Sam Gagner and the Reset Scratch

Jonathan Willis
December 09 2013 10:42AM

One of the things limiting head coach Dallas Eakins’ ability to make changes up the middle has been the recent injuries suffered by Boyd Gordon. Once Gordon’s back, though, Eakins has the perfect opportunity to send a message, by scratching underperforming veteran Sam Gagner.

Why Gagner?

Gagner isn’t the only player on the team who has done enough to earn a seat in the press box. He is, however, the one the Oilers would miss the least.

While Jordan Eberle to Justin Schultz or Taylor Hall have all exhibited the kind of ‘damn the defence, let’s get the goals’ mindset that the Oilers can’t seem to shake even when, say, defending a narrow lead, all of them also provide something that’s hard to find elsewhere. Hall and Eberle drive offence; Schultz is needed on a blue line lacking competence and now short Jeff Petry.

Gagner’s been worse than any of the others, and if this season is any indication Mark Arcobello would be an upgrade, at least over a single game. This would be a “reset” scratch, like the one Petry just had or Nick Schultz did earlier this year, one where the coach could make it clear that a laissez faire attitude towards puck management and defensive positioning simply isn’t tolerable.

Suggested Top-Nine

  • Hall – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
  • Perron – Arcobello – Yakupov
  • Smyth – Gordon – Hemsky

The other nice thing about this setup is that it gives Eakins two solid defensive zone lines. The third line has been his defensive zone choice for most of the season, and it’s been doing just fine in that role of late (with Arcobello in for Gordon).

But this lineup also gives Eakins the option of double-shifting Anton Lander in for Nail Yakupov and sticking the second line out there for defensive zone draws too without being overly concerned about. And let’s be honest, halfway through the game when Yakupov and the fourth line gets glued to the bench that’s a nice option to have.

Then What?

I still think Sam Gagner’s a useful NHL player. I also think he’s a guy whose two-way game probably suffered from all the coaching turnover in Edmonton over the years.

But he’s played badly this season. At first, injury was the obvious (and reasonable excuse), but at some point the Oilers need to get more out of him. They don’t have enough defensively responsible forwards to let a veteran like Gagner skate on that issue. So it makes sense to give him a reset, reinforce to him that this is what he needs to do, and then see if he gets the message.

If he does? Perfect. If he doesn’t? No-trade clause or not, the Oilers don’t have room for a second-line centre who plays the way Gagner has this season.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Muji
December 09 2013, 10:51AM
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What do you mean by "reset". Is Sam Gagner a computerized robot???

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#2 Tom
December 09 2013, 10:56AM
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Muji wrote:

What do you mean by "reset". Is Sam Gagner a computerized robot???

You're an idiot.

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#4 Silver Streak
December 09 2013, 10:58AM
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He has had a 7 year long leash....enough already. Dump him this month before the no-trade kicks in....we won`t get much back...we may even need to take back some $$ ....but we are a better team without him....Sit Eberle and Schultz jr. for a few....if no results...move Eberle for some help at centre.

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#5 Eulers
December 09 2013, 11:00AM
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Yes, I 100% agree re: Gagner!

However, re: Eberle and Hall, I think the real decision is weighing the loss in offence for sitting them for a game in a meaningless season with the hope (it doth spring eternal) that the message would get through and the player would permanently improve his 2 way game. I know I'm leading wtih my framing here, but Eberle especially needs to sit---one game's offence be damned.

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#6 hockeycrazed
December 09 2013, 11:07AM
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I am not sure 'Benching' a slumping player is the ultimate answer to a team's problem! Some might argue that letting a slumping player 'rides it out' is a lot more productive! Correcting his 'mechanics', 'Antics', and 'Bad habits' requires a longer period of time and patience! I, for one, think Gagner's problem lies within one or more of the above assessments, and thus, unless he's not in the Oil's future plans, he should continue playing, until he's proved to be something else!

