Trading Sam Gagner to the Los Angeles Kings Would Likely be a Mistake

Jonathan Willis
February 05 2014 09:33PM

Everybody and their dog seems to want the Edmonton Oilers to move Sam Gagner for whatever the team can get and the sooner the better. That’s why comments by Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Los Angeles Kings had serious interest in Gagner have attracted significant attention in Edmonton.

Clifford & Nolan

Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now was asked on Wednesday’s show about the Gagner rumours. He said the return was “going to be a guy like a [Kyle] Clifford or a [Jordan] Nolan or a [Dwight] King,” and that “there’s going to be a financial component involved” in this scenario, hinting that the Oilers would be retaining salary in the deal.

Let’s look at those players. Among Kings forwards with more than 20 games played, Clifford ranks 12th in even-strength ice-time per game and Nolan ranks 13th. Neither of them kills penalties. Basically, they’re both big, young fourth-liners who contribute almost nothing beyond a physical game. The Oilers have some experience grabbing fourth-liner off high-end teams – guys like Colin Fraser and Ben Eager. Those guys looked great in Chicago, and looked terrible in Edmonton.

Would Clifford or Nolan be an upgrade on, say, Jesse Joensuu? Absolutely. Are they going to play top-nine minutes? Probably not. Nolan couldn’t score in the AHL, and Clifford had 28 points in the OHL in his draft year. They’re fourth-line guys.

If Luke Gazdic and Jesse Joensuu and Teemu Hartikainen and Lennart Petrell and Ben Eager and all the rest of the big forwards the Oilers have run through their fourth line show anything, it’s that adding a big, physical guy to the bottom of the roster doesn’t do anything to fix the problems in the top-six. So trading a guy like Gagner, who has problems but is a proven NHL scorer, for a younger version of Ben Eager or a better version of Luke Gazdic is kind of a stupid thing to do.

Dwight King

Dwight King is a better player, but he’s also a guy who had 17 points in 28 AHL games last year and had 33 in 79 AHL games two seasons ago. He has 23 points this season, playing primarily with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. He’s a big (6’4”, 230 pounds), young (he turns 25 this summer) left wing that can play top-nine minutes and kill penalties and add a physical presence. If the Oilers are moving Gagner for a forward, that’s the guy who the Kings might be willing to move and who is in the same value-range.

Now, the problems. If Gagner goes, that means Edmonton is relying on a Mark Arcobello or Anton Lander to play centre on the second line. As a guy who likes both players, I’d enjoy watching that but as an NHL G.M. I wouldn’t be at all comfortable with it. Maybe Gagner needs to be replaced anyway, but moving him for King means that Edmonton now has a second-line centre slot to fill. Is it easier to add a guy like King in free agency, or a guy like Gagner? If the Oilers need a big guy who can be plugged in on the second line, they can sign a Nikolai Kulemin or David Moss in the summer. There simply aren't second-line centres available, unless they can somehow talk Paul Stastny into moving to Edmonton. 

The second problem is salary. Sam Gagner has this season and two more with a $4.8 million cap hit. King has this season and one more at $750,000. So Edmonton would need to take another contract back, and probably need to eat half of Gagner’s contract. Yes, the salary cap is going up but this is also an Oilers team that needs to add significantly on defence and on the third line; spending $2.4 million for the next two seasons so that L.A. can have a cheap Gagner seems misguided.

I like King a lot, and he’s a nice fit for Edmonton. He’s just not a nice enough fit to justify dumping Gagner and retain half his salary in the process. Toss Jake Muzzin or Tyler Toffoli in, and there might be something to think about – but it’s not likely that the Kings are going to do that. 

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Tuningout
February 05 2014, 09:44PM
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Great voice of reason ! Sometimes I wonder which management "team" shows up. The one that traded for Perron. Or the one that claimed McIntyre. I don't mind seeing Sam go. But only for an upgrade or two A level young players that could be upgrades. Too much to ask ?

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#2 A-Mc
February 05 2014, 09:46PM
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Wow if this went down as a king for gagner deal, I think we would be getting fleeced. Even if the Oilers don't retain any salary.

There is a big gap between a near 50 pt 2nd line center and a 3rd line winger that is maybe 30 pt guy.. even if he is big.

