Can the Edmonton Oilers afford to trade Sam Gagner? Can they afford not to?

Jonathan Willis
March 18 2014 10:13AM

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There is no more controversial player in Edmonton than Sam Gagner. The payoff for the difficult 2006-07 season, the still-young forward was supposed to be a primary piece for the Oilers to build around at centre. Instead, nearly 500 games into his NHL career, he continues to struggle.

What should Edmonton do with him?

The Case for Moving

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The argument for moving Gagner is that he isn’t a two-way hockey player.

Scoring isn’t really Gagner’s problem. He hasn’t lit the world on fire but he’s been posting very respectable second-line point totals since day one. On a team with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, that’s good enough (or should be eventually), even if it isn’t what the Oilers had in mind when they picked him sixth overall.

Gagner isn’t big, but that isn’t really a primary problem either. History is full of teams that have won Stanley Cups with centres roughly the size of Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner (fun fact for the ‘every team needs size down the middle!’ people: of the 10 centres to play on the Cup winners from Detroit (2008) and Boston (2011), not even one of them was listed at over 200 pounds). There are plenty of ways to win hockey games, and having a bunch of 6’4” guys who can play pivot is one of them, but not the only one.

What every Stanley Cup winner has in common is good players. And while Gagner is certainly an NHL player, it’s fair to wonder if he’s really the guy a team wants in the No. 2 pivot slot. Chicago won with Martin Hanzal (edit: Michal Handzus) there last season, but very few teams can insulate their No. 2 centre with Jonathan Toews in the No. 1 role and people like Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa on the wings.

Watch Gagner on this goal against from Edmonton’s last game in Carolina:

Justin Schultz grabs the puck at the blue line and jumps up ice. Gagner’s in the middle of the zone, behind the pinching Schultz and his two wingers, and sees it all happen. At about the two second mark, he’s at the far left of the screen about halfway up, watching a battle on the side boards. There’s a Carolina player just above and to the right of him. A good centre knows that, knows that Schultz (smartly) pinched, and covers for the defenceman. Gagner wanders past the Hurricanes forward and suddenly there’s a two-on-one, and eventually a goal against.

Every player makes mistakes, and thus any player can be made to look terrible on video. But from what I’ve seen, this is a mistake typical of Gagner. He doesn’t have the defensive commitment a centre needs. He cheats for offence.

The Case Against Moving

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The argument against moving Gagner is equally simple. It’s a stupid idea from an asset management perspective to trade players during low ebbs in value.

The following are Gagner’s totals (projected over 82 games) for the last five seasons:

Season  G A PTS +/-
2009-10 18 31 49 -10
2010-11 18 33 51 -21
2011-12 20 31 51 5
2012-13 24 41 65 -10
2013-14 10  36 46 -31

Gagner is at a low ebb in goal-scoring, a low ebb in point-scoring and a particularly low ebb in plus/minus. I think that in this case the basic statistics reflect reality. He started the year injured, he came back and was brutal, and while he’s improved a little bit lately he simply hasn’t been the Gagner of past seasons.

If the Oilers had traded Gagner two years ago, they likely would have had a better return. Ditto for last season. This year? We’re talking about the Oilers retaining salary and getting back Kyle Clifford.

Bad NHL teams typically bleed talent. One of the reasons is because bad teams generally have managers who make bad decisions, but there’s more to it than that. Bad teams are under more pressure than good teams to move players in off years, because they need everyone performing at a top level just to get within visual range of respectability. Bad teams tend not to have a support system, so when the bottom falls out on a player it really falls out.

Moving Gagner right now will see the Oilers get a 50 cents on the dollar return.

What Should Edmonton Do?

Craig MacTavish10

We are in a situation where the team has competing interests. It needs to get better in the No. 2 centre slot, which means trading Gagner away. But it also needs to get full value (or as close to it as possible) to improve the roster, which means retaining Gagner.

There are all kinds of real world problems here (is Gagner pushing for a trade, which free agents will consider Edmonton, what does the trade market look like) but in theory I think there’s an obvious two-step best course here:

  • 1. Add a replacement for Gagner to the roster.
  • 2. Keep Gagner until his trade value rebounds.

Let’s call Gagner’s replacement “Brandon Dubinsky” (we’re picking on Columbus here because they have Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner and Artem Anisimov and because virtually any of their four good centres would be a nice fit for the Oilers – but the general idea is just to add a player-type, not a specific player). If the Oilers add “Dubinsky” in the off-season without off-loading Gagner, they could start next year by putting him at centre on the third line and bumping Boyd Gordon down into the role of fourth-line defensive specialist (it’s the role Manny Malhotra played in Vancouver).

That puts Nugent-Hopkins’ line in the power-vs.-power role, the “Dubinsky” line in a secondary tough minutes role, the Gordon line in a defensive zone role, and leaves all kinds of soft minutes for the Gagner line. In that situation, it’s pretty conceivable that Gagner recovers offensively and his trade value increases dramatically, at which point Edmonton’s free to deal him for something else and bump “Dubinsky” into a more offensive role.

As we said, there are real-world considerations that might make this scenario an impossibility. But if possible, I think it’s the best route forward for Edmonton.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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 Doctor Smashy
March 18 2014, 10:20AM
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Correct me if I'm wrong but Martin Hanzal has never played for the Blackhawks...

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#2 D
March 18 2014, 10:20AM
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Whatever the Oilers do, get a good return on the investment, please.

