GAGNER PLANS ON TAKING THE NEXT STEP

Jason Gregor
July 25 2013 12:48PM

Sam Gagner could have gone to arbitration, signed a one-year deal and next summer he could have been the youngest unrestricted free agent in NHL history.

"I’m not a guy who likes to run from his problems, I like to be a part of the solution," Gagner told me after signing a three-year extension with the Oilers less than an hour before the start of his arbitration hearing.

Gagner isn't a guy who just says the right things, he truly wants to live up to what he says. I wouldn't say I know Gagner well, but over the past six seasons I've gotten a better understanding of who he is as a man, not just a player. During interviews or just off the record candid conversations I've never had my "BS meter"go off when we spoke.

The 6th selection in the 2007 NHL draft is well aware of his strengths and shortcomings on the ice. He's determined to continue improving, and it will be interesting to see how his overall game develops over the next few seasons.

Gagner joined me on my radio show to discuss his new contract, why he choose to re-sign, what he wants to improve in his game and how he plans on improving his faceoffs. 

Jason Gregor:  Was this year’s agreement more last second than last year?

Sam Gagner: No, this year we actually got it done earlier. Last year. I was actually in the room with the arbitrator. So it was nice to get this one done. We were able to talk about an hour before the hearing and throw out some ideas and we were able to come to an agreement which I’m really happy about.

Gregor: A lot of people say that teams and players don’t want to go through arbitration because a team doesn’t want to have to point out the weaknesses of a player. The reality is when you get as close as you have, you’re able to read their case because they have to submit it to you and your camp 48 hours in advance, so you know how they feel. Was reading their brief difficult?

Gagner: We exchanged briefs on Saturday and I didn’t really go into depths on what they said; I didn’t read all of it. But I kind of know the criticisms that are there. I know what I need to work on, so it’s not that big of a deal.

When you play in a market like Edmonton those criticisms get brought to light anyway, so it’s not something that is new to me. I know what I need to work on and there are definitely no hard feelings when you get that far. I’m just happy that we got something done and we’re moving on and just focussing on hockey.

Gregor: What would you say are the areas that you need to work on most?

Gagner: I think that there are a lot of areas. I’m just continually working to improve my overall game. I feel like I have another level offensively I can get to. Defensively as well I felt like I made some big strides playing on the penalty kill last year and getting a chance to play in some defence situations right in games.  I want to continue to improve upon that and I still feel like there is another level to get to there and obviously faceoffs are a big one for me.

I’ve been thinking about different ideas to on how to improve upon that and working on my strength. I feel like I’m going to be ready to take a step forward there and those are all things that I’m continually working on. I’m excited about the challenges of getting to camp and having a great year.

Gregor: Outside of getting stronger, is it technique, is it learning how to cheat better, what are the things that you work on?

Gagner: I think that that’s part of it. There are different things tactically that you can do. When you look at the playoffs they were starting to kick guys out when they got their skates in. I’ve had trouble with guys who do that in the past so it will be nice if they continue to do that through the year.

There are different things that I can do tactically. I think that some guys, they’ll do different things in the neutral zone on purpose so that in the ‘O’ zone and in the ‘D’ zone they can get a better advantage to win the faceoff.

So I’ve been thinking about different things, talking to some different people about it. I think strength, and I feel like with the hand eye and with my hands I should be able to be better at it than I am. So it’s something that I’m going to focus on and try to improve that but at the end of the day I think if I spend too much time focussing on faceoffs and not rounding out the other areas of my game, it’s not really beneficially for me. But I realize that I have to get better at it and it’s something that I’m continuing to work on and along with a lot of other areas of my game, so I’m excited about that challenge.

LEADERSHIP....

Gregor:  For the past two months Craig MacTavish spoke glowingly about your leadership and you’re the type of guy who cares, the guy who wants to be competitive every night and they want more of those guys around. Do you plan on being more of a verbal leader this year and encourage your teammates to play with that same competitive level of desire?

Gagner: I feel like I’ve taken steps there. I felt like I was more vocal last year than I’ve ever been, but I’ve always been the kind of guy that likes to lead by example and in your work habits. I feel like coming to the rink every day, being a professional, working hard on and off of the ice, doing the right things to make sure that you’re ready for games. And then ultimately it’s about making sure that you’re competing in games and you’re doing the right things, you have the right habits and games and that’s what guys look at.

