Sam Gagner vs. size

Jonathan Willis
May 13 2013 02:21PM

Does Sam Gagner struggle in games against bigger teams?

Last week we looked at how the Oilers’ top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle fared against individual teams, and found that there seemed to be no link between how big the opposition was and how well they played. However, many in the comments wondered if the same would hold true for Sam Gagner – so I decided to look.

The Scoring Chances

The above are the Oilers’ scoring chances at even-strength with Sam Gagner on the ice this year – and the overall trend is interesting. The correlation between scoring chances and team points is -0.47, meaning that as the teams got better, Gagner’s scoring chances declined. However, the correlation between team weight (as put together by James Mirtle) and scoring chances was -0.65, meaning that Gagner was more likely to play poorly against a big team than he was a good team. (There is some overlap here, the correlation between weight and point totals for the Oilers’ opponents is 0.21, meaning that bigger teams were generally a little better than smaller teams). The correlations aren’t definitive, but they certainly seem to suggest that Gagner’s line had trouble against bigger teams. What happens when we look at some specific examples.

The Matchups

We may as well start with St. Louis, since Gagner’s line was terrible against the Blues. On March 1, Gagner played with Ryan Jones and Ales Hemsky and saw pretty much the entire opposition rotation. That line held its own, going +4/-4 in even-strength scoring chances that night. On March 23, Gagner found himself with Magnus Paajarvi and Jordan Eberle, and again saw a pretty even rotation of the opposition; this time his line was out-chanced 4-0. The trend holds in the third game; this time Gagner, Paajarvi and Hemsky played together and once again saw a variety of opponents. The line as a whole wasn’t good and Gagner in particular gout out-chanced badly (8-2). It’s a small, three game sample, but it’s noteworthy because Gagner wasn’t hard-matched either at home or on the road against a particular line; he just saw a mix of (mostly larger) opponents and got hammered.

What about San Jose? Things got off to a bad start – Gagner, Hemsky and Nail Yakupov played together in the Oilers’ home opener against a variety of opponents and were out-chanced 5-2 as a line. Things got worse in the next game – the same trio was out-chanced 9-1 together (Gagner was +1/-10 on the night) despite barely seeing San Jose’s top line. San Jose coach Todd McLellan’s decision to match Clowe/Gomez/Couture or Wingles/Handzus/Havlat paid off here. The third game was the first one where Gagner did okay (+6/-6 on the night); he played with Yakupov and Paajarvi while McLellan hard-matched Couture, Pavelski and Havlat against them. Defence might have had something to do with this, too – in the first two games, Gagner saw lots of Dan Boyle and Matt Irwin; in the third game he saw some Boyle/Irwin and a little more Doug Murray/Brad Stuart. It’s true that Murray/Stuart are bigger defenders, but Boyle/Irwin are much better players.

What about Minnesota, the lone sub-200 pound team Gagner’s line struggled against? The scoring chances were basically even in the middle two games, so let’s look at the first and fourth contest the Oilers played against the Wild. In the first game, playing with Hemsky and Yakupov, Gagner saw lots of Cullen/Zucker/Setoguchi , as well as the Spurgeon/Prosser defence pairing. That’s an awfully small opposition matchup, but the Gagner line was out-chanced 2-to-1 and Gagner himself was +4/-10 on the night. The fourth game saw Gagner, Eberle and Paajarvi put together (Hall, Horcoff, Hemsky was the other scoring line) and they got a vicious matchup – Suter/Brodin on defence, and Koivu/Coyle/Setoguchi up front. That’s not a huge group, but it’s a very talented one and the Gagner line ended up getting out-chanced 8-to-3.

Bottom Line

It would take a lot more computer know-how than I have – say, going through NHL game sheets and tracking Corsi events against every opponent Gagner played, then ranking those opponents by size – to present a full statistical case for Gagner struggling versus size, but by eye and based on the scoring chances I think there’s a reasonable basis to believe that he probably did. What I've presented above could be noise, but because it fits with what I've seen I'm inclined to believe it isn't.

Tyler Dellow has been pursuing Gagner’s Corsi/scoring chance collapse from a different angle and he’s determined that most of the problem came on shifts with faceoffs (part one here, part two here ). I’m not entirely sure how to reconcile those findings with these; one possibility is that after the faceoff the size of the wingers has a big impact in a) ability to win puck battles and b) ability to bull through to the net with the puck once the puck battle has been won.