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#7 Greasy Goal
December 09 2013, 11:10AM
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"I still think Sam Gagner’s a useful NHL player. I also think he’s a guy whose two-way game probably suffered from all the coaching turnover in Edmonton over the years." Couldn't agree more. Each coach has their own way of doing things and the turnover rate has been horrendous here in the last 5 years. Players need structure with their game and if the foundation keeps changing how can they move forward with their all round skill? Last year the guys did better with a familiar face behind the bench in Ralph Kruger (24th). This year its a new system again but, unsurprsingly, it has the same result. This coaching carousel needs to stop, its not fixing the problem, its prolonging it.

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#8 JJ
December 09 2013, 11:11AM
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Pitlick finally back to OKC. Bet he was pretty happy to sit on his ass and collect a NHL paycheque for a month ala Smacintyre. As for Gagner, get rid of him. I've been saying this since the summer. His name means 'win' but he's a loser at heart and always has been.

7 years and he's basically done **** all for anyone. Time for waivers.

How come for each 'good' move MacT makes, he ends up with one of these. Gagner at 4.8m with a NTC is a humongous big handicap going forward.

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#9 Nomad787
December 09 2013, 11:13AM
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The worst thing is that you're right and its never going to happen. Gagner is untouchable, guarantee Eakins move arcobello to the wing before sitting Gagner.

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#10 season not played
December 09 2013, 11:14AM
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This player should have been traded last summer. He is slow, soft, can't win a faceoff and his lack of defensive awareness is astonishing considering the amount of NHL games he has played. At this point his contibution to the offense is minimal as well which, coupled with his contract, leads one to wonder what his trade value would even be. Then there is that ambiguous "no move clause" in which trading him might seriously damage MacT's credibility. Bold Moves really backed himself into a corner on this one. Unless, of course, Gagner is still considered a cornerstone of this ridiculous attempt at a rebuild. If thats the case then everything is right on track. A-Ok.

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#11 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 09 2013, 11:19AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Eakins has used the term in his availabilities previously; it's a chance for the player to get out of the fray and refocus on problem areas.

I agree with you JW....but why do we only ever talk about benching players as THE form of discipline?.......is it not by definition the coaching staffs job to motivate these players through the use of dozens of different tactics both positive and negative?!......aren't these highly paid professionals supposed to be elite motivators...elite teachers....elite tacticians?......WTF!

Just as one small example....glen Sather used to make guys like Grant Fhur run laps up and down Coliseum stairs as a punishment....and that was if he was in a good mood!

But I guess that was a different league then......nobody got $3 million dollars a year without ever having played a game in the NHL....and no one ever got $42 million based on anything other than a proven track record of winning and leadership at the NHL level!

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#12 David S
December 09 2013, 11:20AM
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Muji wrote:

What do you mean by "reset". Is Sam Gagner a computerized robot???

*SLAP*

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#13 westcoastoil
December 09 2013, 11:21AM
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JW I agree the coach carousel has hindered Gagner's development. However, that is no excuse for failing to, you know, pick up your feet and actually take stride during a shift. If he's afraid to make contact because his jaw/head hurts that's fair, but then perhaps he needs more time off.

At the very least he cannot play with Yak until he finds his game. Gagner sets the tempo for their shifts together, and that is not a good thing. I like the Yak - Arco - Perron combo. He needs to play with guys who will engage physically.

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#14 CC
December 09 2013, 11:22AM
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JW,

You have been on fire with your recent articles. Great stuff.

While I agree with you that Gagner should sit. When Gagner get's back in the lineup (after a HS) do you think Gagner should play the W? I think it might do Gagner some good to play a couple of weeks with Gordon to learn about how to play C in the NHL. Or perhaps he just stays at W if/when they deal Hemsky at the deadline.

CC

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#15 Chris.
December 09 2013, 11:22AM
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E: Sam we need you to get a fresh perspective. Don't view this as anything but an opportunity to learn.