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#3 Young Oil
February 05 2014, 09:53PM
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Good article JW, retaining half of Gagner's salary for two years would be insane, unless the return was very substantial, which is very unlikely considering the way he has played this year.

That being said, in my opinion trading Gagner would almost be addition by subtraction the way he is playing right now. If any team is willing to take that whole contract, and not send a poor contract back the other way, that's a deal worth taking. Even if it's a Clifford type coming back. Obviously a cap team like LA can't do this, so I agree that they are not the ideal trading partner.

Then, the $4.8M could potentially be put towards a center that can play at each end of the rink, like Stastny.

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#4 horndog77
February 05 2014, 09:59PM
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Hasn't toffoli been playing on the first line for a few? Perhaps they are show casing him for a trade. I would hope Edmonton would not retain salary just to make a trade. Unless LA is throwing in there 1st rounder? Usually buying teams give up more for players for playoff runs.

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#5 G-Unit
February 05 2014, 10:00PM
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I couldn't agree more. The clambering to trade guys that aren't producing is getting old. Hemsky must go? Gagner must be traded? You should only trade to improve the club, not out of desperation to be bold. I see more bad trades coming just to be seen as bold. Don't worry MacT will use big words and these bad moves will be his alone. 1990 where have you gone?

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#6 Al Low
February 05 2014, 10:01PM
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Great points but this team is terrible with Gagner as a 2nd line centre. If we get Sam Reinhart in the draft, we've got the 2nd line centre covered for years to come. Obviously, Ekblad would be ideal but if somebody else wins the lottery draft, we still get a nice consolation prize in Reinhart. Either way, whatever is needed based on the draft will be have to be addressed with an Eberle deal in the offseason.

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#7 Tayranchula
February 05 2014, 10:05PM
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I agree with not getting rid of Gagner to LA. There isnt enough value coming back unless Muzzin or Tofolie are mixed in. I do like that Tofolie though.

Gagner should get dealth to an East coast team. I could see Detroit benefitting from this player. Im not sure about any other teams salary cap but would Jurco+ a pick or another prospect get it done for Gagner. Or Jurco/Weise? Weise isnt playing well at all in Detriot maybe a change in scenery could help him out. He would replace Gagner on the second line center and he has showed scoring in the past with terrible teams in Florida. I would take Jurco regardless in the deal.

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#8 the tikk
February 05 2014, 10:07PM
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Just zero idea why on earth they would rush to move Gagner now, when:

- They need a helpful roster player back, which a contender would be less likely to give up

- The cap is going up in the offseason and teams will have way more flexibility for moving contracts

- His play may well improve over the last third of the season, increasing his value on the summer market

So really - why would they feel they need to make this move now?

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#9 james_dean
February 05 2014, 10:07PM
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DONT DO IT MAC!

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#10 The Soup Fascist
February 05 2014, 10:08PM
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I like these three guys but I agree, I am not sure one of these guys for Gagner at half his salary makes this team any stronger.

What is the rush? See if Gagner continues his recovery from the injury, increasing his trade value. If the Oil are bound and determined to trade him - wait until the draft, unless there is a substantially better offer on the table. Contending teams will be more likely to consider moving impact guys after the playoffs as part of a package. They won't now.

Don't move Gagner for the sake of moving him. The Oil need a good sized two way 2C or top pairing defenseman. Rather than squandering Gagner for a 3 or 4 line coke machine winger, package him up in the offseason - maybe with your 2014 pick and / or prospect - to gain something you REALLY need.

MacT you and the Oil are in a hole. Some free advice ...... STOP DIGGING!

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#11 David S
February 05 2014, 10:08PM
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Thank god internet pundits don't make actual NHL deals. Surely MacT isn't dumb enough to think either of Arco or Lander can really replace Gagner.

Think about it. Gagner's season was a writeoff the moment he took Kassian's stick to the face. So the only true point of reference you have for his value is last season, where 38/48 makes him an effective 65 point scorer. In other words, a legit 2LC. Yeah his D needs work, but when a guy is playing that far up the roster points count for alot. Neither Arco or Lander can step to that. MacT knows it too.

If Gagner gets traded, it'll be over the summer when we'll be able to get a realistic return for the player Gagner is, not the player you see right now.