STREAKCRED

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Recently around the Nation Network

In his Random Thoughts piece over at Flames Nation, Kent Wilson hits on a lot of points - including a case to move into the top-five at the draft - but also talks about the GM of the year nominations and who he would have picked:

Doug Wilson. His team began the year with a big gaping hole at the end of the roster - the the degree that the bottom-6 was dragging down his impressive collection of stars elsewhere. By the trade deadline, he had cleared out the dead wood (Handzus, Clowe, Murray), improved the bottom-6 with a few low cost acquisitions (Scott Gomez, Raffi Torres) and converted his trash to a nice collection to future assets to boot.

Click on the link above to read more, or check out some recent pieces here at Oilers Nation:

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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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#51 oilers2k10
May 13 2013, 11:57PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

But here's the problem - guys like Barkov always look great now - in your minds eye you can see the second coming of Teemu Sulanne, plus he only costs you an ELC. How could Tampa or Carolina or anybody not see that as an upgrade? Walter "Wes" Sobchak suggests Oilers 7th, Hemsky, Paarjari and another pick for the fourth pick. But why would Nashville do that? That's probably 7 million in salary for 2 known quantities(not the types to lead Nashville to the promised land) and worse draft picks instead of a projected elite talent and Nashville would still have 7 million to spend on free agents or whoever pops up from a team in cap trouble. I just can't see a scenario where trading up makes sense for any team above the Oilers in the draft.

Unless if Carolina thinks the player they can get at number 7 is as good as the player they can get at number 4. Teams move down in the draft because they rate a certain player higher than the other teams do, if they can also get some other assets in doing so then they win the trade in their minds.

I wouldn't give up the 7th plus those other players for fourth. Our need is center, but Darnell Nurse at number 7 would be awesome, maybe just as good a player as Monahan for his position.

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#52 Walter Sobchak
May 14 2013, 12:01AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Here's the problem with this and similar scenarios. The teams above Edmonton in the draft(Colorado, Florida, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Carolina, Calgary), although it is hard to fathom, sucked WORSE than the Oilers. Thus they desperately want the same magic beans in the draft that you and every Oiler fan covets. And all you have to offer them is worse beans and the players that have caused the Oilers to suck(assuming you don't want to trade any of the big five, and I don't want to) - which, in fact, all those teams already have. Which is why they also suck.

In industry there is a maxim that enough of anything is usually worth something. But in hockey, a pile of mediocre and below average players is still a pile of mediocre and below average players. They can't be spun into gold, no matter how hard you try. Those six teams I mentioned also want Barkov and Monahan and Mackinnon as much as the Oil and a whole team of Gagners and Hemskys plus a pile of second rounders isn't going to pry that pick out of them. You may be able to pry worse magic beans out of teams that finished ahead of the Oil, but why?

Well, good points, historically, and Willis did a piece on this, but usually to move doesn't require a lot, and usually takes just draft picks.

However, as you mentioned teams above the Oilers sucked worse, this is where it benefits the Oilers.

Two teams Nashville and Carolina are not rebuilding, they don't necessarily need the draft pick, and most likely would take a roster player as Nashville needs scoring and Carolina is only in this position because both goalies got hurt.

Now, who is willing to give these teams more? Edmonton has pieces to offer, whether you want to call them worse players, I happen to think Hemsky is a good player on a bad team with a bad contract.

there are ways around this to make it happen, so unless you want to keep losing, someone has to be moved.

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#53 dougtheslug
May 14 2013, 12:09AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Well, good points, historically, and Willis did a piece on this, but usually to move doesn't require a lot, and usually takes just draft picks.

However, as you mentioned teams above the Oilers sucked worse, this is where it benefits the Oilers.

Two teams Nashville and Carolina are not rebuilding, they don't necessarily need the draft pick, and most likely would take a roster player as Nashville needs scoring and Carolina is only in this position because both goalies got hurt.

Now, who is willing to give these teams more? Edmonton has pieces to offer, whether you want to call them worse players, I happen to think Hemsky is a good player on a bad team with a bad contract.

there are ways around this to make it happen, so unless you want to keep losing, someone has to be moved.

It's not that I want to quit losing( although I prefer losing quietly without much fanfare, as opposed to the prime time implosion Leafs fans just witnessed. Maybe we should be careful what we wish for) . I would be as happy as anyone if such a scenario played out, I just don't see it happening. The thing is, even if in reality, Hemsky is an upgrade for Nashville or Carolina, the ability to land a potentially elite player for an ELC, AND have 5 million in discretionary cap space trumps a lower pick and a contract like Hemsky's, in my humble view.

