, get bigger , stronger or faster.He is what he is. Time to get the second line centre this team needs to win. It is beyond obvious Gagner is not that player.

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#11 They're $hittie
December 11 2013, 08:20PM
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@**

no I am saying that, people say to trade gagner to get the team bigger, I would suggest we do that by trading arco, eberle or hemsky.

Calling him small or a smurf is an uneducated statement because he is the average height of an nhl forward and actually heavier.

A comment like he needs to play bigger is a more accurate statement but you can say that about nuge, eberle, yak, and hemsky also.

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#12 K_Mart
December 11 2013, 08:42PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

He has played 20 games. I can find a 20 game sample for Gagner that would make great players look bad.

Arco needs to play good consistantly for a full season plus another one before you can say that.

There are times when he looks better and he does deseve a shot and more opportunity but he will have slumps and injuries also.

You could easily be right, but even in Gagner's stretch with the 8pt night he wasn't as good overall as Arco.

IMO, this 20game stretch for Arco has been better than ANY 20 game stretch I've ever seen gagner play.

That includes the stretch with cogs and Nilsson, and the 8pt night.

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#13 Retsinnab5
December 11 2013, 06:54PM
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Arcobello > Gagner

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#14 SuntanOil
December 11 2013, 10:16PM
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There is no doubt that Sam is a frustrating player at times, in particular when he continues to make the same mistakes in his own zone time time after time.

I don't think it matters for a couple of years at least. From everything I've read here and elsewhere it sounds like Sam has a verbal no-movement clause with MacTavish, and that it would be in writing if it was allowed by the CBA. Therefore, I think we can whine all we want about Sam's shortcomings as a player, but unless you have solutions to those shortcomings that don't involve trading him, then it would appear to me you're wasting your breath.

So, since it appears we are stuck with Sam Gagner for at least two more years (whether you like it or not), what can he improve on along the way to silence his critics?

Obviously he can't change his size, and from the sounds of it he works hard to improve his strength and balance in the off season. Realistically, if your problem with Sam Gagner is simply that he is not big enough, then you are blind to certain truths and positives he does bring.

What can he fix though? The defensive lapses, zone positioning, and face off percentages can all be improved through coaching, and from all reports he seems to be a very coachable and intelligent player. . ... ... ... SO why haven't they improved?

In his first year Samwise took huge strides as a player, but seems to have stopped learning the game since then. The only change that was made that year that still has been a constant to this day is that one Kelly Buchberger became an assistant coach.

So every time I see Sam repeat a coverage mistake for the umpteenth time I no longer get mad at Sam, I end up mad at Buchberger. How bad of a coach do you have to be to not be able to correct this behavior in SIX years of working with him?

Yes. I blame Kelly Buchberger. He has shown nothing as a coach since he came back here, and I have no idea how he keeps flying under the radar as a major problem with this organization. Thus my biggest worry is that Gagner will be traded away for nothing (much to the delight of many on here) and that it will take a real teaching coach all of about month to correct Sam's defensive lapses. If and when it happens, MacTavish will take a lot of heat from these same people for "losing" the trade so badly.

So, yes, I do want to give Sam a little more time, but more importantly I want for the Oilers to find an assistant coach who can actually teach the kid how not to make the same mistakes he has been making. If they find him a real coach, a coach who has a track record of teaching kids the right way to play the game and he still makes the same mistakes, then yes - trade him. Since the Oil aren't making the playoffs this year, you might as well bring in that coach this season - now would be good - and let's see if we can't fix the kid before we give up on him.

FKFBNF!!

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#15 mlcselli
December 11 2013, 11:08PM
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When I look at Gagner and the rest of his draft class. he is really far behind them. When I look at Gagner playing with players called up from Oklahoma, more often than not, he is behind many of the call-ups. When MacT and Eakins look at Gagner, obviously, we are not watching the same game. If the Oil are looking for a successful centerman that will be an asset to the team, Gagner is not their man. I am not buying any excuses of injury, or coaching changes as a reason why he could be struggling. If Gagner had the talent like so many other players coming back from injury or learning another system, his skill would surface. With Gagner, what you see is what you get. It's time to set him free.

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#16 Alsker
December 11 2013, 07:15PM
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Low rule wrote:

The problem with Gagner and a lot of oiler players is coaching.