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#13 Kodiak
February 05 2014, 10:15PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Wow if this went down as a king for gagner deal, I think we would be getting fleeced. Even if the Oilers don't retain any salary.

There is a big gap between a near 50 pt 2nd line center and a 3rd line winger that is maybe 30 pt guy.. even if he is big.

Gagner and King have the same number of points this year. Where is this gap you speak of? We'd be saving some cap room and getting a physical player with size. King also hasn't been brought up in the Oilers organization so probably knows how to play in his own zone.

Addition by subtraction IMO. If the choice was Arco and King in the lineup or Gagner in the lineup I think it's a no brainer. See ya Gags.

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#14 G-Unit
February 05 2014, 10:15PM
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Am I the only person that was underwhelmed by Ekblad at the world juniors? He seemed to be lost on the ice against the better teams, trying to do too much. I think he looks good in a weak draft year and has been noticed since he was allowed to play underage in the OHL. Is it possible that he is a player that peaked ahead of his age group and they are quickly catching up? I would rather trade the pick for a decent number 2 d man.

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#15 David S
February 05 2014, 10:17PM
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Al Low wrote:

Great points but this team is terrible with Gagner as a 2nd line centre. If we get Sam Reinhart in the draft, we've got the 2nd line centre covered for years to come. Obviously, Ekblad would be ideal but if somebody else wins the lottery draft, we still get a nice consolation prize in Reinhart. Either way, whatever is needed based on the draft will be have to be addressed with an Eberle deal in the offseason.

Because Sam Reinhart will just step into the 2LC position? You're joking, right?

This folks is why the Oilers can get away with tanking for high draft picks. There's alot of fans out there that actually believe a lineup of young skilled guys and top prospects will somehow be competitive. [Note] The entire western conference begs to differ.

Our D is abysmal and all the team's progress is negated until it's addressed. Trading the pick alone or as part of a package to acquire a 1-2 D man is the only way we'll get out of this mess. We no longer have the luxury of waiting three years to see our next high pick develop. That's just a fact we all have to accept.

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#16 Say what again
February 05 2014, 10:17PM
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I'm just not convinced Gagner has much value at all. When he's not a scoring machine (which he barely rates as even at the best of times) he provides little of value and is even a detriment. Right now he's a significant reason why we are 29th place with 19 wins. Hell, he had his detractors even before this season when he wasn't this bad.

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#18 horndog77
February 05 2014, 10:20PM
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Perhaps Edmonton wants to clear cap space. There is a lot of players to sign or resign next year. Just looked at this years free agents ....yikes! Any trade for Gagner should involve a decent defenseman because there isn't much too Like in free agency

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#19 Smokey
February 05 2014, 10:22PM
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Kings had a small fiester winger/center by the name of Mike Cammalleri they dumped a few years ago when they were crap. Why would they want Sam Gagner? Why do they even need him? Who makes this stuff up?

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#20 Woodguy
February 05 2014, 10:23PM
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There simply aren't second-line centres available, unless they can somehow talk Paul Stastny into moving to Edmonton.

This assumes that the Oilers will only look to fill 2C through free agency.

If they trade Gagner for King, a C for a winger, they have a glut of wingers.

They can trade a winger for a 2C.

Would have to be a good one going out to get a good one coming back.

There are teams who have some young C's playing well and may see fit to move out C in their late 20's or so.

That would probably be done in the summer.

Also,

Capgeek has LAK's deadline space at 3.765MM. Difference between King and Gagner is $4.025MM.

Does LAK have a mechanism to increase their deadline space?

If push comes to shove I can see LAK giving up Greene, who is in the last year of a $2.95MM salary and taking Potter (RH like Greene) or Fedun to get a RH Dman back.

Greene is 7th on LAK in TOI/gm among D and not an integral part of their on ice game.

He does wear an "A", but guys who wear letters get traded too.

Martinez has been scratched more and more since Greene got healthy, maybe they give him up, but he's still on a RFA contract and may have more value to the organization.

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#21 Kodiak
February 05 2014, 10:24PM
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David S wrote:

Thank god internet pundits don't make actual NHL deals. Surely MacT isn't dumb enough to think either of Arco or Lander can really replace Gagner.