I mean it’s hard to be vocal if you’re not doing those things first. That’s my main focus, I need to make sure that I come into camp ready and that I’m an example for other guys and hopefully we can get off to a good start and we can turn this thing around, start winning some guys and make the playoffs and go from there.

Gregor: Last season was your most productive season offensively.  What did you do different to be more productive?

Gagner: I felt like I was grittier, I got to the net a little more. I think that that was a big part of it. I find that you tend to get bounces and you tend to get a little more luck if you’re around the net and you’re trying to create chances.

I felt like that was the case last year and just getting confidence throughout the year from that and I like to play with a little more of an edge and I feel like I’m more affective when I’m doing that. So I think that it’s something that I’m going to continue to focus on. The big thing in the summer is making sure that you can be healthy through an 82-game season by treating your body the right way and by doing that you allow yourself to play the way you want to play. That’s my focus this summer, and I’m excited to see how it goes coming into camp.

Gregor: Have you spoken to Dallas Eakins, what type of differences do you expect in how your team will approach the game this year, compared last year?

Gagner: I’ve spoken to him a couple of times and I’m excited about it. To me he seems like a guy who holds guys accountable and makes sure that they’re playing the right way on both sides of the puck. That’s how you win games in this league and at the end of the day, that’s all you want to do.

I think you have to be excited about a guy has the passion he does for the game. The things that he’s said so far, they have to make you excited. I think for my perspective just getting ready and focussing on making sure that my fitness is where it needs to be and making sure that I’m ready to go come September and I’m looking forward to it.

Gregor: You don’t have a captain right now. How much will it impact the locker room who is chosen as the next captain?

Gagner: It obviously does make a difference. Horc was such a great captain just because of the amount of respect we had for him as a player. You see the amount of work that he puts in off the ice and you see the way that he carries himself and how mature he is and I think that that’s important for players to follow. I think that you see a guy like that and he holds the captaincy, I know for myself that just growing up in the league playing with him, learning from him, that I wouldn’t be the player that I am today without just seeing the way that he handles himself day in and day out and the professional that he is.

I think regardless of what happens in that position he has to continue to try to be like that every day and I know that he rubbed off a lot on our young core and I know that it’s important for us going forward to have those types of habits as a team.

ARBITRATION COMPARABLES....

Gregor: Kris Versteeg was one of the players your camp used as a comparable for your arbitration brief. When your own camp is saying ‘hey Sam we compare you to this guy’s contract and his production,’ how is going through that and finding who were compared to you?

Gagner: It’s pretty cool. The NHLPA does a lot of work; I know that they had their interns there this weekend doing work on the case. I know that it kind of ruins their weekend a little bit but it’s obviously a process that you don’t want to go through as a player but at the end of the day it got us to the point where there’s deadline and we had to make a deal. I think that helps to speed up the process a little bit and I’m just happy that it got done so that’s the main thing. I’m happy that we didn’t have to go through the process, but it’s nice to see around the league what your comparables are and kind of go from there. So it’s we’re good moving forward.

Gregor: When they bring out a comparable to you and you read it, do you think ‘I’m comparable to him’ or do you say inside, ‘I think I’m a better player than him’?

Gagner: Well there are different guys that bring different things. A lot of arbitration is about numbers and what can be statistically analysed. There are different guys that bring different things to the game and it’s hard to say if you feel like you’re comparable for different things. I had a chance to look at my brief a little bit more thoroughly than the Oilers brief, which is probably better for my confidence, but it’s an interesting process, and it’s one that I’m happy I don’t have to go through again.

Gregor: Other than Versteeg, what other players did your side use as comparables?

Gagner: I’m trying to think. There were guys like [David] Krejci, and [Jakub] Voracek and some other guys but you try to compare yourself to those guys in terms of statistics wise and there’s things that I have that they don’t, and they have that I don’t.

You look at Krejci, he’s won a Stanley Cup and he’s in the finals last year and he’s had some big performances in the playoffs so you look at that and you try to compare yourself. I’m hoping that at some point I can get the chance to live up to that and I’m excited for the team that we have because we have so much potential. It’s important for us to realize it pretty soon. We want a chance at playoffs and you want a chance to show that you can be a playoff performer. I know that I speak for a lot of guys in the room that way so that’s an exciting challenge for us and something that you want to live up to.

Gregor: There was a lot of talk that you had the ability to become be the youngest UFA in NHL history. Even after this new contract you will only be 26 turning 27 and able to test the free agent market. Was going to UFA this summer a serious consideration or did this three-year pact illustrate how much you wanted to play in Edmonton?