When he went through the crease and bumped Dubnyk he was chasing the puck.Does that not sound like swarm defence?

In basketball it's called guard the paint.In hockey it's protect the slot.

The coach put in a defence of chase the puck.When the players follow suit and leave the slot open who do you blame?

Man I hope you're sharing 'cause that is funniest thing I've read here in a long time. Seriously, a defensive plan that includes crashing your own crease and pinning your netminder out of position. Oh wait it starts with a typical clearing attempt, FOUR, the two hander while turning away from the puck. Gotch ya, cool! Epic, but once again thanks for the chuckle.

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#17 Rocket
December 11 2013, 07:23PM
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I think it's both injury and his usual slow start. He starts to play a lot more confidently later in the season.

I wonder if The Oilers were going into the playoffs one year, would he be peaking just as the playoffs start? Sadly we still won't know the answer for at least another year.

I hope once his jaw is fully healed, he starts to play much better. Maybe his face shield is blocking his vision of the Oilers defencive zone:)

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#18 Quicksilver ballet
December 11 2013, 07:46PM
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SHHHHHWINNNNNG, and a miss!

Christian Ehrhoff

Defense Born Jul 6 1982 -- Moers, Germany [32 yrs old already this coming July, he's too bloody old Oiler fans] Height 6.02 -- Weight 203 [188 cm/92 kg] but plays a much smaller than his frame would lead you to believe.

The Oiler dollars are better spent on someone else. Rather take a chance on that Gudbranson kid, he looks to be shaping up to be one tough Hombre in the next yr or two.

My word is final, no need for rebuttle. Resistance is futile, fellow puckers. No Ehrhoff for you, Oiler fan.

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#19 **
December 11 2013, 07:55PM
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Come the next 4 games against Boston, Vancouver, Anaheim and LA when Gagner becomes a turnover factory and stands around puck watching while his team gets creamed because he can't engage physically and is not fast enough, I'd like to see all of Gagner's supporters here, including lowetide, talking about how talented Gagner is and how all he needs is time.

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#20 Rama Lama
December 11 2013, 05:18PM
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I share some of what you are proposing to be the issues surrounding Sam's recent shortcomings.

I also agree that he needs to string some games together and have a very good back half of the season, if we are going to get anything for him in a trade. Yes I suspect that Sam will be traded as he should.........we have enough hobbits on this team already.

We need a bigger, stronger, FASTER second line centre so that we can play against bigger teams with some success. The cap increase will certainly present more trade opportunities so we might as well prepare for that.

Sam has to eventually go, so I for one do not mind him getting unearned ice time.

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#21 Ed in PV
December 11 2013, 06:37PM
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Gagner has demonstrated his abilities to be that of a 2nd line center on a poor team. He has better than average offensive abilities, but has many other weaknesses in his game that will prevent him from being anything more. In order for the Oil to improve he cannot stay with them long term. With his 4.8M/y salary he will be difficult to trade. Unfortunately the only option for the Oil is to keep playing him, whether he deserves to sit or not, and trade him for whatever they can get at an opportune time. If nothing happens prior to his NTC, a buy our should not be out of the question.

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#22 Ed in PV
December 11 2013, 06:48PM
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madjam wrote:

Arcobello is not as good as Gagner , and if he was , then Gagner would be worthless on the trade market - simply untradeable with his new contract .

I would suggest that to this point in the season Acro has been better, and at this point Gagner is untradeable.

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#23 **
December 11 2013, 08:03PM
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On a related note, Gagner has already started practicing his golf swing for the early summer ahead. That golf clearing attempt followed by screening his own goalie and handcuffing him was priceless. Gagner has nice hands, but he lacks speed and hockey IQ (and on plays like that yesterday, one might even say a bit of intelligence) to see the ice and the plays developing not just around him but on the whole sheet.

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#24 pkam
December 11 2013, 05:20PM
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LT,

I wonder what his numbers (including the 5x5 points per 60 minutes) will look like if we take away his first 8 games this season?

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#25 **
December 11 2013, 07:58PM
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Rocket wrote:

I think it's both injury and his usual slow start. He starts to play a lot more confidently later in the season.

I wonder if The Oilers were going into the playoffs one year, would he be peaking just as the playoffs start? Sadly we still won't know the answer for at least another year.