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#54 Walter Sobchak
May 14 2013, 12:11AM
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Dangilitis wrote:

"7th + Hemsky + Oilers second + Paajarvi to move onto the 4th spot" - Hemsky, Paajarvi, and #37 just to move up 3 spots? Monahan could be just as good as Barkov for all we know. Bold, certainly. Risk - not justifiable, however.

"Gagner + 2014 first round pick + Anaheim second and a prospect Gernat or Marincin for a top pairing defenseman" - How do you propose Oilers fix their NHL organization center depth with these moves? As I just said - if you want this team to miss the playoffs again, replacing Gagner with a defenseman is a surefire way to do this. Also, that really dries up the prospect pool, which is very important in a reduced cap world.

I am not opposed to trading Gagner, Hemsky, draft picks or our solid defensive prospects - but the return would have to then include a player capable of #2C this year, a 2nd/3rd d-man. Only one of your proposed trades brings this back.

Actually yes it does.

So how about you pick up a scouting report on MacKinnon, Barkov, or Monahan.

Only Monahan projects to be a true second line center and the scout all feel he's ready to play, late birthday means he's had three years of the OHL, or as many years as Eberle had in the Dub.

Barkov and MacKinnon project to be 1A or 1B prospects with immediate impact, with Barkov being already an exceptional two way center.

With my proposal that leaves Gagner + a second + prospects + next years first, for a top pairing defensmen.

I don't care what order or whatever remainder of players you use, something has to happen if the Oilers want to pull out of this.

Barkov - MacKinnon - Monahan give the Oilers better options moving forward.

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#55 Walter Sobchak
May 14 2013, 12:18AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

It's not that I want to quit losing( although I prefer losing quietly without much fanfare, as opposed to the prime time implosion Leafs fans just witnessed. Maybe we should be careful what we wish for) . I would be as happy as anyone if such a scenario played out, I just don't see it happening. The thing is, even if in reality, Hemsky is an upgrade for Nashville or Carolina, the ability to land a potentially elite player for an ELC, AND have 5 million in discretionary cap space trumps a lower pick and a contract like Hemsky's, in my humble view.

Agreed, until you buy back 3.5 million of Hemskys value.

Even if you turn Hemsky into a late first might not be enough in this draft.

I just don't see anyway Mac-T pulls this team out of this mess unless he gets drastic and overpays on a couple deals, without sacrificing the kids.

Needs.

Big skilled LW in the top six - A true two way second line C capable of a complete game - Top pairing defensmen.

I don't see how this happens this year? unless you overpay for a center at the draft.

All I now is that moving back in this draft is insane, go forward.

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#56 Walter Sobchak
May 14 2013, 12:27AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Everyone wants to trade away the future and trade away what was earned through all the years of pain just so we can have a chance at 2 playoff games in edmonton next year.

Overpaying in a trade isn't going to help bring the rebuild to an end. You don't cut a hole in the bottom of your boat so that you have some wood to patch the other hole in your boat.

Gags stays. Draft a kid @ #7 and wait a few years. There are no short cuts.

Deal with it.

Go OKC!

Welcome to a continuation of loserville.

30 - 30- 29th 24th...which in a regular season, everyone pretty much would agree that the Oilers would have ended up 27th.

The Oilers actually did worse then last year!

Willis just laid out what is wrong with Gagner, Tyler Delow has just completed a series in which he lays out for you that Gagner is part of the problem, and your idea is to not cut him loose or did you not bother to actually read the article?

You keep this team, I prefer to overpay for a better one.

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#57 gcw_rocks
May 14 2013, 06:05AM
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JW: I think I was one of the commenters that asked for this analysis. Thank you! Its not definitive, but it sure gives reason for pause before signing Gagner to a long term deal. Mike Richards he is not.

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#58 The Beaker
May 14 2013, 06:42AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Agreed, until you buy back 3.5 million of Hemskys value.

Even if you turn Hemsky into a late first might not be enough in this draft.

I just don't see anyway Mac-T pulls this team out of this mess unless he gets drastic and overpays on a couple deals, without sacrificing the kids.

Needs.

Big skilled LW in the top six - A true two way second line C capable of a complete game - Top pairing defensmen.

I don't see how this happens this year? unless you overpay for a center at the draft.

All I now is that moving back in this draft is insane, go forward.

You mean 2.5mil of Hemsky's value?