Gagner: Yeah, I think from day one of negotiations I felt like this was something that I wanted to get done in Edmonton. I’ve been here through a lot of the tough times and I’m not a guy who likes to run from his problems, I like to be a part of the solution. I feel like there’s a great opportunity for me to do that here and I feel like it’s a great fit for me.

I’ve become pretty close with a lot of guys in that room and with our staff and everyone that’s worked there. I’m excited about a chance to bring this team back to the playoffs and hopefully win a Stanley Cup; I mean that’s the end goal. I felt pretty strongly about the fact that Edmonton is going in the right direction, and I’ve been there for a long time and I wanted to be there when things went well. I’m excited for that and I want to continue to work forward here.

Gregor: You’re probably the most hotly debated Edmonton Oiler. There are a lot of fans who feel ‘Sam is young, he’s got a lot of potential to be a 70-point guy’ and there are those who think, ‘he’ll never be more than a 50 point guy.’ Do you believe you are developing at the right pace, and how do you take your game to that next level and become a consistent 65-70 point player?

Gagner: Well, I think that when you’re developing in front of people’s eyes it’s pretty easy to start to see holes in someone. I’ve been around in Edmonton since I was 18 and I feel like I’ve learned a lot in that time and I still have a lot to learn. I’m only 23 and I feel like there is a different level for me to get to. I started to scratch the surface last year, but I just want to continue to become a better professional, a better player and regardless of what’s been said, I put the most pressure on myself than anyone ever could.

I still feel like last year was just me scratching the surface and that I have a lot more to give and when times are tough and we’re fighting for a playoff spot or fighting to get on to the next round of the playoffs I feel that I’ve been through a lot so far in the league and that I’ve learned a lot from those experiences and that I’m ready for those challenges. I’m excited that I get a chance to do that in Edmonton. I’m looking forward to proving some people wrong, but also everyone that supported me I think I’m ready to take that next step and I’m looking forward to that as well.

Gregor: What have you done for fun this summer outside of train?

Gagner: I’ve been up at my cottage a lot. I train up there as well but it’s just a good place to get away. I get out on the boat and it’s awesome up there just with the views and being on the lake. I was at Tom Gilbert’s wedding a couple of weekends ago, that was a good time. Other than that I’ve just kind of been hanging out. So it’s been a pretty good summer.

I’m just glad that the contract stuff is done and that I can just focus on training.  I think that I have another couple of trips coming up here. I’m going to Halifax to train next week and perhaps LA right after that. It’s been a pretty good summer.

Gregor: Did you catch the garter at Gilbert’s wedding?

Gagner: I did not. No. (laughs)

Gregor: As a young guy who is in a relationship did you at least try to catch the garter?

Gagner: No. [laughs)

Gregor: Smart.

Gagner: That’s not my place.

Gregor: I’ve been to weddings where guy don't want to touch it, it’s almost like the Stanley Cup before you win it.

Gagner: I was talking to Ladi [Ladislav Smid] when it was happening so I just tried to avoid the whole thing. (laughs)

PARTING SHOTS

  • I'm sure some will freak out about his camp using Krejci as a comparison, but keep in mind his camp would have asked for $5.5 million, and playoff stats aren't used since players are only paid for regular season production. It would be interesting to see which numbers they used when comparing Gagner to Versteeg, Voracek and Krejci.
     
  • The Urban Dictionary has some interesting and funny terms. I'm sure Craig MacTavish would chuckle at this, but he'd also warn all the young kids to never "Craig MacTavish". 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 shifty203
July 25 2013, 01:42PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I plan on sleeping with Mila Kunis. That doesn't mean it is going to happen.

The difference is that he's actually trying, not sitting at home on his computer.

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#2 Ducey
July 25 2013, 02:02PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I plan on sleeping with Mila Kunis. That doesn't mean it is going to happen.

Please understand that the odds of Sam getting better at faceoffs and defense are somewhat higher than your chances at MacTavishing Mila.

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#3 toprightcorner
July 25 2013, 02:43PM
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So can we tell DSF to go MacT himself??

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#4 Marshall Law
July 25 2013, 01:22PM
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The game has become too dangerous to "Craig MacTavish". Helmets are a must these days...

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#5 DSF
July 25 2013, 02:58PM
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djc wrote:

Where is that guy who posted about how he was in amazing shape and way taller than Gagner? I bet he would be able to sleep with Mila Kunis.