G: Yes coach. *Oh Gawd. I need to put up more points. This wouldn't be happening if I was putting up more points. Geeze why aren't they going in for me?*

E: We need you to stay in coverage until we have full control of the puck. We need you to recognize your man and really cover him off: remember to maintain a good gap, and keep your stick in passing lanes when outmanned. We also need you to really focus on keeping your feet moving in all three zones. You need to support the puck better... especially in our own end... by delaying your zone exit a bit you can really make yourself a more viable outlet option for our D...

G: I totally understand. I'll focus my preparation accordingly. *Man do I need to score. It'd be nice if somebody could net my cherry cross ice feeds for a change... I guess. like always, it's up to me... Maybe I should stay late and work on my shot some more... Please God just grant me one more 8 point night to run up my boxcars!*

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#16 Dallas Eakin's Magnificent Forehead
December 09 2013, 11:26AM
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>MacTavish trades Gagner >Nuge gets injured again >Oilers fans: "HOLY HELL WHY ON EARTH WOULD MACT TRADE OUR 2ND LINE CENTER WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO DEPTH AT THAT POSITION OH MY GOD HE JUST LET A REAL HEART AND SOUL GUY SLIP AWAY FOR NOTHING!!!"

Gagner will get better defensively, he has to if only for the reason that he can't get worse. I think moving him in a package for an elite defenseman is reasonable thinking, but putting him on waivers or shipping him out for nothing is bananas.

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#17 David S
December 09 2013, 11:31AM
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The things you're asking of Gagner he simply can't do right now. He may be "technically" fit to play but if you watch closely when the camera focuses on him coming to the bench after any sort of hit, he's really feeling the pain in his jaw after any sort of contact. That means even if he wants to engage, his mind is telling him to shy away. Ever come back to a contact sport from a major injury WAY before you probably should have? Yeah. Same thing. Your body says "Let's go!" but your mind says "No way man. It'll hurt too much".

So you have a player who can't go into the dirty areas in the O Zone (although you can see he's trying), can't engage players in the D Zone, can't check effectively and (because of that stupid full mask affecting his vision) can't make the sweet passing plays he's made his career with. Notice how he hasn't tried many one-timers like he was working on last year? That's vision problems affecting timing.

All this makes you deathly afraid to make a mistake, which in fact makes you less effective because you're - making more mistakes.

I could be wrong but I think Eakins knows this. He's letting Sam play to help him rebuild his confidence and (basically) hack through a very sub-optimal situation.

And don't think for a moment Sam doesn't know he's as much a liability as an asset right now. I bet it's burning him up inside.

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#18 TKB2677
December 09 2013, 11:31AM
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I definitely think Gagner needs to sit down. He is horrible out there and as mentioned, they won't miss him much as he isn't doing anything.

I really don't by the changing coaches hampered his 2-way development. Changing coaches shouldn't impact him learning/sucking at winning faceoffs. Changing coaches shouldn't impact Gagner knowing you can't abandoned the middle of the freaking ice when you are in your own zone. Changing coaches shouldn't impact Gagner tying up an opposing players stick in his own zone. Changing the coach shouldn't impact Gagner hustling back to back check if he coughs up the puck.

These are BASICS that every coach expects his players to know and improve upon. The system might change but the fundamentals of being a center in our own zone don't. After 7 freaking years, Gagner looks to now even have the basics down. At times in his own zone, he looks like he's never played hockey before.

As long as the Oilers have Gagner as a center on their team, they will continue to be bad.

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#19 bazmagoo
December 09 2013, 11:32AM
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@CC

Gagner is getting substantially outplayed defensively by Hemsky, I believe that's all that needs to be said. If Eakins actually means what he is constantly spewing out of his mouth, Sam will sit for a game or two or move to the wing on Gordon's line or lower in the lineup.

This will be an interesting one for our "coach".

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#20 Ducey
December 09 2013, 11:34AM
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Willis,

Any idea when Gagner is likely to get the cage off? I expect that is messing up his ability to see the puck peripherally.

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#21 Smokey
December 09 2013, 11:36AM
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Eulers wrote:

Yes, I 100% agree re: Gagner!

