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

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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.
Avatar
#1 Tom
December 09 2013, 10:56AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
51
cheers
Muji wrote:

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

You're an idiot.

Avatar
#3 season not played
December 09 2013, 11:14AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
33
cheers

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.

Avatar
#4 Dallas Eakin's Magnificent Forehead
December 09 2013, 11:26AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
33
cheers

>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.

Avatar
#6 Fish
December 09 2013, 12:21PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
31
cheers

DO NOT HEALTHY SCRATCH GAGNER. Instead, trade him before the No Move Clause hits. Play him, and trade him. If MacT really thinks he's a long term option, then by all means, press box it is. If not, play him. The worst thing we could do is HS him and then look to trade him after we destroy his trade value around the league. So, i'm saying that is likely what will happen here.

Avatar
#7 Silver Streak
December 09 2013, 10:58AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
27
cheers

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.

Avatar
#8 Chainsawz
December 09 2013, 12:41PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
22
cheers

The season is shot. It doesn't matter if we have depth at center this season or not.

Trade Gagner. Find a replacement in the offseason. Let's find out what we truly have in Arcobello.

Avatar
#9 David S
December 09 2013, 11:20AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers
Muji wrote:

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

*SLAP*

Avatar
#10 Clarko
December 09 2013, 11:39AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers
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.

Avatar
#11 David S
December 09 2013, 12:24PM
Trash it!
38
trashes
Cheers
19
cheers

Look. I get it. Gagner isn't a 6'5" 220 pound beast who can smash faces,score 80 points, be 60% in the dot and the first guy back to the D Zone every freakin time. ~By that mystical benchmark he's an utter failure.~

But thinking a guy like Arcobello can take his place with a 20 or so game history is the pinnacle of Oilers fanboyism.

A 100% healthy Gagner is a scrappy player who gets 50-60 points a year and is a solid, if not remarkable second line C. He's the kind of guy who'll be played properly, with complimentary linemates and reasonable expectations on any team we trade him to. And he'll be the guy the same fanboys will be whining about saying "WHY DID WE TRADE THAT SUPER USEFUL ACTUAL NHL'er FOR MAGIC BEANS???"

#BecauseOilersFans

Avatar
#12 bazmagoo
December 09 2013, 11:37AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

@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.

Avatar
#13 Eulers
December 09 2013, 11:00AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

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.

Avatar
#14 JJ
December 09 2013, 11:11AM
Trash it!
24
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

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.

Avatar
#15 Chris.
December 09 2013, 11:22AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

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!*

Avatar
#16 MadTrap
December 09 2013, 12:24PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

@David S

While I agree that it is obvious SG is playing hurt, not every mistake or weak turn over is going to put him into a "dirty area" on the back check. It was obvious during the Calgary game that after the turn over leading to the final OT goal, SG never even made an effort to get back and prevent the shot. It appeared from the stands that he has lost that drive. Bench him 'till he can see what team effort means.

Avatar
#17 Greasy Goal
December 09 2013, 11:10AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

"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.

Avatar
#18 Lil Breezy
December 09 2013, 11:47AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

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.

Avatar
#19 OilDieHard
December 09 2013, 11:57AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

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!

Avatar
#20 Curt Brackenberry
December 09 2013, 12:53PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

I actually agree that it's a mistake to think Arcobello's a better player than Gagner at this point. We've seen this sort of thing before; it takes time to know what Arcobello is.

With that said, Arcobello's certainly capable of holding his own while Gagner takes a brief recess.

Arcobello may or may not be his replacement but suffice is to say Gagner is not a 2C. We should go and find that guy, regardless of what Arcobello becomes.

Avatar
#21 FastOil
December 09 2013, 01:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

The only question about Arcobello is whether or not he'll catch Gagner in offense. He already plays better.

Currently Arco is outscoring Gagner with 2.5 minutes less TOI and lesser help. He is only one year and two days older.

Unless the Oilers pull an 'Oilers', Gagner is very likely expendable once the NTC clause is over. Of course they could keep both but I doubt Lowe will have any of that, too many centres.

Arco currently is a more effective NHL player overall regardless of what happened in junior. If he scores consistently watch out!

Avatar
#22 Al Davis
December 09 2013, 11:45AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

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.

Avatar
#23 ubermiguel
December 09 2013, 11:52AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

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."

Avatar
#24 mayorblaine
December 09 2013, 12:43PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers
David S wrote:

Look. I get it. Gagner isn't a 6'5" 220 pound beast who can smash faces,score 80 points, be 60% in the dot and the first guy back to the D Zone every freakin time. ~By that mystical benchmark he's an utter failure.~

But thinking a guy like Arcobello can take his place with a 20 or so game history is the pinnacle of Oilers fanboyism.

A 100% healthy Gagner is a scrappy player who gets 50-60 points a year and is a solid, if not remarkable second line C. He's the kind of guy who'll be played properly, with complimentary linemates and reasonable expectations on any team we trade him to. And he'll be the guy the same fanboys will be whining about saying "WHY DID WE TRADE THAT SUPER USEFUL ACTUAL NHL'er FOR MAGIC BEANS???"

