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. 

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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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#52 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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#53 steelymac
February 06 2014, 09:51AM
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It looks like Spezza in Ottawa is getting some tough love from the fan base.What would it take?Now that would be a one hell of a second line center.I know im dreaming.

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#54 Cutterov
February 06 2014, 10:08AM
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By moving Gagner this is a case of addition by subtraction.. Gagner is small, never scored more then 50 points, bad on draws, and a total defensive liability, when you watch him play he just doesn't understand who he needs to identify as the dangerous man... If I was Eakins and running practice it would be 3 on 3 down low an Gagner would be up every single time until He realizes who he needs to identify as his defensive responsability. The other issue I have is that he feels he's an elite offensive player. 4.8 mil a year for a player who has never scored 50 points in a season is a serious over pay. By adding a tough body To our bottom 6 we obtain more size and become harder to play against.

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#55 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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#56 David S
February 05 2014, 11:08PM
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Kodiak wrote:

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.

Show me any other guy in our top 6 who has the guts to do this and I'll agree Gagner (when healthy) "isn't physical" http://youtu.be/wWCidNpNcCE *drops mic*

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#57 Gorbahchano
February 06 2014, 10:03AM
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Man, ON just should lay off Gagner, Christ. Why get rid of someone that we can't replace right now? Sure, Arco is great and could possibly fill the void but I'd rather have a guy with the amount of experience Gagner does. It's amazing how many times the oilers fans cry to have someone who is obviously having an off season traded. I agree that his performance of late is brutal compared to before. I'd give it time, if we trade him he'll just light is up and make the oilers look stupid for trading him like lots of past oilers have.

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#58 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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#59 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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#60 Rama Lama
February 05 2014, 11:12PM
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The names mentioned for Gagner are not going to be a fit.......JW , I totally agree with your assessment.

They will not give us what we need so it is pointless. Names like Dustin Brown and Jake Muzzins would be interesting but I don't hear them in the trade rumours so often.

You are also right on the Oilers finally having some grit in the bottom six.........we do not want another one of those in light of some of the players we have in the AHL.

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#61 Death Metal Nightmare
February 06 2014, 02:10AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

I cannot believe people are still using Gagner's "point potential" as an argument for keeping him. I ask any of you Gagner supporters to consider that for every point Gagner gets, he give up two. He does not hit, gets pushed off the puck too easily and is horrible in the face off circle. This not including his ridiculous cap hit. If Mac T can get King and a pick or prospect, it is a win.

Wow some of our fans are deluded, or have had their kool aid spiked. Maybe both?

i can't believe people used his "point potential" 3 seasons ago onward. everything that sucks about his game was apparent 3 years ago and everyone on this site just kept saying "HE'S ONLY ____ YEARS OLD."

people who have actual eyeballs that work in their head could see the enormous deficiencies in this dudes game ages ago and what sort of monumental physical improvements it would take for him to grow out of them.

it's not happening. the kid is a 3rd wheel anywhere in the league. he depends on others to create the game for him and rarely can he do it himself for his teammates. if you can't operate your role and are getting carried in this league YOU ARE MANURE.

he should have never got the contract he did last off-season.

now, could he be a good third wheel on a good team? sure. if the other two players carry him along so his game is elevated a little. it would be a miracle for his career.

the 4th liners for him sounds lame. but i'd expect the Oilers to make a move like that.

please make the view into the Abyss larger O' Wise Ones of the Management Team

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#62 Mack Strong
February 06 2014, 02:14AM
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In trading Gags we are left with a gaping hole at the #2 centre position.

We are just not deep at all at Centre. Love ARCO but he's not an NHL #2 Centre. Maybe not yet…..Im not sold on Lander at all…If gags is soft what do we classify Lander - he's not going to be causing any fear on the forecheck,,,

As much as I would love to see Ekblad in an Oiler Jersey…I'm starting to thing that maybe a Michael Dal Colle, Leon Draisati, Sam Bennett, or if Reinhart drops that would be our pick.

We are much deeper in the defence prospect pool than we are in the Centre prospect pool. At D we have Nurse, Klef, Gernat, Musil and Marincin is looking like he's made the leap….

Aside from Lander and ARCO we have Ewanyk, Horak, Yakimov as possible prospects at Centre…we look much better at D…shocking yes I know…the return for Gags is going to be small. Maybe we keep him at 2 or 3 Centre and hopefully the possible draft pick emerges nicely as Monahan did into a solid 2nd Center.