I hope once his jaw is fully healed, he starts to play much better. Maybe his face shield is blocking his vision of the Oilers defencive zone:)

yeah he starts playing a lot more confident when playoffs hopes are either dead or on life support and teams start letting up because they either qualified already for the playoffs or are too far out of reach and are trying to tank. Come to think of it, the playoffs hopes are pretty much gone, so he should start playing better.

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#26 Slyers
December 11 2013, 09:42PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Yeah, exactly. He's coming on now, but lordy those passes.....

I am so sick of people sticking up for this player...I don't get it... He gets away with soooooo much. When he played wth Nielsen and Coliano they were benched and traded yet he would still get prime playing time. Last night he was terrible yet was on in last minute and on OT power play. If I were Perron or Arco or even yak (who is no defensive gem) I would be loosing my. All anyone does is make excuses for him, he is not physical, a nightmare defensively, not good on dot, and has only shown inconsistent displays of offence. Yet still excuses and ice time... he is at best a third line winger who can fill in on second line winger. Gagner is the most over rated Oiler player in history.! Pleas stop looking for something that is. Not there !!

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#27 eastcoastoil
December 11 2013, 05:16PM
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@Lowetide

oh god there goes my quality time with the miss's

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#28 They're $hittie
December 11 2013, 08:18PM
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K_Mart wrote:

Arcobello>gagner

Not because gags is horrid, but because Arco is that good. Draft pedigree isn't everything.

He has played 20 games. I can find a 20 game sample for Gagner that would make great players look bad.

Arco needs to play good consistantly for a full season plus another one before you can say that.

There are times when he looks better and he does deseve a shot and more opportunity but he will have slumps and injuries also.

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#29 hockeycrazed
December 12 2013, 08:17AM
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It's true, Lowetide, Gagner's never displayed any of the things you described/ he displayed, especially after he returned from his episode with his jaw-fracturing incident! Have anyone considered this to be a PTSD! Does anyone ever have an injury similar to his? Taped and broadcast throughout North America no less? How could we even attempt to understand what Gagner's going through these days?! Remember how we were collectively hoping that he would come back from his injury and help this team do better? And come back he did, prematurely!!! Yes, physically he might be on the mend, but psychologically he's still seeing that horrible, bloody face disfigurement in his mind..... Get the picture? Still wants to kick him while he's down???!!! We are a lot better than that, aren't we?

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#30 eastcoastoil
December 11 2013, 05:10PM
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LT, Where do you find those GIFs at? When does the NTC kick in? At the start of the season next year? With the cap going up is it so bad to give him time?

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#32 dave
December 11 2013, 05:29PM
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All the time on the world or the trade deadline which ever comes first.

Sam might want a trade if he gets pine time.

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#33 pkam
December 11 2013, 05:30PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Yeah, exactly. He's coming on now, but lordy those passes.....

If I remember correctly, Crosby took his face mask off about 4 weeks after he returned to ice.

From what I heard, he may have to wear the face mask until Olympics break. And the earliest will be after Christmas. I think he returned too soon.

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#34 gcw_rocks
December 11 2013, 07:30PM
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I think we have to be careful not to confuse two issues. Issue one, does Gagner have the offence to be a top six forward? He has proven without a doubt that he does.

The second issue is, does Gagner have the defensive ability to play centre in the NHL? On this second issue, I think we have seen enough to tilt towards "no", and certainly not on a team with questionable team defence.

If the Oilers conclude "no" as well, then they either need to year trade him or trade one of the current wingers to open up a spot for him.

I really liked your suggestion of trading him to Buffalo for Ehrhoff. Buffalo is weak on the right wing and Gagner could slide right on to their top line as the new right wing. It's a win for both teams.

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#35 K_Mart
December 11 2013, 08:15PM
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madjam wrote:

Arcobello is not as good as Gagner , and if he was , then Gagner would be worthless on the trade market - simply untradeable with his new contract .

Arcobello>gagner

Not because gags is horrid, but because Arco is that good. Draft pedigree isn't everything.

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#36 **
December 11 2013, 08:17PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Good observation based on the most minute sample size you can think of. Gagner is nearing his 500 game played and has consistantly put up 45+ points per 82 games on the worst team in the league.

Arco has show well in 20 games.