I bet DSF could do it too, but he would probably ask her to wear a Grandlund jersey first.

Have you ever seen Mila Kunis with no makeup?

I wouldn't let her wear my Patrick Sharp jersey.

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#6 HugThePost
July 25 2013, 02:06PM
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I don't get the posters here who are so down on Gagner. Sure he's got his warts, but there is no perfect hockey player. He'll be fine. He's signed at a good price, he actually wants to be here and he seems like his head is in the right place, and he's only 23.

For all of those who keep braying for a big centre who can take face-offs, maybe some of you don't remember the last one of those we drafted with a similar draft pedigree:

Jason Arnott, drafted #7 overall.

Big. Takes face-offs. Was supposed to be our stud centre for decades.

Instead, the guy chose the worst mentor anyone could have chosen (I'm not going to name names, but let's just refer to that mentor as the worst captain in Oiler history). He did not take criticism well and overall evolved into a spoiled entitled man-child who at the end of his oiler days plainly had no problem telling media he "wasn't into it" after yet another apathetic effort. Who could forget those big loping circles he skated on his "back-check"??

My point is: we could be stuck with lots lots worse than Sam; let's give the guy a break---he isn't even in his prime years yet.

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#7 The Heist
July 25 2013, 02:22PM
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Loved this interview, you get the sense he's telling the truth when he says he was just scratching the surface offensively. I believe this kid has another gear to get to, and that he will hit it along with the other kids and we will take a step forward this year. The length of that step is still to be determined, largely on whether our defence by committee pans out and dubnyk continues to trend upwards.

I am optimistic. And I almost feel for sure we won't be any worse. I hope hahahh

Cheerin for ya 89

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#8 Curcro
July 25 2013, 03:52PM
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Doing the Craig MacTavish causes you to not have a proper sleep for 18 years...

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#9 DSF
July 25 2013, 05:46PM
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Rocket wrote:

Hey man if you're passing on her, hook a brother up.

She's UFA :)

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#10 bazmagoo
July 25 2013, 11:34PM
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Sammy's a legitimate player there's no doubt about it. I'm still hesitant to think he's good fit behind RNH.

It's likely Sam is a gamer though, will be very interested to see how Gags plays if the Oilers make the playoffs (this year or next).

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#11 Archaeologuy
July 25 2013, 01:36PM
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*Swoon*

Love Gagner, he might be my Star again this year.

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#12 YFC Prez
July 25 2013, 03:31PM
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@The Heist

If contract is the same. Gagner without question, he is the better option

EDIT Grabbo is just coming out of his prime, Gagner hasn't even entered his yet and they are similar offensively. Gagner is the better leader and obviously better personality.

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#13 Bucknuck
July 25 2013, 05:54PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

*Swoon*

Love Gagner, he might be my Star again this year.

I'm with you, Arch.

Happy to see him prove his worth while still in an Oilers uniform.

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#14 nuge2nail
July 26 2013, 01:06AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

If Gagner was 3 inches taller- 90% of these comments would be completely different.

If the Oilers were a good team - 90% of these comments would be different.

Hopefully this year the Oilers get Into the playoffs and Gagner has a big postseason.

Than we can finally talk about something else.

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#15 K_Mart
July 26 2013, 07:44AM
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Spydyr wrote:

He may be perfect for your 2C.My 2c would be a two way player who can knock people off the puck, compete with the big strong centres in the new division.He would be a player that no one likes to play against someone that chips in on offence and knows how to play defence.He would be over 50% on draws and win more one on one battles then he loses.A player who creates opportunities.

He would not have the nickname snowpants.

So would mine, but that's easier said than done. There are only a handful of guys that can do what you're demanding.

As for taking Grabbo over Gags.... There are obvious reasons why this would be bad: He's six years older than Gags. Do you really want to lose the 23-29yrs ? I don't. Grabbo will likely only get worse and Gags will likely get better.

Grabbo whines when he's put on the 3rd and 4th lines, Gagner does whatever the coach asks in order to win and doesn't make a peep about his icetime.

There's no question Grabbo is better than Gags right now, but he won't be for long, and we don't need anyone contributing to a circus in the dressing room.

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#16 Doomoil
July 25 2013, 01:12PM
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mr common sense wrote:

He is a nice kid and hard worker no doubt but makes Edmonton's depth at C very weak in the new division. Im surprised MacT is comfortable with the set up

Gagner doesn't make anyone's depth weak.