#BecauseOilersFans

i've no illusions that Arcobello will save the world, but to say that thinking Arcobello should be given a chance is not fanboyism.

just because he is older it is assumed he hasn't got what it takes to play. i'm fairly certain he hasn't shown me he can't.

don't understand the logic that a guy cannot blossom or develop later and turn into a quality player, maybe even better than some who were drafted much much higher. it is possible.

we talk every year how good Gagner can be, he isn't. i'd hazard he won't be either. hope i'm wrong. love to be.

Avatar
#25 Puck JammeR!
December 09 2013, 01:36PM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Little Sammy Broken Nose

Always poops his hockey clothes

Avatar
#26 Jaybob
December 09 2013, 12:56PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

@MadTrap

Gagner wasn't even on the ice for the OT goal. Look, I get that he's not playing well, but let's not make things up to blame him on. Nuge, Eberle, Schultz Jr, Marancin were the only ones on the ice for that goal.

Avatar
#27 srbuhr
December 09 2013, 01:49PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

@David S

So his sore jaw means he can't move his feet? Every one would cut Sam some slack if he actually back checked rather then coast back shift after shift.

Avatar
#28 Hall of a Player
December 09 2013, 02:06PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers
josh wrote:

ganger has never cracked 50 points so you sound really stupid right now.

he is streaky and he has never been, never will be good defensively. we don't need another player that style. so trade him away in trade that involves a number one d.

just dont make a smid trade.

you say arcobello is the the example of fanboyism. your thoughts on ganger are the deffinetion of being a fanboy.

your pumping his tires and making false statements.

your right arcobello is a small sample size, but he looks good defensively most of the time. and if u play him with any linemates when hes at center it makes them look better. ganger needs sheltered zone starts. arcobello has the worste xone starts besides Gordon.

Before you start calling people stupid, you might want to take a few grammar lessons.

And by the way, his name is G-A-G-N-E-R.

Avatar
#29 CC
December 09 2013, 11:22AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

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

Avatar
#30 TKB2677
December 09 2013, 11:31AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

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.

Avatar
#31 bazmagoo
December 09 2013, 11:32AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

@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".

Avatar
#32 josh
December 09 2013, 01:03PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers
David S wrote:

Look. I get it. Gagner isn't a 6'5" 220 pound beast who can smash faces,score 80 points, be 60% in the dot and the first guy back to the D Zone every freakin time. ~By that mystical benchmark he's an utter failure.~

But thinking a guy like Arcobello can take his place with a 20 or so game history is the pinnacle of Oilers fanboyism.

A 100% healthy Gagner is a scrappy player who gets 50-60 points a year and is a solid, if not remarkable second line C. He's the kind of guy who'll be played properly, with complimentary linemates and reasonable expectations on any team we trade him to. And he'll be the guy the same fanboys will be whining about saying "WHY DID WE TRADE THAT SUPER USEFUL ACTUAL NHL'er FOR MAGIC BEANS???"

#BecauseOilersFans

ganger has never cracked 50 points so you sound really stupid right now.

he is streaky and he has never been, never will be good defensively. we don't need another player that style. so trade him away in trade that involves a number one d.

just dont make a smid trade.

you say arcobello is the the example of fanboyism. your thoughts on ganger are the deffinetion of being a fanboy.

your pumping his tires and making false statements.

your right arcobello is a small sample size, but he looks good defensively most of the time. and if u play him with any linemates when hes at center it makes them look better. ganger needs sheltered zone starts. arcobello has the worste xone starts besides Gordon.

Avatar
#33 westcoastoil
December 09 2013, 11:21AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

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.

Avatar
#34 forsoothed
December 09 2013, 12:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

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.

Avatar
#35 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
December 09 2013, 01:48PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers
Puck JammeR! wrote:

Little Sammy Broken Nose

Always poops his hockey clothes

While he lays on the ice

Thinking 'that effort should suffice'

That's our Sammy Snowpants

This Oil fan rants.

Avatar
#36 David S
December 09 2013, 11:31AM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

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.

Avatar
#37 Chris.
December 09 2013, 12:00PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

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?

Avatar
#38 **
December 09 2013, 12:18PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
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.

Avatar
#39 Chainsawz
December 09 2013, 12:54PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
David S wrote:

Look. I get it. Gagner isn't a 6'5" 220 pound beast who can smash faces,score 80 points, be 60% in the dot and the first guy back to the D Zone every freakin time. ~By that mystical benchmark he's an utter failure.~

But thinking a guy like Arcobello can take his place with a 20 or so game history is the pinnacle of Oilers fanboyism.

A 100% healthy Gagner is a scrappy player who gets 50-60 points a year and is a solid, if not remarkable second line C. He's the kind of guy who'll be played properly, with complimentary linemates and reasonable expectations on any team we trade him to. And he'll be the guy the same fanboys will be whining about saying "WHY DID WE TRADE THAT SUPER USEFUL ACTUAL NHL'er FOR MAGIC BEANS???"

#BecauseOilersFans

Pretty funny you get to set the unrealistic benchmark as to which we are judging Gagner on.