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#59 Citizen David
May 14 2013, 06:52AM
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@Walter Sobchak

There is no way Nashville trades their pick. They will take Barkov. Just cause they aren't rebuilding doesn't mean they won't take the free center who may be the best center they ever have had. Plus they traded Erato for Forsberg so they clearly don't mind a bit of rebuilding.

By your own logic that you've used in the past however, you defeat your idea that they would trade the pick. You said you believe that Barkov will be better next season than Sam Gagner. If Nashville who needs offense can pick up a big center who will be better than Gagner, why would they pass?

I don't believe he'll be better than Gagner next season, but Nashville will not trade their pick.

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#60 K_Mart
May 14 2013, 06:55AM
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After the fifth pick, the draft really evens out all the way to 20th. I'd much rather see MacT make deal (or a couple deals) that land us two picks from 11-20 instead of just #7. I'd rather end up with maybe a Zadarov AND a Mantha instead of just a Nichushkin or Monahan.

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#61 Clyde Frog
May 14 2013, 07:45AM
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The correlation between scoring chances and team points is -0.47, meaning that as the teams got better, Gagner’s scoring chances declined. However, the correlation between team weight (as put together by James Mirtle) and scoring chances was -0.65, meaning that Gagner was more likely to play poorly against a big team than he was a good team. (There is some overlap here, the correlation between weight and point totals for the Oilers’ opponents is 0.21, meaning that bigger teams were generally a little better than smaller teams).

I hate to point this out, but this is a very weak conclusion; .47, .61 and .21 mean that there is a very small correlation between the two pieces of data you are examining.

Generally anything below .8 means there is too much error in the model and it is very difficult to relate the two variables.

The .47 and .21 are completely wasted inferences statistically... The .61 indicates there could be a relationship, but just as likely an outlier or two could be completely skewing your data...

These kind of statistical conclusions are very dangerous if you don't qualify how poor your results actually are...

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#62 madjam
May 14 2013, 07:58AM
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Pitts.,Rangers ,Blues ,Kings ,Bruins and Wild do not have a first round pick ! What might they give us for our pick #7 ? Columbus ,Calgary have 3 to play with , and Dallas and Buffalo 2 each . Options should be plentiful if we choose to play our #7 option .

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#63 madjam
May 14 2013, 08:10AM
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Contraversy : Would Phaneuf be worth while going after ,seeing as he has only one year left on his overpaid contract ?

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#64 Taylor Gang
May 14 2013, 08:20AM
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madjam wrote:

Contraversy : Would Phaneuf be worth while going after ,seeing as he has only one year left on his overpaid contract ?

The problem with Phaneuf is not only is he overpaid, we would have to overpay to get him. That's a bad mix if you ask me.

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#65 squeezboks
May 14 2013, 08:26AM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

The correlation between scoring chances and team points is -0.47, meaning that as the teams got better, Gagner’s scoring chances declined. However, the correlation between team weight (as put together by James Mirtle) and scoring chances was -0.65, meaning that Gagner was more likely to play poorly against a big team than he was a good team. (There is some overlap here, the correlation between weight and point totals for the Oilers’ opponents is 0.21, meaning that bigger teams were generally a little better than smaller teams).

I hate to point this out, but this is a very weak conclusion; .47, .61 and .21 mean that there is a very small correlation between the two pieces of data you are examining.

Generally anything below .8 means there is too much error in the model and it is very difficult to relate the two variables.

The .47 and .21 are completely wasted inferences statistically... The .61 indicates there could be a relationship, but just as likely an outlier or two could be completely skewing your data...

These kind of statistical conclusions are very dangerous if you don't qualify how poor your results actually are...

QFT!

I suspect the underlying model has some interesting non-linearities that make using the "standard" correlation coefficient risky business.

Goodness of Fit (R^2) gives an impression about the validity of the underlying model by trying to quantify the amount of variation in the output that can be explained by variation in the input.

Scoring Chances to Team Points -> 22% Scoring Chances to Team Weight -> 42% Team Weight to Team Points -> 4% (!)

The linear model is probably not accurate or the data set is far to small.

None of this is to discourage the use of advanced stats, just an attempt at a reality check. Keep it coming!

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#66 SLAM
May 14 2013, 08:49AM
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DSF wrote:

Nonsense.

P/60 5V5:

Hudler - 1.94

Gagner - 1.84

Hudler is a better hockey player.

Was he a better player last season? Did he out score Gagner? Nope.

If you don't want to pay up, you could also self ban yourself for a few months. I'd take that.