However, re: Eberle and Hall, I think the real decision is weighing the loss in offence for sitting them for a game in a meaningless season with the hope (it doth spring eternal) that the message would get through and the player would permanently improve his 2 way game. I know I'm leading wtih my framing here, but Eberle especially needs to sit---one game's offence be damned.

Hall was NHL second star. Players who carry the puck turn it over.

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#22 bazmagoo
December 09 2013, 11:37AM
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@David S

If Gagner is afraid to be in physical exchanges then he shouldn't be playing. This is the NHL, not juniors or some development league. We need to be playing the players that give us the best chance to win, and right now that is definitely not Gagner.

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#23 Clarko
December 09 2013, 11:39AM
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Eulers wrote:

Yes, I 100% agree re: Gagner!

However, re: Eberle and Hall, I think the real decision is weighing the loss in offence for sitting them for a game in a meaningless season with the hope (it doth spring eternal) that the message would get through and the player would permanently improve his 2 way game. I know I'm leading wtih my framing here, but Eberle especially needs to sit---one game's offence be damned.

Only in Edmonton do fans want to see a player like Taylor Hall sit out a game...

The guy just won 2nd star of the week for the entire NHL, has 13 points in his last 10 games with a +3 rating.

But sitting him sends the "right" message...produce and you should be benched.

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#24 Truth
December 09 2013, 11:39AM
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I'd say there is at least 4-5 teams that would be lining up to trade a decently valuable piece for Gagner. What would Toronto give for a real live center? The big issue with trading Gagner is who is the 2nd line C replacement? Gordon, Arcobello, Lander? We've all seen the Hall as a center disaster, don't need to revisit that.

My opinion: Gagner is getting killed in Eakins' system while playing catch up from a broken jaw. Eakins is currently way under-experienced for coaching in the NHL. There were earlier reports of an NHL vet, such as Paul Maurice, joining the Oilers coaching staff. Why not do something like that? Hell, Babcock took in Renney, and Babcock is one of the best coaches in the game.

Eakins defensive system is designed to pressure the puckholder into making costly turnovers. In applying the pressure the team always leaves one man open, presumably the furthest from the puck or worst option for the puckholder. Unfortunately, this is usually the most dangerous player to leave open (see every game, man open in front of net). Eakins can probably get away with this system against AHL level talent, NHL talent can make the tough pass and it costs the team dearly while making the players look like crap.

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#25 Smokey
December 09 2013, 11:41AM
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JJ wrote:

Pitlick finally back to OKC. Bet he was pretty happy to sit on his ass and collect a NHL paycheque for a month ala Smacintyre. As for Gagner, get rid of him. I've been saying this since the summer. His name means 'win' but he's a loser at heart and always has been.

7 years and he's basically done **** all for anyone. Time for waivers.

How come for each 'good' move MacT makes, he ends up with one of these. Gagner at 4.8m with a NTC is a humongous big handicap going forward.

I'm not defending him, but at 4.8m and only 24 he is tradable especially with the cap going up.

He should be put on the wing on the third line and told to earn his way into the top six. That's if Eakins actually believed in accountability.

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#26 They're $hittie
December 09 2013, 11:41AM
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He looks the worst out of the top 9 forwards defensively because the position he plays. They all need to be better, with the exception of Nuge. Eberle at center would be just as big of a gong show. We can forgive Hall because once he has the puck it is usually in the other teams zone.

I am ok with an Arcobello temporary replacement but he is not the long term solution.

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#27 27Ginge
December 09 2013, 11:42AM
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A good team has one of the following players: Gagner, Yakupov, Arcobello. And one of the following players: J. Schultz, Petry, Belov. And none of these following players: Hemsky, Joensu, Potter, Grebeschkov.

The first six guys are all probably gonna be solid players but aren't yet. The last four are actually wasted roster spots.

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#28 Curt Brackenberry
December 09 2013, 11:44AM
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Has the 7 year audition not proven what he is. One night in the press box is not resetting sh*t. He is what he is. A functional NHL player...yes but not on this team nor at the center position. Small, soft, terrible at faceoffs, marginally skilled, defensive disaster forward.