Think about it. Gagner's season was a writeoff the moment he took Kassian's stick to the face. So the only true point of reference you have for his value is last season, where 38/48 makes him an effective 65 point scorer. In other words, a legit 2LC. Yeah his D needs work, but when a guy is playing that far up the roster points count for alot. Neither Arco or Lander can step to that. MacT knows it too.

If Gagner gets traded, it'll be over the summer when we'll be able to get a realistic return for the player Gagner is, not the player you see right now.

The only true point of reference is what he's ever put up in a season, and that's 47. 65 point scorer. Hilarious. He's never been close to that. And it doesn't matter if you score 80 points if you are giving up 90 and that's Gagner's game.

This team sucks and changes need to be made. Gagner has had tons of time to learn to play in his own zone and still hasn't figured it out and most likely never will. Time to cut bait

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#22 Mr common sense
February 05 2014, 10:24PM
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Edm media eh? Let's not forget 2 things people:

1) Gagner is over valued by edm, he actually is simply worth a 3rd or 4th liner, nothing to be alarmed at here

2) the biggest benefit in moving Gagner is that he is gone and this crutch of a skilled midget being adequate as a 2nd C is once and for all over. The Oil then have NO choice but to solve that problem

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#23 Rod from Viking
February 05 2014, 10:25PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

In fairness, this internet pundit made it pretty clear that he wouldn't be willing to replace Gagner with Arcobello/Lander.

I was all for trading Gagner because I never liked his defensive game for the past three years, Kyle Clifford maybe could be a top 9 player possibly and could be that man in front of the net on the powerplay, he is not enough and eating a bunch of salary as well makes no sense. I like Dave Bolland for a veteran 2nd line center, what do you think?

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#24 David S
February 05 2014, 10:26PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

In fairness, this internet pundit made it pretty clear that he wouldn't be willing to replace Gagner with Arcobello/Lander.

Whoah, whoah WHOAH! I mean THE OTHER internet pundits. *Wipes poo off shoe*

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#25 Woodguy
February 05 2014, 10:26PM
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Smokey wrote:

Kings had a small fiester winger/center by the name of Mike Cammalleri they dumped a few years ago when they were crap. Why would they want Sam Gagner? Why do they even need him? Who makes this stuff up?

Bob MacKenzie from TSN was the first to mention Gagner to the Kings.

Take it up with him.

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#27 The Soup Fascist
February 05 2014, 10:27PM
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Mr common sense wrote:

Edm media eh? Let's not forget 2 things people:

1) Gagner is over valued by edm, he actually is simply worth a 3rd or 4th liner, nothing to be alarmed at here

2) the biggest benefit in moving Gagner is that he is gone and this crutch of a skilled midget being adequate as a 2nd C is once and for all over. The Oil then have NO choice but to solve that problem

You do know Elliotte Friedman doesn't live in Millwoods, right?

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#28 Say what again
February 05 2014, 10:28PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Which is why trading him now is likely to be a mistake, unless you trade for another guy in a low ebb season.

Buy low, sell high.

I like the idea, but do we have faith he's going to get better before next season and we'll be able to sell high? If we start the 2014/15 season with Gagner as our second line centre it's another sub-25th place finish guaranteed. Gagner's been exposed for the type of player he is.

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#29 Mr common sense
February 05 2014, 10:29PM
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Smokey wrote:

Kings had a small fiester winger/center by the name of Mike Cammalleri they dumped a few years ago when they were crap. Why would they want Sam Gagner? Why do they even need him? Who makes this stuff up?

100% correct.

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#32 David S
February 05 2014, 10:31PM
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Kodiak wrote:

The only true point of reference is what he's ever put up in a season, and that's 47. 65 point scorer. Hilarious. He's never been close to that. And it doesn't matter if you score 80 points if you are giving up 90 and that's Gagner's game.

This team sucks and changes need to be made. Gagner has had tons of time to learn to play in his own zone and still hasn't figured it out and most likely never will. Time to cut bait

So you're pretty much down with trading all of our top 6 as their collective Corsi is below 50%? Right?

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#33 Woogie63
February 05 2014, 10:31PM
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Does Friedman ever use "s when he throws suggestions out to the audience? He is on just about every cities morning drive sport radio program one or two times a week; on HNIC; blogging ....he needs material to fill all those time slots.