Don't make wagers you can't or won't back up.

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#67 Tikkanese
May 14 2013, 08:50AM
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Give Gags a skilled winger with size that plays with size(ie NOT Paajarvi or the suggested Penner) and see these numbers change dramatically. Same thing if Gags was moved to the wing with a new center.

Not to mention a near complete D-Men overhaul would do wonders for these numbers.

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#68 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 14 2013, 09:13AM
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Non playoff teams are free to conduct business during the rest of the playoffs, aren't they?

C'mon MacT, September is quickly approaching. Give the Caps a call and see if there's any interest in Gags or Hemsky, or other deadwood types. Maybe Edmonton could land a third rounder for Whitneys rights to someone.

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#69 merfer
May 14 2013, 10:06AM
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@Oiler Al

Do you really believe he is 5.11. More like 5.8. You can't believe NHL information as it is bs.

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#70 madjam
May 14 2013, 10:19AM
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merfer wrote:

Do you really believe he is 5.11. More like 5.8. You can't believe NHL information as it is bs.

Is that with skates on or off ?

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#71 Clyde Frog
May 14 2013, 10:22AM
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merfer wrote:

Do you really believe he is 5.11. More like 5.8. You can't believe NHL information as it is bs.

If everyone is 2-3 inches shorter, does it then matter if Gagner is 5.11 or 5.8?

As all of the 6.2 giants then become 6.0 or 5.11?

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#72 oilerjed
May 14 2013, 10:27AM
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I need some help to figure this out. Gags is solid for 50-60 pts. If Yak is ready for 2w this year Im figuring 40-50pts. MPS should stay 3w with a chance to move up if he finally makes a jump. It seems pretty clear that hemmer has no place on this team anymore.(too bad too, I was cheering for him) and if Gags ++ is traded for better D(most commonly proposed trade), where are we getting these points from? We went from needing 20 pts from our second line to improve to having two huge holes to fill. Yak can and should take over from MPS but now we are short a 2w and 2c. Are these players available from the UFA market this year that can produce comparably with Gags for a similar price? Or are we looking most likely at yak/mps and some 2c for next year? IMO move Gags to the wing and find a 2C from ??? Even if we pull Barkov/monohan out of a hat will he be ready for next year? Im spinning my wheels someone help me figure this out.

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#73 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 10:47AM
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@oilerjed

Gagner is not "solid".

Yak will get way more points than Gagner, given the right opportunity on the 2RW.

How can you, so clearly, see that Hemmer has no place here: yet be so confused over Gagner? Your emotions getting the best of you?

I like to believe, if given the same spoon, Lander could easily do what Gagner does.(if need be) I'm sure there is a lot of players available that can do what Gagner does, for cheaper. The Oilers need not break the bank on Gagner's 2nd assisists.

RNH and Eberle are on the 1st and in need of a big LW. Yak and Hall on the 2nd in need of an actual 2nd line centre.

Gagner is not a 2nd line centre, Gagner is not a 1st line LW either. There is no place for Gagner on the 3rd line and there is no more place for Gagner on the Oilers period.

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#74 The Beaker
May 14 2013, 11:31AM
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@Eddie Edmonton

To be fair, Lander could not just come in and produce 45-55 points... he cant even do that in the AHL.

Also, I think a Hall-New C-Yak line would be considered a first line over New LW-RNH-Eberle.

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#75 TKB2677
May 14 2013, 11:37AM
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I like Gagner's compete but in my opinion, the Oilers are NEVER going to be good enough if Gagner is your #2 centers. Nuge is never going to be a giant or a banger but his superior skill and hockey sense makes up for his slight frame. Gagner is supposedly 5'11, 195. He is maybe that with his skates on and full equipment. Regardless, with Gagner being small, brutal on faceoffs and crappy defensively, the Oilers will continue to struggle. If your #1 center isn't a big guy, you sure as hell better have a #2 as a bigger center with a good 2 way game. Gagner is nothing of those.

As much as we would all like to see run and gun hockey, trading chances hockey, it's never going to happen. You will always have to be able to grind it out especially in the playoffs.

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#76 oilerjed
May 14 2013, 12:01PM
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Eddie Edmonton wrote:

Gagner is not "solid".

Yak will get way more points than Gagner, given the right opportunity on the 2RW.

How can you, so clearly, see that Hemmer has no place here: yet be so confused over Gagner? Your emotions getting the best of you?