How far does this team go with him as your second line center? If the answer is not far then move him and get whatever you can. This is likely not much now but that is not a reason to keep him.

I like MacT but what he sees in this kid outside of a fight a year to show he cares I wonder. This is another bad contract. Prime example of Edmonton over paying/valueing a player. Might not be able to get rid of him now without taking a bad contract back but I would do it in a heartbeat if Anything reasonable was offered.

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#29 Al Davis
December 09 2013, 11:45AM
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I didn't know coaching turnover means a player is incapable of hustling in the defensive zone.

I've seen enough of Gagner over the years. Too inconsistent and not sound enough defensively to be a top 6 player on a winning team.

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#30 Lil Breezy
December 09 2013, 11:47AM
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Trade Gagner for Del Zotto?

Gagner for a vet dman would be worthwhile. Arco can fill his spot on the second line C and we probably wouldn't miss him. The addition of a vet dman would make the whole team better without losing much in Gags.

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#31 Truth
December 09 2013, 11:47AM
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When do we have the Yakupov to the AHL article. Or is the threat of the KHL too much of a concern for this to be an option?

The guy has NO confidence. If he thinks he deserves 20 mins a night in the NHL he should have absolutely no problem proving it in the AHL with a goal per game for 20 games.

His full stop before hitting someone technique has got to go too. Must have spent a little too much time watching Paajarvi. On the bright side he's at least willing to half-hit the opposition. The same can't be said for 15 other players on the roster.

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#32 ubermiguel
December 09 2013, 11:52AM
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The "reset" button needs to be hit immediately after lousy shift. "Gagner, you were floating in the neutral zone too much, you're not getting a shift for 10 minutes."

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#33 BIGDAWG
December 09 2013, 11:56AM
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ya, this is no shocker..... ans he gets a 4.8mil cap hit to boot... terrible re-up shoulda signed him to a 2 yr deal or let him go to arbitration ...

I am tired of the OVER pay bullcrap.. 49 point player for 4.8.. geezuz

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#34 HardBoiledOil
December 09 2013, 11:57AM
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how in the HELL was Gagner, of all players, given a no trade?

....and i don't mind overpaying, but at least for someone who'll have some impact and not a support player!

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#35 Chris.
December 09 2013, 12:00PM
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I don't even find the turnovers that infuriating. All skill players turn the puck over simply because they have the puck and are making plays... and not every play is going to work out...

What I really can't stand is after 7 years Sam still peels out of his zone before we have possession. Against Phoenix, early in the third, in a one goal game: Sam peels out when both our D are in a pitch battle behind their own net for the puck allowing Ribeiro to go freely to the front of the net for the back breaker. Sure, maybe the D need to win that battle... But it is unfair to expect every battle to be won. Also, why would Gagner expect the D to make an out of zone breakout, flat footed, under coverage from behind their own goal line even if they had gained possession? Five different coaches have tried to teach Gagner not to make plays like that... Boy we must hire lousy coaches right?

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#36 **
December 09 2013, 12:08PM
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hockeycrazed wrote:

I am not sure 'Benching' a slumping player is the ultimate answer to a team's problem! Some might argue that letting a slumping player 'rides it out' is a lot more productive! Correcting his 'mechanics', 'Antics', and 'Bad habits' requires a longer period of time and patience! I, for one, think Gagner's problem lies within one or more of the above assessments, and thus, unless he's not in the Oil's future plans, he should continue playing, until he's proved to be something else!

so 7 years making the same mistakes are not long enough and patient enough for you?

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#37 gcw_rocks
December 09 2013, 12:09PM
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JW: Great article. Those lines, out of the current roster, are probably as good as you are going to get.

Given that this season is a write-off, after the press-box stint I would consider doing a pump and dump with Gagner. Soft minutes, lots of o-zone starts. Then trade him for a d-man before the NTC kicks in.