Good thing you arent the GM

SIDE NOTE: Gagner is our biggest top six forward and if hemsky, smyth and gordon are our third line than he can share the honor for largest regular forward on the team with Gordon. (based on weight)

I would mend the comment like this: Arcobello>Gagner so far this season.

And all the stats confirm it. As for mentioning that Gagner being the biggest top six forward, it's true, but now you're just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

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#37 A-Mc
December 11 2013, 08:49PM
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Getting Points won't fix what I think is wrong with having gagner as 2C. Right now we need a defensively responsible center to balance out the wild fires that are our wingers. Preferably the center is big but until we can find one, a guy like arco will do just fine.

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#38 Wintoon
December 11 2013, 08:54PM
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Gagner is not a 2C player. He is slow, plays small, can't win face offs and his defensive play/awareness is horrid. While young, he is a seven year veteran and the Oilers will never be a contender with him in the 2C slot. Furthermore, the Oilers cannot afford to give him any more time for on the job training.

If you put him on the wing he does not have the same level of D responsibility, however, he must now physically compete with bigger players along the boards and in the corners, he must have speed on the backcheck and entering the zone.

In short, please MacT trade this guy for anything you can get that will help this team.

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#39 Rdubb
December 12 2013, 02:49AM
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Pardon me, but what is this " 5x5/60 number "? What exactly does it mean? Is it another one of these "corsi" stats that really nobody in the western hemisphere understands? I'd greatly appreciate it if someone could please answer for me and explain it in layman's terms as I am not a math major or anything of the sort... Thank you

PECK

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#41 Rocket
December 11 2013, 08:18PM
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** wrote:

yeah he starts playing a lot more confident when playoffs hopes are either dead or on life support and teams start letting up because they either qualified already for the playoffs or are too far out of reach and are trying to tank. Come to think of it, the playoffs hopes are pretty much gone, so he should start playing better.

That's pretty pessimistic. Unfortunately, you're probably right. Darn you and your realistic attitude!

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#42 Ed in PV
December 11 2013, 08:34PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

no I am saying that, people say to trade gagner to get the team bigger, I would suggest we do that by trading arco, eberle or hemsky.

Calling him small or a smurf is an uneducated statement because he is the average height of an nhl forward and actually heavier.

A comment like he needs to play bigger is a more accurate statement but you can say that about nuge, eberle, yak, and hemsky also.

Don't put too much faith in height and weight stats out out by teams. According to the Oil's web site Gagner out weighs Smyth by about 10 lb!!! No-one would suggest that Gagner plays a bigger game than Smyth would they? I would suggest that Arco actually plays a bigger game than Gagner. He throws more body checks, is harder to knock off the puck and is better at protecting the puck with is body.

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#43 S cottV
December 11 2013, 08:43PM
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It comes down to who we need in the critical 1C and 2C positions, as part of a team that will take on Anaheim, LA, SJ and Vcr for a playoff spot. Feel pretty good that RNH will get there with some more time. He will improve to be a legit 1C. Gagner is in his 7th year and unlike RNH, Gagner is not going to get a lot better. Taking the big boys out of a playoff spot will not be easy and Gagner is just not going to be enough in 2C - to get it done. Other problems - like getting legit 1st rotation d men and a top goaltender, should Bryz and or Dubie not work out, but you can't under estimate the need for strength in the middle.

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#44 David S
December 12 2013, 12:23PM
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Neal wrote:

You guys are really under-estimating the impact his injury has. I speak from experience that rehab will normally take months longer than he took.

Having said that, it shouldn't affect his brain. And Sam has never demonstrated being a complete player. He was rushed into the league at minimum a year too soon (6 Rings strikes again) and I've said for 6 years now that hurt his development. But we are where we are.

I was one of the guys who said not to trade him because of his age; that you'd eventually lose the trade as experience caught up to talent. I have to say now that it hasn't happened. Time for him to go - but if that's not an option then put him on the wing - it's the only NHL position that he's had some success in. Maybe our best 2nd line center - Arcobello - can get him going as his winger...

We should assume he's also suffering the lingering effects of a pretty serious concussion, something the team didn't have to disclose because of the time off for surgery/rehab.

If he's gutting it out from both jaw surgery and post concussion syndrome it probably explains why Eakins is letting Gagner play himself back into shape. It also might explain why he can't engage (like Ben Eager) and is making alot of seemingly bone-headed mistakes.