Who cares about his size if can play big. He doesn't. Who cares about his faceoff percentage as long as it close to 50%. It's not. His production does matter which I will concede increased last season but has oddly returned to it's flatlined numbers, between 40-50 points. His defensive play matters as well if the production isn't going to be there.

Just because you build up scarecrows in your argument to beat up doesn't make you right or that everyone else is a "fanboy" who doesn't agree with you.

#dontthinkhashtagsworkonoilersnation

Avatar
#40 dougtheslug
December 09 2013, 02:03PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
Will wrote:

Ah yes, the Gagner debate rages on.

Debating the merits of the individual player is not very fruitful. Debating whether or not he fits on our team, and whether or not he should be traded, and whether or not the result of that trade would net a reasonable upgrade is also something that seems to be a bit moot.

I think if either Tambi or Mac T could have traded Gagner for an upgrade at centre, they would have by now. There was a great article that listed all the second line centres in the league that are bigger, win more faceoffs, score more points, get scored on less, and come at a similar or cheaper cost. Of that list, guess how many would be available for trade, let alone take something we can offer, let alone be traded here or want to come to this team.

My point is, this second line centre upgrade on Gagner that the Oilers are able to acquire without selling the farm, does not exist. Every single team in the league is looking for that guy and the teams that have them are not trading them.

Do you think Malkin or Kessler are going to come here? Is Montreal going to trade us Galchenyuk? Did Richards suddenly shake lose from LA? Can anyone name this player, then actually figure out a way to acquire that guy?

I'd love to get Couturier out of Philly, but his overall stats are no where near Gags, and Philly has gone on record saying they won't trade him.

Indeed. What would Sam return on the open market? Next to nothing, I would say. Top 2 d-man? Tough, defensively responsible centerman? Maybe if you threw in Taylor Hall.

Calgary traded two really useful, albeit older players, and got back late first round picks and magic (or just plain) beans. Nashville trades an older, similarly soft forward with a slightly higher offensive upside in Martin Erat and gets back prospect (suspect) Filip Forsberg.

A small, 0.5 point per game, defensively unreliable center who can't win a faceoff and has a horrible contract? Don't hold your breath.

Avatar
#41 Ari Gold
December 09 2013, 06:45PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

All of you defending Gags, give your head a shake. He's always been a garbage 2C. Gags hasn't scored a meaningful point in a very long time. He has no grease or rage to his game. Arco has less offensive upside but does all the little things VERY well. I'd rather have a guy like that as my 2C. He's only going to get better.

Gags time here has come to an end with the emergence of Arco. The only reason Gags is still around is because Arco is learning the ropes. He's in between a credible 2C and too good to be a 4C. Development in OKC is pretty good. I'm impressed with the defensive place of all the kids coming up. Perhaps Gags could've used a few years down there.

Avatar
#42 Saytalk
December 09 2013, 08:15PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

If we're comparing Gagner to Arcobello, then it's worth pointing out that Gagner's cap hit is $4.8M per year and Arco's is currently $600K. For that gap, I would gladly trade Gagner for a bag of pucks, replace him with Arco and use the extra cap space to sign a free agent defenseman next summer.

After seven years, your draft pedigree counts for nothing, your last name counts for nothing, and your junior stats inflated by playing with Patrick Kane count for nothing. I'm tired of Gagner's lack of effort and his cluelessness in the defensive zone. The fact that a 5'9" minor leaguer with no draft pedigree can be play better defense and provide comparable offense says more than enough about his value to this club.

Avatar
#43 Nomad787
December 09 2013, 11:13AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

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.

Avatar
#44 2004Z06
December 09 2013, 02:46PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

Oh how the mighty hath fallen!

But, but....he's on pace for 25 pts this year.

Posted it a thousand times here.....He is not a legit NHL 2nd line center. Never has been. Try him on the wing, or move him out.

Avatar
#45 Smokey
December 09 2013, 11:36AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
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.

Avatar
#46 mayorblaine
December 09 2013, 12:22PM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

if we sat all those that deserved based on Eakins initial comments on how he is going to run his team, we'd have to forfiet.

Gagner is an asset. treat him as such.

understand what you need already. it is NOT a CORE OF 8-9 current players.

Avatar
#47 S cottV
December 09 2013, 12:33PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

The Oilers cant afford to roll two soft centremen out - back to back - in the first two rotations.

Particularly - when it's all pretty soft around them and behind them.

Short term - sure - maybe give him a press box reset but long term it just doesn't fit.

Press box resets are probably indicative of Eakins struggling to get his vision sold, accepted and executed at the player level.

Trading Smid probably had these undertones attached to it and you just dont like the look or lack of 200 foot commitment being shown by the core player group - that - in turn, forces Eakins to consider playing these cards.

Eakins will have his hands full, trying to hold this thing together for the balance of this season.

MacT has to come through and get some heavier lifters into the mix.

Avatar
#48 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 09 2013, 11:19AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
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!

Avatar
#49 Truth
December 09 2013, 11:39AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

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.

Avatar
#50 They're $hittie
December 09 2013, 11:41AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

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.

Comments are closed for this article.