Hopefully D can strengthen in UFA...

We have a long way to go…..

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#63 BingBong
February 06 2014, 07:39AM
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I don't understand how anybody could watch Gagner play, know what his contract is, and then say a "Gagner for King" trade would be a mistake.

I'm no GM, but I'd bet a lot of money that Gagner has very little value around the league.

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#64 A-Mc
February 06 2014, 09:40AM
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G-Unit wrote:

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.

Did you watch all games? instead of cherry picking the odd game?

I watched them all, and thanks to the pvr, a few times. I think he looked fantastic.

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#65 Spydyr
February 06 2014, 10:58AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Everyone realizes that the Edmonton Oilers are in SECOND LAST in the NHL, right?

How in the world would 'losing' Gagner make things any worse than they are????

Anyone really see him being any part of a future if this collection of losers ever starts getting borderline respectable.

and make no mistake, my friends, THAT is the goal. Borderline respectability.

Because right now, the Oilers are BELOW the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers in the standings.

and we laugh at them because they're such 'joke' organizations.

So trading Gagner would be a disaster?

Good lord, why?

IMO NOT trading Gagner before the start of next season would be a disaster.

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#66 A-Mc
February 06 2014, 11:03AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Everyone realizes that the Edmonton Oilers are in SECOND LAST in the NHL, right?

How in the world would 'losing' Gagner make things any worse than they are????

Anyone really see him being any part of a future if this collection of losers ever starts getting borderline respectable.

and make no mistake, my friends, THAT is the goal. Borderline respectability.

Because right now, the Oilers are BELOW the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers in the standings.

and we laugh at them because they're such 'joke' organizations.

So trading Gagner would be a disaster?

Good lord, why?

Trading Sam is fine. What will make this organization better is making good trades that add value. Gagner for King isn't similar value. It's a clear mismatch in player value and ability.

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#67 A-Mc
February 06 2014, 11:09AM
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Al77 wrote:

I just hope at this point if Sam is going to L.A that it is for King and not Clifford which is being reported or speculated at this moment!

I'm almost angry at the prospect of a Gagner for Clifford move. Clifford is a clear 4th liner. I can't see any way that the deal makes sense for us.

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#68 Zarny
February 06 2014, 01:37PM
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mike wrote:

[quote]Gagner was 37th in points in all of the NHL last year. 18th among centers. On pace for 65 pts.[/quote] What did the centers one or two places above him and below him earn? And what was their draw % and plus minus? Arcobello was every bit as good as Gagner at a fraction of the cost, but we really need a more physical / defensive center given the make up of our top 6. It hurts to realize a top pick the Oilers made has minimal value to other teams, but thanks to his contract (which overpays him given his flaws), that's the reality.

The C who finished directly ahead of Gagner last year was Joe Thornton...he earned $7 million.

The C who finished directly below Gagner last year was Logan Couture who earned $2.85 million but resigned for $6 million starting next season.

Arcobello was every bit as good as an injured Gagner coming back too early from a broken jaw, missed training camp and sucking food threw a straw for 3-4 weeks.

Yes, I'm sure dropping 10-15 lbs on a liquid diet did wonders for a small F like Gagner who already struggles against big C like Getzlaf and Toews.

Absolutely no explanation whatsoever why he wouldn't be having a career year. Totally baffling.

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#69 wintoon
February 06 2014, 07:50AM
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Gagner has been in the NHL for seven years. He does not, however, have seven years experience. He has one year of experience seven times. In short, he has not learned what it takes to be a competent 2C.

Aside from the faults others have recorded, Gagner plays cutesy, with drop passes, taking the easy way, trying to make clever passes etc. Unfortunately this is contagious and now players like Eberle are doing the same thing.

It is very important to move Gagner ASAP and for whatever MacT can get for him. The move will send a message to all our young guys that you have to play a hard smart hockey or you are history, regardless of draft pedigree.

This is a major key to improving this team and the sooner it begins, the sooner we will see some results.

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#70 ESA10
February 06 2014, 09:40AM
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I disagree young Willis. Gagner is losing the oilers games with his spotty defensive play.

If you could get King and Frattin from the kings then the oilers would finally have a third line and hendricks could play the 4th like he should be.

2014-15 King Gordon Frattin Hendricks Ladner Pitlick Gadzic Arcobello

To me that looks like we finally have the bottom of the roster figured out. I do agree that we would have to find a second line center but there are possibilities out there.