I like to believe, if given the same spoon, Lander could easily do what Gagner does.(if need be) I'm sure there is a lot of players available that can do what Gagner does, for cheaper. The Oilers need not break the bank on Gagner's 2nd assisists.

RNH and Eberle are on the 1st and in need of a big LW. Yak and Hall on the 2nd in need of an actual 2nd line centre.

Gagner is not a 2nd line centre, Gagner is not a 1st line LW either. There is no place for Gagner on the 3rd line and there is no more place for Gagner on the Oilers period.

Your post doesnt fix either holes, and like stated above Ladner hasnt shown he is capable of putting up points in the NHL. Gags has averaged over 40 pts in the 6 years he has been here, and on one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. We will still need two players to fill these gaps. Names are what I need.

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#77 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 12:11PM
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The Beaker wrote:

To be fair, Lander could not just come in and produce 45-55 points... he cant even do that in the AHL.

Also, I think a Hall-New C-Yak line would be considered a first line over New LW-RNH-Eberle.

To be fair, Lander was never given the same opportunity to show us if he can or can't. Different calibre players and system he is playing in the AHL with, there is also no Gagner AHL to compare. Both of opinions are just guesses as there is no facts to compare throughly.

1A and 1B.;-')

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#78 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 12:15PM
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oilerjed wrote:

Your post doesnt fix either holes, and like stated above Ladner hasnt shown he is capable of putting up points in the NHL. Gags has averaged over 40 pts in the 6 years he has been here, and on one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. We will still need two players to fill these gaps. Names are what I need.

My posts don't fix holes, Oilers have people on place to try to do that.

What position and on what lines are these players that you need? I can try to guide you in the right direction, maybe.

Are you saying that Gagner gets less points and is not as good because he is on the Oilers? If so, I'll say that Oilers get less points because Gagner is on their team. Just to be fair.

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#79 FastOil
May 14 2013, 12:27PM
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I think the Oilers would be a far stronger team with two centres that are consistently dangerous and will play 200 feet.

If Lindholm has grown which I read somewhere he really is close to Barkov stats wise. We could still end up with an offensive centre at 7 with enough size.

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#80 llcooljayce
May 14 2013, 12:55PM
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@Clyde Frog

I registered on the site to say exactly this. The correlation between your criteria means that there is no relationship (or very limited) between your variables.

To state any relationship in your article is disingenuous at best.

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#81 rickithebear
May 14 2013, 01:21PM
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Some guy on this site just said that the only center in the top 10 in PK results and top 10 PP results is dead wood!

Deadwood!

Replace it! Trades, UFA, i do not care just show me you can replace it!

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#82 BGH - Team Squee
May 14 2013, 02:11PM
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Eddie Edmonton wrote:

Gagner is not "solid".

Yak will get way more points than Gagner, given the right opportunity on the 2RW.

How can you, so clearly, see that Hemmer has no place here: yet be so confused over Gagner? Your emotions getting the best of you?

I like to believe, if given the same spoon, Lander could easily do what Gagner does.(if need be) I'm sure there is a lot of players available that can do what Gagner does, for cheaper. The Oilers need not break the bank on Gagner's 2nd assisists.

RNH and Eberle are on the 1st and in need of a big LW. Yak and Hall on the 2nd in need of an actual 2nd line centre.

Gagner is not a 2nd line centre, Gagner is not a 1st line LW either. There is no place for Gagner on the 3rd line and there is no more place for Gagner on the Oilers period.

This is exactly what I have been saying to all my friends as well.

Love Gags, love his compete level, but just no place for him on this edition of the Oilers.

About the only thing I think will be different is, I think Hall and Yak will be the first line.

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#83 Tikkanese
May 14 2013, 02:56PM
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@JW

To single out just Gagner may be unfair.

Were his linemates the bigger problem? Hemsky was apparantly playing on a broken foot for a good chunk of the season.

Did his linemates perform better or worse with other centers?

How did Gagner fair when centering anyone other than Hemsky with either Yakupov or PRV? I realize he played with Hemsky most of the year, but there were games where the HHH line or the '06 line of Hemsky/Horc/Smyth were going as well.

A single shortened season is not much to go on. He was 32% against the Hawks this year. I bet he was the complete reversal the season prior.

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#84 Tikkanese
May 14 2013, 03:18PM
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@JW

Can you do a breakdown of Ryan Smyth as a Winger vs. as a Center? Might help curb the Smytty hate going on lately.

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#85 I am the Liquor
May 14 2013, 04:04PM
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DSF welching on bets again?

Its quite sad actually.