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#38 Freewheeling Freddie
December 09 2013, 12:09PM
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After Gagner had the 8 points the Oilers should have offered up for trade to 29 other teams. No we sign him to 4.8 million for 3 years, when will Larry Curly and Mo ever learn. And you hockey geniuses that want Hall to sit get off the pipe.

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#39 **
December 09 2013, 12:09PM
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Chris. wrote:

I don't even find the turnovers that infuriating. All skill players turn the puck over simply because they have the puck and are making plays... and not every play is going to work out...

What I really can't stand is after 7 years Sam still peels out of his zone before we have possession. Against Phoenix, early in the third, in a one goal game: Sam peels out when both our D are in a pitch battle behind their own net for the puck allowing Ribeiro to go freely to the front of the net for the back breaker. Sure, maybe the D need to win that battle... But it is unfair to expect every battle to be won. Also, why would Gagner expect the D to make an out of zone breakout, flat footed, under coverage from behind their own goal line even if they had gained possession? Five different coaches have tried to teach Gagner not to make plays like that... Boy we must hire lousy coaches right?

Gagner has nice hands, but not much brain. He doesn't seem to think the game the right way, sometimes he doesn't think it at all.

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#40 David S
December 09 2013, 12:10PM
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Chris. wrote:

I don't even find the turnovers that infuriating. All skill players turn the puck over simply because they have the puck and are making plays... and not every play is going to work out...

What I really can't stand is after 7 years Sam still peels out of his zone before we have possession. Against Phoenix, early in the third, in a one goal game: Sam peels out when both our D are in a pitch battle behind their own net for the puck allowing Ribeiro to go freely to the front of the net for the back breaker. Sure, maybe the D need to win that battle... But it is unfair to expect every battle to be won. Also, why would Gagner expect the D to make an out of zone breakout, flat footed, under coverage from behind their own goal line even if they had gained possession? Five different coaches have tried to teach Gagner not to make plays like that... Boy we must hire lousy coaches right?

Hall, RNH (to a lesser extent), Yak - pretty much all the 1st picks do exactly the same thing. They cheat for offense like they were born to it. For example, how does Hall get his breakaways? The other night the HNIC guys showed he was so far out of the play the cameras couldn't even see him, and yet magically he had the puck on his stick at centre for a juicy break.

These guys learned that D wasn't an issue when winning was the last thing on this team's agenda the past few years. YEARS I TELL YOU! Now all of a sudden defensive responsibility is "a thing" again. Even Eakins is stunned to find out none of them have any defensive conscience at all. Who can blame them? Padding stats was the only thing that kept them going -pretty much like this year too as Cassie Campbell pointed out last game.

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#41 forsoothed
December 09 2013, 12:11PM
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100% agree with this article.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: until Gagner sits, there is no real accountability here.

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#42 Death Metal Nightmare
December 09 2013, 12:11PM
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dude should have never got the contract he did and should have been shipped. this organization is too soft in the brain to toss players that are weak out of pity and false hope about roles average to poor players can fill.

last year everyone was ready to kiss Gagner on the lips for some "amazing" year (oh boy, show me some numbers to prove a sub ppg year is so siq'bro), overpaid, and now he's not good as the holes that were ALREADY THERE FOR YEARS get made apparent when his offensive (and defensive) game goes into the toilet more than it is.

denial and delusion everywhere with this organization.

how the F did this dude get a no trade clause anyhow? just supreme moron factor going on in the suits minds.

that's like giving Matt Cullen an NTC or Kyle Wellwood.

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#43 David S
December 09 2013, 12:13PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

If Gagner is afraid to be in physical exchanges then he shouldn't be playing. This is the NHL, not juniors or some development league. We need to be playing the players that give us the best chance to win, and right now that is definitely not Gagner.

Guys play hurt all the time and they're far less effective when they do - sometimes for entire seasons (see: Hemsky, Ales). They probably shouldn't but that's what the NHL does.

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#44 gcw_rocks
December 09 2013, 12:13PM
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BIGDAWG wrote:

ya, this is no shocker..... ans he gets a 4.8mil cap hit to boot... terrible re-up shoulda signed him to a 2 yr deal or let him go to arbitration ...