The oilers have poor center depth because they don't have enough nhl players at center AFTER Gagner.

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#17 LinkfromHyrule
July 25 2013, 01:13PM
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listen to the guy, I can't help but notice the level of maturity and drive in this kid. He's only 23, yet he speaks like someone much older.

Not only that, the kid is: a) committed to improving his overall game b) still on the upswing of his career c) Loves playing in Edmonton and wants to win in Edmonton.... HELLO.

All you gagner haters seem to forget that "big skilled centers who can win faceoffs" don't grow on trees. A player like gagner doesn't either. I'm glad the kid is here to play

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#18 Mikey
July 25 2013, 02:49PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Oh really, he is on the ice right now? How do you know that?

You are such a Homer

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#19 messyEH!
July 25 2013, 02:50PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Oh really, he is on the ice right now? How do you know that?

He's coming to Halifax to train with Crosby. Very few work as hard as Crosby and Gary Roberts.

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#20 Numenius
July 25 2013, 03:31PM
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Nice interview with Sam, JG.

I think he still does have another gear. Hopefully it comes out this year.

About faceoffs, I wonder if a solution might be playing a line of Hall-Gags-Yak and letting Hall take the most important faceoffs with Gags playing the C position after the FO is over. Hall had a really nice FO% last year.

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#21 bazmagoo
July 26 2013, 12:57AM
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@Zarny

"You can't get around that reality. I don't think you can't win the SC with the smallest 1-2 C in the league; especially if your W are also on the low end."

Agree entirely. Now if Hall moved to center and was good at it, and Sammy could move to the wing and be good at it. That would be a better story line also, in my opinion.

I have a feeling Gagner will prove the naysayers wrong though.

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#22 YFC Prez
July 26 2013, 06:05AM
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@bazmagoo

"I have a feeling Gagner will prove the naysayers wrong though."

The naysayers will never drop it no matter how wrong Gagner proves them to be.

Last year Gagner was the second best oiler on the team behind Hall IMO. He made positive strides everywhere in his game. He is a established #2 C, a good player who has nothing but upside ahead of him.

Gagner is a fit, he is perfect for our #2 center. He just signed a very reasonable contract and he wants to stay in Edmonton.

Is 2 inches and 15 pounds really worth sending a player of Gagner's caliber away. I say not even close.

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#23 Lochenzo
July 26 2013, 08:07AM
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I remember a lot of Oiler fans ripping Gretzky. He's not a good skater and he doesn't hit and he whines too much. I'd say Gretzky had a pretty good career, don't you think?

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#24 The Soup Fascist
July 26 2013, 08:22AM
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"There's no question Grabbo is better than Gags right now, but he won't be for long, and we don't need anyone contributing to a circus in the dressing room"

@ K_Mart I know you are supporting Gagner but I am missing something? How can you say there is "no question Grabbo is better than Gags right now"?

I have lots of questions.

Grabovski 2013 : 48 GP 9G 7A 16P -10

Gagner 2013 : 48 GP 14G 24A 38P -6

I am going to go out on a limb and say Gagner may have outperformed Grabovski last year. Not close.

The knock on Gagner is his size. He is bigger than Grabovski.

Gagner is 5.5 years younger than Grabovski.

So what is your justification or metrics that show Grabbo is clearly better?

Again, I realize K_Mart, you are saying Gagner's intangibles make him your choice. I am saying his playing makes him a better player - right now. I have no idea what people see in Grabovski. None.

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#25 mike
July 25 2013, 12:55PM
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Good read.

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#26 mr common sense
July 25 2013, 12:58PM
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He is a nice kid and hard worker no doubt but makes Edmonton's depth at C very weak in the new division. Im surprised MacT is comfortable with the set up

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#27 Rocket
July 25 2013, 01:13PM
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Urban Dictionary = Hilarious!

It will be interesting to see how Gagner thinks he can improve under Eakins this coming season. I hope Gagner will improve but I think he's shown us all what kind of player he already is.

Imagine if he somehow got injured in training camp & wasn't ready for the season? That would be a disaster with no centres to fill in.

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#28 LinkfromHyrule
July 25 2013, 01:17PM
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Rocket wrote:

Urban Dictionary = Hilarious!

It will be interesting to see how Gagner thinks he can improve under Eakins this coming season. I hope Gagner will improve but I think he's shown us all what kind of player he already is.