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#71 Zamboni Driver
February 06 2014, 11:08AM
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@A-Mc

Okay, Gagner will score more probably.

Don't you think the Oilers need something slightly different from what they have?

Because they have a LOT of the same thing.

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#72 Sal-Sational
February 06 2014, 11:34AM
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Shifty203 wrote:

Yay! Lets trade our second line center, with no one challanging for the position, for a 4th line winger, and retain half the salary! Awesome plan for keeping infinibuild going!

He's not a 2nd line center... Arcobello did a better job (winning face-offs, Defensive zone coverage, Hit, Compete) when Gags was injured and instead of being rewared he got sent to the minors.. just count how many times Gagner turns the puck over and fails to clear the zone tonight... us Oiler fans LOVE to over value our trash.

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#73 Truth
February 06 2014, 01:25PM
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Ryan14 wrote:

Gagner isn't the player that the Oilers and media want him to be or think he is.

His best season (2011-12) had him 43rd amongst centers in points with 47, tied with Tyler Bozak (the same Tyler Bozak that is considered by many to be grossly overpaid at 4.2), Frans Nielsen and Kyle Wellwood. Kyle Brodziak and Derek Roy were three points back of Gagner.

Gagner is a slightly above average point producer, below average face off man and has below average defensive ability.

If he was putting up 55, 65 points, then you could argue that he is worth more. As it stands now, with his current (and career) production levels, his inability to play anywhere that is not in the offensive zone, and poor face-off ability, the value for him is not that high. Add in his near $5 million cap hit and his inability to remain consistent at any degree, and his value diminishes even more.

He is what he is.

Gagner was 37th in points in all of the NHL last year. 18th among centers. On pace for 65 pts.

What he is not is the player he was for a month while recovering from a broken jaw that he received in the pre-season.

If he averaged out as a 50-60 point center in the NHL he is a second line center on most teams in the league.

But might as well give him up for Zach Stortini 2.0.

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#74 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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#75 Tikkanese
February 06 2014, 12:03PM
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I hate to burst people's bubbles but Arcobello is not a 2C either. He's arguably/probably an improvement over the current version of Gagner right now but won't be when Gagner returns to his old self, which is probably next year. Yes, even the "good" version of Gagner needs to play better defensively as well but that is not the point.

The Oilers' only strengths in the organization are on the Wing and the Defensemen prospects. Trading from a position of weakness(center) for another bottom 6 winger does not help in the slightest. If we want another bottom 6 winger, and I don't see why they would, we can always call up Ben Eager or Lander and throw him on the wing.

If they do trade a Center, namely Gagner, they'd be best to address an actual need, not more bottom 6 wingers. The needs are a top pairing Defenceman, a signed and starting goalie(Scrivens and Bryz are UFAs) or another Center. They'll likely have to throw in more pieces to acquire any of those but that is fine.

Also as JW stated, not much point in selling low unless you are getting something similar in return. Mike Richards has 1 goal all season and is a Center with a big contract. I'm sure the Oilers would have to sweeten the pot significantly but that is just one plausible swap. Voynov is another name I've heard in these LA rumours that would be great for the Oilers.

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#76 Zarny
February 06 2014, 01:31PM
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Mike wrote:

"Good grief, drivel about "addition by subtraction".

Sorry but when you take a guy who has averaged 50 pts over 82 games and was on pace for 65 pts last year before ever hitting his prime off a team you are adding nothing."

How many points did he give away during this period? How many draws did he lose? He is a small body on a team full of small bodies, we need a large or physical 2nd line center.

Between some big bodies on LA he "might" be OK (albeit an expensive OK, not one I would give up a decent asset for), but on the Oilers he is a very poor fit. We were just as good with Arcobello but had $4 to $5million more cap space.

I've maintained for years Gagner isn't the right fit for the Oilers because he doesn't compliment Nuge well. He's basically the same small, skilled C but not as good.

The suggestions however that Gagner has "negative value" or no value is beyond delusional. It's evidence of how some have completely lost touch with reality and all perspective.

As an undersized C who shouldn't have played in the NHL till he was 20, Gagner's pt/gm average is 50 pt over 82 games. Last year he was on pace for 65 pt and that's all before he played a single game in his prime.