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#86 TKB2677
May 14 2013, 04:19PM
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@Tikkanese

Here's a legit question.

How does a skilled winger with size fix "Gags" inability to win a faceoff? He just finished his 6th year in the league and he was 43.9% He was 41.8% in his rookie year. After 6 years, he can only improve 2%!! Are you kidding me??

Gagner after 6 years in the NHL Gagner is still a train wreck in the defensive zone. How does a skilled, big winger help with his inability to check an opposing player? The center position has the most responsibility out of the 3 forwards on a line and the center is supposed to lead the way when it comes to defence for his line yet Gagner's line was usually the worst defensively.

The only thing he has marginally improved upon is his points and even this year at the most important time of the season when the Oilers were in the playoff hunt for 15 seconds, Gagner's offence dried up.

I like Gagner but after 6 years of waiting, there shouldn't be as many holes in his game as there STILL are. The guy has a lot of value. He could get you a player that fills one of the many holes in the line up.

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#87 @Oilanderp
May 14 2013, 05:07PM
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@Walter Sobchak

Welcome to a continuation of loserville. 30 - 30- 29th 24th...which in a regular season, everyone pretty much would agree that the Oilers would have ended up 27th. The Oilers actually did worse then last year! Willis just laid out what is wrong with Gagner, Tyler Delow has just completed a series in which he lays out for you that Gagner is part of the problem, and your idea is to not cut him loose or did you not bother to actually read the article? You keep this team, I prefer to overpay for a better one.

Yeah man, cause that's what I want: to keep the same team and lose forever.

What I am telling you is that we have noone to take Gagner's place. Gagner was 17th in the entire league for points for a center this past season. 17th out of 30 teams.

SURELY TO GODZ WE HAVE WORSE PROBLEMS THAN THIS! Or did you not bother to actually watch the season?

This seems to be a question of where we are in the rebuild. Those who believe we are coming to the end of it seem to be all for overpaying for upgrades. I believe we are not out of the woods just yet. Trading picks and young centers is NOT what we should be doing, and I don't give a damn what you are sick of. This is, I feel, the reality of it. Trading Gags is a mistake right now. There are more pressing areas of concern, and more importantly, we shouldn't rob peter to pay paul. Get a new fourth line for free, get some D who can skate and aren't retarded. No big trades unless it's in our favour. Just try to add solid all-round nhl players looking for a new home, and do it without mortgaging the future.

mortgaging (v): Expose to future risk or constraint for the sake of immediate advantage.

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#88 Walter Sobchak
May 14 2013, 08:28PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:
Welcome to a continuation of loserville. 30 - 30- 29th 24th...which in a regular season, everyone pretty much would agree that the Oilers would have ended up 27th. The Oilers actually did worse then last year! Willis just laid out what is wrong with Gagner, Tyler Delow has just completed a series in which he lays out for you that Gagner is part of the problem, and your idea is to not cut him loose or did you not bother to actually read the article? You keep this team, I prefer to overpay for a better one.

Yeah man, cause that's what I want: to keep the same team and lose forever.

What I am telling you is that we have noone to take Gagner's place. Gagner was 17th in the entire league for points for a center this past season. 17th out of 30 teams.

SURELY TO GODZ WE HAVE WORSE PROBLEMS THAN THIS! Or did you not bother to actually watch the season?

This seems to be a question of where we are in the rebuild. Those who believe we are coming to the end of it seem to be all for overpaying for upgrades. I believe we are not out of the woods just yet. Trading picks and young centers is NOT what we should be doing, and I don't give a damn what you are sick of. This is, I feel, the reality of it. Trading Gags is a mistake right now. There are more pressing areas of concern, and more importantly, we shouldn't rob peter to pay paul. Get a new fourth line for free, get some D who can skate and aren't retarded. No big trades unless it's in our favour. Just try to add solid all-round nhl players looking for a new home, and do it without mortgaging the future.

mortgaging (v): Expose to future risk or constraint for the sake of immediate advantage.

I agree we are not out of the woods yet, I wont even argue that one bit.

I wont even argue that there are pressing needs other then Gagner.

However, we have a real shot at upgrading a position that needs to be upgraded.

While I admit Gagner is a good offensive center, and I admit he has good offensive upside that's where it ends.

His two way game and ability to be hard on the puck, to limit the cycle is killing this team.

RNH after two years is a far better center, that has to speak to people, whether they want to admit it or not.