Hemsky sucked last year and now he's ripping it up because he's finally healthy. Are people willing to trade Gagner based on observations that probably see him playing no more than 50% of his potential? That's moron talk.

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#45 ubermiguel
December 11 2013, 06:24PM
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We all know Gagner is the streakist Oiler (maybe ever). He'll put up a run of 10 amazing games and his 5x5/60 will regress up to his usual 1.80 range.

His defence is a different story. He definitely lost a step (mentally and physically) with the that major injury. Here's a reminder of how bad it was if you need it: http://cdn.uproxx.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/sam-gagner-injured-face.png

He's got to still be feeling some pain and soreness from that mess.

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#46 **
December 11 2013, 08:38PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

no I am saying that, people say to trade gagner to get the team bigger, I would suggest we do that by trading arco, eberle or hemsky.

Calling him small or a smurf is an uneducated statement because he is the average height of an nhl forward and actually heavier.

A comment like he needs to play bigger is a more accurate statement but you can say that about nuge, eberle, yak, and hemsky also.

When you explain it like that, it makes a lot of sense. I think the Oilers need 2 more top six players who are over 6'1, over 200, and who actually use their size to their advantage, and given what's in house, both those guys need to be 2 responsible two way players.

The Oilers are in a division with teams full of big top 6 players (both physically and style of play). To me the team should keep Hall and Perron because of their offensive abilities and willingness to show up. Then keep Nuge, because he has shown hockey IQ at both ends of the ice.

That leaves Gagner, Yakupv and Eberle. Gagner is the losing proposition because he doesn't play big like you said and in 7 years he has never shown he is defensively responsible. Since center is the most important position in a forward line to have sense of defense, he needs to go.

As for Ebs and Yak, one of them need to go too to bring that other "bigger" player I mentioned. Ebs has produced more and is somewhat better defensively, but he also has 3 years on Yakupov and Yak seems to be the more physically engaging of the 2.

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#47 God
December 11 2013, 09:21PM
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madjam wrote:

Arcobello is not as good as Gagner , and if he was , then Gagner would be worthless on the trade market - simply untradeable with his new contract .

You're ignoring that the Oil could pay part of Gags salary in a trade. Arco hits, he goes to the tough areas, he's great on the draw, he plays his position well and has regularly produced as a 2C.

These are all things that Gags can't do.

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#48 BillHK
December 12 2013, 08:29AM
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They should not have let him rush back to the ice after the injury. Having 2 plates stuck in your head will need recovery time even if it's not part of the body that is usually facing contact over the course of a game, his injury likely warranted some additional rehab time.

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#49 john
December 11 2013, 09:47PM
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I like Samwise G, I was happy when the Oilers drafted him. My patience is wearing thin with him now though. Like many fans I have been waiting for him to mature & roundout into the player we all expected him to become but I'm not sure that is ever going to happen in Edmonton. His size has been and always will be an issue; that's not a suprise to anyone.

The thing is though, he was drafted for not only his appearant skillset but mostly because he allegedly boasted the highest I.Q. of anyone else in that draft class. I might be wrong but shouldn't a reasonably talented, above average intelligence NHL player be able to figure out after 7 seasons how to get around his size issues & put himself into a position to succeed?

Ovechkin started trending down a few seasons ago because everyone around the league started figuring him out but he's re-invented himself since the lockout & has once agian become one of the most dangerous & productive forwards in the league once again!

If a caveman can figure it out I am perplexed as to why Gagner can't.

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#50 2004Z06
December 12 2013, 10:30AM
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BillHK wrote:

They should not have let him rush back to the ice after the injury. Having 2 plates stuck in your head will need recovery time even if it's not part of the body that is usually facing contact over the course of a game, his injury likely warranted some additional rehab time.

It wasn't that they rushed Sam. Sam rushed himself back when he saw Arcobello stealing his job.

People forget that in Sam's first season, his most productive season, he predominantly played the wing. On the wing he doesn't need to be as defensively responsible, he doesn't need to win draws.

I would prefer to see him traded in a package for something of value, but if we are going to be stuck with him, at least move him back to the wing.

He may put up decent points, but he give up 2 goals for every 1 he scores.

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