It's unfortunate Gagner had his face caved in to start the year. He's certainly not having his best year with the missed time and injury. Sort of like Getzlaf didn't have his best year in 2011-12 when he only got 57 pt. It happens.

The reality is even the best teams only have 4 or 5 players who top 45 pts in a season and Gagner is in that class with his entire prime ahead of him.

"Negative" or no value is beyond ridiculous I'm afraid.

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#77 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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#78 voom04
February 05 2014, 11:03PM
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The only way u trade gagner is for a 1-2Dman, if you have to through in a pick/prospect so be it. U fix your defense without trading him and his defensive defiecencies disappear at least marginaly.

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#79 BabyNuge'sBaby
February 06 2014, 06:58AM
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If we can manage to get King out of LA for Gagne it needs to happen, regardless of it we have to eat some salary to make it happen. It sounds like King is underpayed any how, at $750,000/year, so really we would not be getting bad value on the asset. Lander could very easily slot in on the 2C spot, give him a real chance with decent linemates, see what we have there (can't do any worse than Gagne).

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#80 K_Mart
February 06 2014, 07:09AM
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He had a really solid season last year and when he broke his jaw this year Strudwick said it would ruin Gagner's entire year, as he had a similar injury once before and said it ruined the rest of the season.

He was slurping everything through a straw and then he came back too early. His value is at a career low, leave it to Oiler fans to promote selling low.

He should have been dealt during the off season after his great lockout season. Now is the worst time. Give him the rest of this season, the off season, and a few months next year to get his game back (provided he doesn't get injured again) then trade him.

He'll never be a good fit for the Oilers but trading him now is dumb.

The only player the Oilers have who's value is higher around the league than it is to the Oilers is Perron. If you want to get something good you have to move something good. Sell high, not low. Move Perron, his value will almost certainly go down after next season.

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#81 Truth
February 06 2014, 11:37AM
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Sam Gagner last season: 38 pts in 48 games

Evander Kane last season: 33 pts in 48 games

If Gagner for Clifford is the market, why don't the Oilers send Joensuu to Winnipeg for Kane? Heck, they should even retain some of Kane's salary.

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#82 A-Mc
February 06 2014, 11:38AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Gagner has negative value. If the oil could just make him and his contract disappear they would be better off. So if they get "spare parts" back for very little money then it is a win for the oil.

Ya i dont agree, so there is no way we can discuss Mr Samwise.

The only problem with Sam is that he doesnt fit what this team needs badly. That's a far cry from "negative" value.

The cap is going up folks - Players like Callahan are looking to make ~7mill/yr. Gagner is NOT Callahan, but you can see how the $/value ratio is about to get ugly.

4.8 for samwise isn't a big deal and isn't preventing the team from signing good players.

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#83 A-Mc
February 06 2014, 12:02PM
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Lochenzo wrote:

I think some of you are undervaluing secondary scoring. All Stanley Cup champs have secondary scoring. We know Sam Gagner can bring a decent amount of secondary scoring and if you have a 1st and 2nd line that can score at a decent clip, it would mask the problem of your 3rd and 4th lines not scoring.

I'd rather keep all of my trading chips until I know I have acquired a top 2 Dman. Then use what you have left to address other needs.

My priority list based upon urgency: 1) top 2 Dman 2) Goal (Scrivens?) 3) better two-way centre, hopefully with decent size. 4) size on wing.

Exactly.

And how many times has "Shuffling deck chairs" been brought up to describe Oiler trades with 3rd/4th line guys. Gagner for more deck chairs can't be part of the solution..

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#84 Zarny
February 06 2014, 02:29PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I don't care how many points he scores. He is a career -58. Yes, plus-minus is not the best stat, but when you are minus year after year it shows something.

Getting a player back that scores less, but is constantly a plus player helps the team more.

John Tavares is a career -43. Hopefully he never wears an Oilers jersey either I guess.

Ovechkin is currently -19 for the season. I suppose you'd be disappointed if the Oilers acquired him too?

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#85 Zarny
February 06 2014, 03:53PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Getzlaf struggled for a short period perhaps, Gagner has consistently underperformed - or rather has performed below the expectations/dreams of many on oilers management and omany more oilers fans.

Gagner wasn't getting 4.8 mill two years ago.

negative value is very simple and common:

You own a car that is appraised at $10000 and you outstanding loan is $15000. The car has a negative value of $5000.