Listen closer to how he say things;

It has been suggested to me....

I have been texting with GM and there some common thought ....

Lots of interesting feelings, dressed up to sound like facts.

"" obviously omitted

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#34 bazmagoo
February 05 2014, 10:32PM
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Personally I'd do Gagner for King in a heartbeat. I'm more comfortable with Arco or Ladner battling for that 2nd line centre spot than I am with Gags in there. Gagner can't/doesn't want to play defence!

This is exactly what everyone has been talking about for ages, and would shake up the team. Will Gagner do well in LA? Absolutely. Is Dwight King the type of player we need in Edmonton? Absolutely.

If you can sign Ladner and Arco to 2 year, one way deals in the offseason in the $600k range I'd be more than happy to see them battle it out for that 2nd line spot. The only thing I'd be hesitant with is eating half of Gagner's contract, that would be hard to swallow. Disagree with you on this one Willis.

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#35 Mr common sense
February 05 2014, 10:34PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

You do know Elliotte Friedman doesn't live in Millwoods, right?

Irrelevant to my 2 points. Read them again.

IF it's true that a Stanley Cup team who understands grit, defence and muscle wins championships is all of a sudden confused that a frail overhyped mediocre player will help them, ACT NOW!!

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#36 David S
February 05 2014, 10:36PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Is "100% correct" code for "this report from established journalists with impeccable credentials doesn't fit into my worldview and therefore I will pretend it's a fanboy fantasy?"

I'll hang up and listen.

I SO desperately want to multi-prop this.

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#37 Mr common sense
February 05 2014, 10:38PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Is "100% correct" code for "this report from established journalists with impeccable credentials doesn't fit into my worldview and therefore I will pretend it's a fanboy fantasy?"

I'll hang up and listen.

Not so much directed at a criticism of Friedman as it is incredulous shock that smart winners like Lombardi and sutter would want the anti model of a hockey player. Why the F would they want Gagner?? Makes zero sense

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#38 Kodiak
February 05 2014, 10:39PM
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David S wrote:

So you're pretty much down with trading all of our top 6 as their collective Corsi is below 50%? Right?

Our other top 6 are producing more, driving the bus more, have more potential and have had a lot less time in the NHL learning the defensive side of the game than Gagner has.

One of these things is not like the others.

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#39 Mr common sense
February 05 2014, 10:40PM
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Woogie63 wrote:

Does Friedman ever use "s when he throws suggestions out to the audience? He is on just about every cities morning drive sport radio program one or two times a week; on HNIC; blogging ....he needs material to fill all those time slots.

Listen closer to how he say things;

It has been suggested to me....

I have been texting with GM and there some common thought ....

Lots of interesting feelings, dressed up to sound like facts.

"" obviously omitted

Lol exactly. It's the subconscious want of everyone in edm to want Gagner gone, we say it straight whereas others hang off the words of marginal sources

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#41 David S
February 05 2014, 10:41PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Personally I'd do Gagner for King in a heartbeat. I'm more comfortable with Arco or Ladner battling for that 2nd line centre spot than I am with Gags in there. Gagner can't/doesn't want to play defence!

This is exactly what everyone has been talking about for ages, and would shake up the team. Will Gagner do well in LA? Absolutely. Is Dwight King the type of player we need in Edmonton? Absolutely.

If you can sign Ladner and Arco to 2 year, one way deals in the offseason in the $600k range I'd be more than happy to see them battle it out for that 2nd line spot. The only thing I'd be hesitant with is eating half of Gagner's contract, that would be hard to swallow. Disagree with you on this one Willis.

If you watch closely, you can see he wants to and he tries, but you also see a complete fear of really physically engaging.

His face is broken. The bone may be knitted but it's nowhere near healed. One hard shot the right way and he'll re-break it. I think it was Friedman's 30 for 30 article the other day that mentioned it.

I'd bet a fat stack or two Gagner isn't being PB'd because the whole coaching staff knows this - that he's gutting out the season. In fact, he may be the grittiest player in the room and we'll never know.

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#42 Al Low
February 05 2014, 10:42PM
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It's amazing how much Oiler fans drink the Katz Kool-Aid. Always overvaluing our players. What other idiot GM would have paid Gagner 4.8M per year? They need to cut their losses and move on. Get what you can.