You have to build down the middle, its as import as a top pairing defensmen.

you can't find a draft that has stronger centers in the last ten years, the Oilers have a real shot at obtaining that two way elite center again.

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#89 Walter Sobchak
May 14 2013, 08:41PM
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Citizen David wrote:

There is no way Nashville trades their pick. They will take Barkov. Just cause they aren't rebuilding doesn't mean they won't take the free center who may be the best center they ever have had. Plus they traded Erato for Forsberg so they clearly don't mind a bit of rebuilding.

By your own logic that you've used in the past however, you defeat your idea that they would trade the pick. You said you believe that Barkov will be better next season than Sam Gagner. If Nashville who needs offense can pick up a big center who will be better than Gagner, why would they pass?

I don't believe he'll be better than Gagner next season, but Nashville will not trade their pick.

There is a story provided by the Tennessee that reports Weber to a re-build, If the Predator's rebuild Weber will ask for a trade.

If Nashville does plan a re-build then I'm guessing Poile has a plan to rebuild quickly using Weber.

Nashville will require only a few pieces, historically it doesn't take much to move up in the draft, it can be any combination of players or assets, but I used my proposal as a guide and not a rule.

Barkov may not be better offensively then Gagner, but how much do you want to bet he's already as good defensively.

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#90 @Oilanderp
May 15 2013, 12:14AM
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So, you want to trade 2006 #6 ov for what? A C and then we start again waiting for 6 years? Trade for a D? But who plays C? Our 7th overall in 2013? 6 years younger than our current C who is 17th in the league at generating pts? I don't get it. Tell me what u want to do because I just don't see how it makes any sense.

Your above post shows me you succumb to the magic beans syndome: draftees are much better than 5 year vets, just get these magic beans please. Remember when Gags was a bean? Yeah, we went through that. Now he's ready to sprout. Keep your magic beans and go combine the next 12 years of draft picks for Salam Khalitdabed (best d-man in the league in 2021...unbelievable he was drafted in the 2nd round, taken in 2016). You're Barkoving up the wrong tree.

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#91 Eddie Edmonton
May 15 2013, 01:02AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

So, you want to trade 2006 #6 ov for what? A C and then we start again waiting for 6 years? Trade for a D? But who plays C? Our 7th overall in 2013? 6 years younger than our current C who is 17th in the league at generating pts? I don't get it. Tell me what u want to do because I just don't see how it makes any sense.

Your above post shows me you succumb to the magic beans syndome: draftees are much better than 5 year vets, just get these magic beans please. Remember when Gags was a bean? Yeah, we went through that. Now he's ready to sprout. Keep your magic beans and go combine the next 12 years of draft picks for Salam Khalitdabed (best d-man in the league in 2021...unbelievable he was drafted in the 2nd round, taken in 2016). You're Barkoving up the wrong tree.

Gagner must be a magic bean, one that takes 7 years to sprout.

What other beans, and/or players, take & years to sprout?

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#92 @Oilanderp
May 15 2013, 07:59AM
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Look at Derick Brassard. Columbus traded him this year. Now look at the playoffs he is having for the Rangers. He was taken 6th overall 1 year before Gagner.

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#93 Tikkanese
May 15 2013, 09:24AM
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@TKB2677

This article wasn't talking about faceoffs, it was talking about scoring chances for/against. Faceoffs are a bit overrated for that matter. If it was 1/10 of lost faceoffs in your own zone accounted for a goal within 30 seconds I would understand the hype but it is 1/40. That's only 2.5%. What does that add up to in a year for Gags? 1 goal? Not every center can be a checking center, Horcoff and the Belanger Triangle are there to take the defensive zone draws, not Nuge or Gags or Gags possible replacement.

A big skilled winger that plays big would open up the ice for Gags and add up to more scoring chances for. Or better yet move him to the wing and have a better center for him. IF we trade Gags, or move him to the wing for that matter, we need another 2C, those are not that easy to acquire, especially with all our other holes.

It may be small amounts but Gags at the least keeps improving in pretty much all areas every year. He's got a great attitude and is the Featherweight Champion of the NHL. Hopefully we can keep him, I obviously like him to.

Gags is due for a raise as well. That may hurt his trade value some with the cap going down. Between the raise, needing another 2C and not having anything resembling a 2C in the system, I'm betting he stays.

Hopefully we can add a Chris Stewart type LW for the top 6, a Bickell or two for the bottom 6, Khudobin/Greiss or a trade for a backup, a buyout/trade and replacement for Belanger and about 3-4 new D-men.

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