Imagine if he somehow got injured in training camp & wasn't ready for the season? That would be a disaster with no centres to fill in.

dude that would be the stuff of nightmares. We would be the 2013 Flames 2.0, no RNH, no Gagner would mean Arcobello, Miller, Gordon, Lander? That's downright scary

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#29 Spydyr
July 25 2013, 01:23PM
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I plan on sleeping with Mila Kunis. That doesn't mean it is going to happen.

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#30 Lofty
July 25 2013, 01:39PM
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LinkfromHyrule wrote:

dude that would be the stuff of nightmares. We would be the 2013 Flames 2.0, no RNH, no Gagner would mean Arcobello, Miller, Gordon, Lander? That's downright scary

I think with Hall, Eberle and Yakupov the oilers strength will be on the wings for the next 5 to 10 years. No RNH or Gagner would be bad but atleast there's elite players on the wings which the flames do not have.

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#31 Spydyr
July 25 2013, 01:45PM
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shifty203 wrote:

The difference is that he's actually trying, not sitting at home on his computer.

Oh really, he is on the ice right now? How do you know that?

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#32 WhattaMike
July 25 2013, 02:07PM
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Whether or not...RNH or Gagner... are or get hurt/injured...the oilers do have excellent wingers for speed/skill/offence... How many teams in this league can boast talent of 5 top wingers on the first 3 lines...such as Hall, Ebs, Yakupov, Perron and Hemsky???

Gagner is a great kid with maturity, spunk, work ethics and yes...very good skill. I think that with mixing Hall/Ebs and Perron/Yak...this may be Gagner's best year yet upcoming.

If there is to be a long term injury with either Gagner or RNH...I can believe that MacT will get a deal done for better centre depth.

I still think that MacT is trying to trade one of or both Hemsky and N. Schultz to free up capspace and that one of Steckel and/or Zack Smith are being looked at/discussed...

But I am cheering for Gagner and the Oilers anyways...to make THE bold move this year...MAKING THE PLAYOFFS!!!!

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#33 Truth
July 25 2013, 02:16PM
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shifty203 wrote:

The difference is that he's actually trying, not sitting at home on his computer.

As do I. I have been constantly tweeting at her parody Twitter account and still nothing.

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#34 djc
July 25 2013, 02:25PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I plan on sleeping with Mila Kunis. That doesn't mean it is going to happen.

Where is that guy who posted about how he was in amazing shape and way taller than Gagner? I bet he would be able to sleep with Mila Kunis.

I bet DSF could do it too, but he would probably ask her to wear a Grandlund jersey first.

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#35 toprightcorner
July 25 2013, 02:29PM
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Rocket wrote:

Urban Dictionary = Hilarious!

It will be interesting to see how Gagner thinks he can improve under Eakins this coming season. I hope Gagner will improve but I think he's shown us all what kind of player he already is.

Imagine if he somehow got injured in training camp & wasn't ready for the season? That would be a disaster with no centres to fill in.

I hope you realize that if that happens you will be one of the most disliked guys around hear!!! I hope for your sake that he stays healthy

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#36 Butters
July 25 2013, 02:29PM
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That urban dictionary was hilarious. JG you've got to ask MacTavish about that the next time you interview him.

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#37 Romulus' Apotheosis
July 25 2013, 02:40PM
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Good kid.

FWIW I way less concerned about his faceoffs then his overall defensive play.

The 2 line should be a soft parade line next year and it will be very interesting to see how the line shapes up and handles itself through the year.

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#38 oldhippy
July 25 2013, 02:43PM
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@Spydyr

Yeah, but Gagner has a MUCH!!!!!! better chance of becoming Mark Messier than you have with a Mila Kunis impersonator. LOL

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#39 DSF
July 25 2013, 03:01PM
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shifty203 wrote:

The difference is that he's actually trying, not sitting at home on his computer.

No. He's golfing:

Sam Gagner ‏@89SGagner 28m The Lake Joe Club. #Muskoka pic.twitter.com/sWV7G5hLfr

I think that's what off season training means to the Oilers since the golf season always starts in April. :)

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#40 The Heist
July 25 2013, 03:28PM
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Ok here's a question. Who would you rather have on the oilers at 2c for a 3 year contract. (or 1c temporarily cause nuge)

Grabovski or gagner?

Their PPG has been relatively close, except for maybe 2010-11, grabo had the edge with .10 ppg more.