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#43 David S
February 05 2014, 10:44PM
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I'm going to back out of this one because it seems like a no-win for sanity tonight.

But I'll leave you with this. If you're judging the value of Sam Gagner based on what you're seeing this year, you're doing the whole thing wrong.

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#44 Taylor Gang
February 05 2014, 10:44PM
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Meh, I'm not impressed with Gagner's play but I'd argue that Gagner is a better asset than the players mentioned. This season is a complete writeoff anyways so we should wait until the offseason.

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#45 Rod from Viking
February 05 2014, 10:46PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I think a contending team needs to do better than Bolland as its 2C; he'd be a place-holder, just like Gagner is now.

Funny thing about Bolland, too: he's actually the same size as Gagner.

I agree with that but he has a better two way game and has won two cups(I think he knows a little about winning),on a contending team he is a third line center. I would be very happy if the switch flipped on Sam and he became a 200ft player but I don't see that happening, we need a true 2-3 shutdown d man and a true #2 center if this team is going to go anywhere. Do we have any future # 2 centers for prospects? If you don't like Bolland who would you like to see them target?

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#46 Mr common sense
February 05 2014, 10:47PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Except that based on credible reports, they do. Probably because their team isn't scoring and only has a four-point gap between 'in the playoffs' and 'outside the playoffs' as a result.

This is EXACTLY what happened the year they won the cup, they couldn't score during the season, thing was Quick was on fire, not the case this year. LA's D is offensively impotent too. If I was Lombardi I wouldn't be too keen on Gagner, hence why he's low balling edm at present, which is consistent with what Friedman is reporting

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#47 Al Low
February 05 2014, 10:50PM
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David S wrote:

Because Sam Reinhart will just step into the 2LC position? You're joking, right?

This folks is why the Oilers can get away with tanking for high draft picks. There's alot of fans out there that actually believe a lineup of young skilled guys and top prospects will somehow be competitive. [Note] The entire western conference begs to differ.

Our D is abysmal and all the team's progress is negated until it's addressed. Trading the pick alone or as part of a package to acquire a 1-2 D man is the only way we'll get out of this mess. We no longer have the luxury of waiting three years to see our next high pick develop. That's just a fact we all have to accept.

And staying the course with your boy Gagner's working? I'd take my chances on a guy like Reinhart over Gagner any day. Last I checked, Edmonton's not exactly going to be competing for a playoff spot for another 2 or 3 years. I'd rather have a solid 2 way guy in Reinhart in 3 years than a so-called gritty, 2LC who hasn't learned to pay D in his 7 years and occasionally puts up an 8 point game.

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#48 The Soup Fascist
February 05 2014, 10:50PM
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Mr common sense wrote:

Irrelevant to my 2 points. Read them again.

IF it's true that a Stanley Cup team who understands grit, defence and muscle wins championships is all of a sudden confused that a frail overhyped mediocre player will help them, ACT NOW!!

Your contention, as I understand it, was that only Edmonton media would think that Gagner had any cachet around the league, let alone with a Stanley Cup contender.

The fact is Friedman and Bob Mackenzie appear to be saying just that.

I apologize if that flies in the face of your notion that a team - despite their SC run two ago - that can't score to save their lives, have interest in a skilled but flawed 25 year old 50 plus point player.

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#49 Kodiak
February 05 2014, 10:53PM
Trash it!
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Cheers
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David S wrote:

I'm going to back out of this one because it seems like a no-win for sanity tonight.

But I'll leave you with this. If you're judging the value of Sam Gagner based on what you're seeing this year, you're doing the whole thing wrong.

This season hasn't helped his cause but he's always been terrible in his own zone, he's not physical, he's inconsistent, he's padded stats late in seasons when the games haven't mattered. He's not a difference maker offensively but is defensively in a negative way. Yes, he can play better than he has this season but it's still not enough to have him slotted in as a 2C if we want to finish higher than 20th.

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#50 **
February 05 2014, 10:55PM
Trash it!
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Cheers
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Trading to a division rival is bad, but if there ar no other takers, what can one do?. Mac T. must be close to a deal for a second line center if he is willing to partake with Gagner. Best way to get Gagner out of town should be a package deal for a quality player, not for coke machines.

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