I am tired of the OVER pay bullcrap.. 49 point player for 4.8.. geezuz

No, they should have traded him for a top pairing defenceman last summer. Gagner was coming off his best season offensively and likely had never been worth more. The Oilers also should have known he is a flawed player on a roster without the depth to cover a flawed player.

Not trading him, RNH injury or not, was a horrible mistake.

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#45 David S
December 09 2013, 12:15PM
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Death Metal Nightmare wrote:

dude should have never got the contract he did and should have been shipped. this organization is too soft in the brain to toss players that are weak out of pity and false hope about roles average to poor players can fill.

last year everyone was ready to kiss Gagner on the lips for some "amazing" year (oh boy, show me some numbers to prove a sub ppg year is so siq'bro), overpaid, and now he's not good as the holes that were ALREADY THERE FOR YEARS get made apparent when his offensive (and defensive) game goes into the toilet more than it is.

denial and delusion everywhere with this organization.

how the F did this dude get a no trade clause anyhow? just supreme moron factor going on in the suits minds.

that's like giving Matt Cullen an NTC or Kyle Wellwood.

A 65 point per season player (about what he rated last year) is well in the range of the contract he got. Don't believe me? Check it out. But it's well documented.

And the Oilers were also buying character too. Something MacT made a point about immediately after the signing.

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#46 **
December 09 2013, 12:18PM
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Clarko wrote:

Only in Edmonton do fans want to see a player like Taylor Hall sit out a game...

The guy just won 2nd star of the week for the entire NHL, has 13 points in his last 10 games with a +3 rating.

But sitting him sends the "right" message...produce and you should be benched.

Well that's what Eakins did to Arcobello, he produced and he got benched, so that seems to be the way of this team.

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#47 BIGDAWG
December 09 2013, 12:19PM
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No, they should have traded him for a top pairing defenceman last summer. Gagner was coming off his best season offensively and likely had never been worth more. The Oilers also should have known he is a flawed player on a roster without the depth to cover a flawed player.

Not trading him, RNH injury or not, was a horrible mistake.

I could not have put it better myself.. ty sir!!!!!!!!!! OVERRATED.... I want him to go onn a hot streak so we can trade him.. Gags has to go..... Dman or Size up front. Package him up lets go!

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#48 WhiskyBoy
December 09 2013, 12:20PM
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Rather than resetting the player.

How about we reset the entire team and upper management?

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#49 Ducey
December 09 2013, 12:20PM
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Death Metal Nightmare wrote:

dude should have never got the contract he did and should have been shipped. this organization is too soft in the brain to toss players that are weak out of pity and false hope about roles average to poor players can fill.

last year everyone was ready to kiss Gagner on the lips for some "amazing" year (oh boy, show me some numbers to prove a sub ppg year is so siq'bro), overpaid, and now he's not good as the holes that were ALREADY THERE FOR YEARS get made apparent when his offensive (and defensive) game goes into the toilet more than it is.

denial and delusion everywhere with this organization.

how the F did this dude get a no trade clause anyhow? just supreme moron factor going on in the suits minds.

that's like giving Matt Cullen an NTC or Kyle Wellwood.

Guys calling others 'morons' ought to get their facts straight.

1) Gagner has a NMC for NEXT year;

2)NMC's in Edmonton are irrelevant. How many guys have actually relied upon it in Edmonton - ever? The fact is that a lot of places are an upgrade on a rebuild in Edmonton and Gagner would not likely oppose any trade - this yr or next.

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#50 Micbilly99
December 09 2013, 12:20PM
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Sit Gagner? Are you kidding me..How about sitting Justin Schultz? His play the last few weeks has been awful, terrible and lousy, whatever word you want to use. He was directly to blame for the overtime goal because of his lackadaisical play. For some reason, he gets a free ride. His play in the offensive zone is weak and does not produce any really chances and his defensive zone coverage is bad. And yet, he never gets criticized every...Why???

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