Gagner is worth maybe 3mill/yr over 3 years (let's say) - in other words he could be replaced by a player of equal benefit for $3mill. and he's signed for 4.8 for 3 years. Thus he has a negative total value of 5.4 mill or 1,8 mill/year.

I don't think Gagner has performed below expectations of management or fans. Not on a pt/gm basis. You can't control injuries.

I agree Gagner wasn't getting 4.8 million 2 years ago.

Like it or not though Gord, Gagner finished tied for 34th in league scoring last year. That gets you $4.8 million when you haven't even played 1 game in your prime.

Gagner certainly hasn't played up to $4.8 million this year; but then again he had his jaw caved in to start the season. Sh*t happens.

As for negative value sorry I disagree. You assume Gagner won't play or produce better the next two years when he isn't injured. Based on last year that's a very poor assumption.

If the amount of the overpay was worth more than a player's worth, or in other words if a player played up to less than half his contract value then I could see calling it negative value.

Based on your definition Crosby has been a millstone of negative value for the Pens.

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#86 Saytalk
February 06 2014, 08:11PM
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Have any of you actually watched Gagner play? Or do you only judge a player by his box scores and how he compares to players from the same draft year (a weak year to boot)?

A small one-dimensional forward who contributes nothing beyond his pedestrian point at a ~0.6 PPG rate. Watch him backcheck in his own zone and you can see what a joke of a player he is. You can say he's bad because he's part of a bad team, but as the current 2C and a veteran among most of the forwards, Gagner is more the cause than the effect of this team's awfulness.

If King is on the table, then I'd make the deal happen, even if it means retaining some salary. Better yet, trade Gagner to the Canucks so we can sabotage their chances of making the playoffs next year.

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#87 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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#88 Kodiak
February 05 2014, 10:53PM
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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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#89 The Soup Fascist
February 05 2014, 11:46PM
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Mabell wrote:

I think it's best to define what the problem is - Gagner doesn't fit the required 2nd line role on this team.

That being the case if we can move him for another useful piece then do so - preferably Dwight King from the above list of moves.

Expecting Arco or Lander to fill the role is not the answer, at least not beyond the rest of this season.

Other moves will need to be made - perhaps before the trade deadline its Hemsky+ to Detroit for Sheahan or Anisimov out of Columbus over the summer.

Regardless once we've determined that the existing mix is not going to work we need to make moves to convert assets into other pieces that form part of the solution. It won't happen over night - and it won't happen in a single trade, but piece by piece I like the moves that are being taken.

A team is evolving here.

Evolving or devolving?

Does adding a coke machine 3/4 line winger and eating $2.4 million of cap space help us? A bad trade is not the answer.

We agree a bigger competent two-way 2C (plus a couple of actual NHL defensemen) is necessary. I just think Gagner plus this years pick and / or a prospect is more apt to get you something tangible than the same package with a King / Clifford or Nolan.

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#90 Rdubb
February 06 2014, 06:18AM
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"There simply aren't second-line centres available", well, sorry Johnathon, but Sam ISN'T a 2nd line centre in the NHL, and on a half decent team he'd be a 3rd line centre... The only attribute that Sam has that makes him a good 2nd line centre is his passion, now, what forces are against him; poor in the dot (very poor, 4th liners have better percentages than he does), extremely poor d-zone coverage, spends too much time watching the play instead of inserting himself into the play, his size and strength. Unfortunately, and I am not going to say that I have ever heard Johnathon say this or not, but I have heard many on the site say the exact same thing as I have above, Sam is not a centre... now why did the experiment of him playing the wing last so long? I think two, maybe three games? It's now been six or seven yrs, and it'll only hurt Sam's game in the future, these sets of coaches must get it through his head that he isn't an NHL centre man, and his all around game and stats would be much better if he played 2nd line wing minutes. Then, we'll get a big return for Sam via trade

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#91 Show me da Money
February 06 2014, 07:06AM
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I think Gagner is gone before the end of the season. With his no trade clause coming into effect can anyone convince me that MacT wants to have him around for two more years taking up a roster spot?

JW, if your only two choices are worse and worser which one do you pick?

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#92 Wonger
February 06 2014, 10:40AM
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A-Mc wrote:

King hasn't produced much in the NHL thus far. His point totals over the last 4 seasons: 0, 14, 10, 23 (Albeit with very little NHL games under his belt). He has 23 points this season, in 58 games but that is the best he's ever done. Sam Gagner has 23 in 46 and most of those games he spent being a useless teet due to injury. At this point the most we could ever expect out of Dwight is far from a sure thing points wise and while i would love to have him, he's not nearly as valuable as Gagner.