Size is similar. Age is not. Neither is personality. Or atleast that's my opinion.

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#41 Oiler Al
July 25 2013, 03:29PM
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Gagner is smart in wanting to develop and maintain all aspects of his game. Everyone puts a lot of focus on his face off ability, yes it needs work, but his f/o numbers are not that different to Malkins. If it was all face off, then Oilers would have resigned Smithson and let Gagner go.

He needs to play tougher and also get rid of that pee wee hockey stick he uses.. great for stick handling, but not so good for defensive work, when you cant reach the other guys stick.

He should play at 5/10 and 205 lbs... Theres hundered of guys in the league at his size, he just needs to get tougher mentally and put on a few more pounds of muscle.

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#42 Romulus' Apotheosis
July 25 2013, 03:33PM
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The Heist wrote:

Ok here's a question. Who would you rather have on the oilers at 2c for a 3 year contract. (or 1c temporarily cause nuge)

Grabovski or gagner?

Their PPG has been relatively close, except for maybe 2010-11, grabo had the edge with .10 ppg more.

Size is similar. Age is not. Neither is personality. Or atleast that's my opinion.

I go with Gagner because of his age. He's heading into his cherry years.

That said, Grabo is a very good player too. I don't think the choice is terribly obvious and I'd allow people a good helping of personal taste in splitting the atom here.

There are two things that had me seriously considering Grabo:

1) he's part of some deal with the Leafs involving Gagner + and Gardiner +

2) the fact that he was bought out basically means you can sign him for nothing, maybe under market value and trade Gagner to fill another need.

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#43 oscar
July 25 2013, 03:35PM
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Gagner is a frustrating player. Slow, small, gets pushed off the puck and somehow makes 4.8 mil even though he hasnt registered 50 points once. The Oil will announce they are ready to win and make the playoffs when they trade Gagner.

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#44 toprightcorner
July 25 2013, 03:35PM
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The Heist wrote:

Ok here's a question. Who would you rather have on the oilers at 2c for a 3 year contract. (or 1c temporarily cause nuge)

Grabovski or gagner?

Their PPG has been relatively close, except for maybe 2010-11, grabo had the edge with .10 ppg more.

Size is similar. Age is not. Neither is personality. Or atleast that's my opinion.

Gagner hands down!! Character, heart, effort and offensive upside are all advantages that Gagner have over Grabovski.

Plus I would always go with the player you have experience with versus one you don't

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#45 YFC Prez
July 25 2013, 03:36PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

I agree Grabbo is a very good player. I wonder why he is still available. I still would prefer Gagner though, still all that potential

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#46 The Heist
July 25 2013, 03:39PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Also yakman, I totally agree. There's a case to be made both ways I feel. But the prime age factor is undeniable, and if last season was any hint of an indication as to future career success, you'd almost be forced to take gagner imo.

And off paper, the kid not only loves it here, he really wants to see his hard work come to fruition with the other kids in Edmonton. That's a bigger deal than most people realize I feel.

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#47 Romulus' Apotheosis
July 25 2013, 03:40PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

I agree Grabbo is a very good player. I wonder why he is still available. I still would prefer Gagner though, still all that potential

Apparently 3 teams (probably caps, panthers and flames) are all very close to nabbing him.

I imagine he saw the market was big enough he didn't need to rush into anything.

That and... probably a lot of teams were waiting to see how free agency would shake out, esp. with their own rfas.

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#48 Walter Sobchak
July 25 2013, 03:55PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Good kid.

FWIW I way less concerned about his faceoffs then his overall defensive play.

The 2 line should be a soft parade line next year and it will be very interesting to see how the line shapes up and handles itself through the year.

Agreed with this.

I'm going to go against what I think, maybe Gagner turns the corner defensively this year, I think Peron will be a welcome addition to the second lines defensive play, we all know Yakupov will try his best to be responsible.

Maybe instead of one player trying to play defense the collective group will get it done together?

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#49 Larry
July 25 2013, 04:01PM
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I Mac T'd a babe on the weekend and I've been itchy ever since

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#50 nate
July 25 2013, 04:26PM
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DSF wrote:

No. He's golfing:

Sam Gagner ‏@89SGagner 28m The Lake Joe Club. #Muskoka pic.twitter.com/sWV7G5hLfr

I think that's what off season training means to the Oilers since the golf season always starts in April. :)

you must have a very fulfilling life.

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