Also, centermen have more value than wingers.

I dont think Gagner and the Oilers are in an addition by subtraction situation. Gagner adds value to a team, he just doesnt add the value that we need the most.

King for Gagner, imo, is a big mistake and nothing you said has shed light on anything to make me think otherwise.

now, throw in someone else or even a 2nd round pick + and things change a little.

One last point: We only have 2 people to trade that will garner any kind of value back in a trade. Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle. We can all agree that the oilers dont need more spare parts guys, even if they are small upgrades to what we have. If we're going to use these two chips in a trade, it needs to be for similar quality players coming back the other way. If Gagner gets traded for a 3rd liner, then that leaves only Ebs as a piece to land any kind of top 4 defenseman; of which we need 2 or more of.

I dont trade Gagner for spare parts.

King for Gagner would be the best thing that ever happened to the Oilers!!! King- Nuge- Hall first line/ Simmonds- ????-Perron second line!!! Wooooo!

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#93 tabs
February 06 2014, 01:22PM
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Zarny wrote:

Good grief, drivel about "addition by subtraction".

Sorry but when you take a guy who has averaged 50 pts over 82 games and was on pace for 65 pts last year before ever hitting his prime off a team you are adding nothing.

Merely suggesting it is beyond stupid.

Give it a rest Z

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#94 Zarny
February 06 2014, 02:22PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Negative Value is not a difficult concept. If they are delivering less than they are getting paid - they have negative value.

Could the oil - if they had the 5 mill and the roster spot - find a better player than gagner? Given time - absolutely.

Comparing Getzlaf to Gagner via just points is ridiculous and does little to enlighten the discussion.

I wasn't trying to compare or suggest Gagner and Getzlaf were similar players or had similar value.

Simply pointing out that players have up years and down years. 2 years ago Getzlaf only had 57 pt in 82 games. This year he's sitting at 64 pt in 55 games.

Was Getzlaf worthless or did he have "negative value" 2 years ago? No.

And sorry but I don't agree with your definition of "negative value". I think that concept is actually quite silly.

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#95 Zarny
February 06 2014, 03:27PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Better than hanzal, bozak, Monahan legwand handzus? Really?

Hanzal has never topped 36 pts so yes.

Bozak has hit 40 pts once and trailed Gagner by 10 pts last year so yes once again.

Monahan is a rookie who is on pace for 35 pts. In his rookie year Gagner had 49 pts.

Legwand is 33, past his prime, and has only ever topped 50 pts twice. Most years he's in the 30's or 40's. Legwand's career pt/gm is less than Gagner's too and his career FO% is only 0.46 compared to Gagner's 0.448. By the time he's 33 Gagner will have been a much better NHLer.

Handzus will be 37 this year and has only topped 50 pts twice. The last was in 2003-04...a decade ago. Since then he's averaged between 20-42 pts and has a career pt/gm well below Gagner.

For a bunch of whiners complaining Gagner doesn't produce enough you sure come up with a pile of sh*tducks who you think are better.

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#96 Rod from Viking
February 06 2014, 04:23PM
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The biggest reason not to trade Gagner is to make sure we get a top 3 pick, we need to keep him and play him a lot in all situations and take all the face-offs in the defensive zone. Trade him in the summer to a team that needs to get to the cap floor.

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#97 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
February 06 2014, 04:41PM
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I think Gagner's fate will be determined at the draft. If the Oilers get Ekblad they will hang on to Gagner for at least one more year. If the Oilers get a center at the draft they move Arco or a fee agent to #2 C role and play the rookie centre on third or fourth line. Gagner gets dealt as part of a package for a # 2 Dman.

I say this because I firmly believe that Oilers management is focused on a longer time horizon than many here would like.

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#98 big slick
February 06 2014, 05:42PM
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If you are going to trade Gagner, wait until June and then trade him for the best d-man possible. Then draft best center possible for #2C spot. Oilers are winger rich, d-man poor, Center poor (#2 AND #4 if you trade Gagner, and goalie poor. Trading Gagner, at a discount because he has had a tough year, for a winger does not make sense unless you are getting a top 4 winger. That top 4 winger is not coming in a trade deadline deal unless you are trading with another non-playoff team.

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#99 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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#100 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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