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#4 Doctor Smashy
March 18 2014, 10:23AM
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Is there any merit to continue our search for a 2C but not move Gagner to get it? Gagner is great passer so might he be better on the wing (and improve his value at that position)? Also, he just wasn't this bad any other year in terms of stupid plays (they're not even lazy really)...none of these conversations were going on last year were they?

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#5 Doctor Smashy
March 18 2014, 10:24AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Freudian slip on my part there; naturally I meant Michal Handzus. Man Hanzal's a good player.

props to 1260 here...

Hanzal...He's so hot right now....

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#6 Rick
March 18 2014, 10:29AM
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Oilers have a talent for wanting to trade players when their value is the lowest.

I been saying trade Gagner forever, how come Oilers take so long to figure it out

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#7 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 18 2014, 10:31AM
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After this Gagner situation, I have a feeling the Oilers will take a centre at the draft. Probably ze German, if he's still there.

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#8 TKB2677
March 18 2014, 10:40AM
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Question:

If you resign Smyth like Willis talked about in a different article. If you don't trade Yakupov because he's still young, it's unknown how good he could be but the main reason being his trade value is too low because he isn't playing well to get what people think is "fair value". If you don't trade Gagner even if it looks as though at 24 yrs old and 7 seasons in, Gagner is what he is and his holes in his game are probably not going away. Plus he isn't the long term solution at the 2nd line center position but like Yakupov, because his trade value is low due to poor play, you probably won't get what people think is "fair value".

In order to be a better team for next season, they need more size and better 2 way play in their top 6.

Clearly you can't get rid of Hall because he is hands down their best player.

You can't get rid of Nuge because they already lack depth at center and he is their best center especially offensively.

I would say they can't get rid of Perron because he's their top goal scorer right now plus he's one of the few top 6 guys that plays with any real, consistent bite.

Eberle right now is their best right winger by a mile and will be in my opinion the better all around player. Yak might score a few more goals in his career buy Eberle will be a better all around player because he has way better hockey sense.

So if you keep all of the above for the reasons I stated and you keep Gagner and Yakupov who are 2 top 6 players for any team but you don't want to trade them right now because their trade value is "too low". If the Oilers do all of that, how will they be better any better next season?

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#9 Tuningout
March 18 2014, 10:40AM
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Trade Gagner. Odds are no good free agent center will sign here. And I love placing 18 year old kids (probably Drasaitl) into positions on the Oilers they can't possibly succeed in like second line center duties. No problem. Maybe if they package Gagner and Yakupov they can get Torontos first rounder this year, retaining salary of course.

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#10 FuManShu
March 18 2014, 10:42AM
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The only issue is who do you move to get "Dubinsky"?

I hope we draft Draisaitl and let him develop another year or two. At 6'1.75 and 210 pounds we could REALLY use him in a couple years.

However we can't dress the same top 6 next year. We can't.

Gagner + 2015 2nd for Artem Anisimov.

Sign Kulemin, Goc, Winnik

Hall Nuge Yakupov

Perron Anisimov Eberle

Kulemin Goc Winnik

Smyth Gordon Hendricks

Let Draisaitl develop

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#11 VK63
March 18 2014, 10:42AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

After this Gagner situation, I have a feeling the Oilers will take a centre at the draft. Probably ze German, if he's still there.

I'm gonna go watch ze German vs the Sutter steeds tonight. Should be an awesome tilt… or that is my hope. :))

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#12 Racki
March 18 2014, 10:43AM
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Other option is to trade our ubderperforming player for someone else's underperformer (ex. Sabres have an option or two) and hopefully each player does well under new scenery.

There's also the Gagner to wing scenario, but most seem to think Gagner isn't strong enough on the puck for that. Not so sure about that, but they've got to figure out something other than Gagner for Clifford. That's terrible.

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#13 They're $hittie
March 18 2014, 10:44AM
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Trade Eberle for the center we need and move gagner to the RW.

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#14 Sean17
March 18 2014, 10:46AM
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Should have traded him after the 8-point game...

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#15 They're $hittie
March 18 2014, 10:46AM
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Why are people so hard for Draisaitl. Ya he is big and talented, but I just got a bad feeling that says bust. I still think if we go with a center it has to be one of the sams. Pick the best player not the biggest.

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#16 TKB2677
March 18 2014, 10:48AM
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@They're $hittie

SO not only do they down grade their right wing position by changing Eberle for Gagner because Eberle is a better player than Gagner and he has the numbers to back that up. But they also do nothing to address the size problem in the top 6? Eberle and Gagner are basically the same size.

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#17 admiralmark
March 18 2014, 10:49AM
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"The argument against moving Gagner is equally simple. It’s a stupid idea from an asset management perspective to trade players during low ebbs in value."

Common theme for these Oilers. See Hemsky. Good teams recognize players on their team that do not fit the future plans despite when they are playing well. "asset management" is an aspect Oilers management has not been very good at for a very very long time.

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#18 vetinari
March 18 2014, 10:49AM
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I think that most forwards and defencemen need about 400 to 500 games under their belt to see what they really bring to the table. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule but it is helpful.

You also have to look at whether their major stats (points, goals, assists, ice time, +/-, corsi, etc.) are generally improving or declining and whether their role on the team has expanded or reduced over that time to get a true sense of the player.

With Gagner, he's at a low and seems, like most of the Oiler youth, to try to cheat for offence and gives up way too many chances during the course of a game. I don't know if he is being a bad example that the others follow or if how the others play is encouraging him to try high risk plays at the offensive blueline, usually leading to a 2 on 1 or 3 on 1 the other way.

Sadly, unless you can replace him through the draft or through a UFA signing, I think that the Oilers are stuck with him until he rebounds and I can't see anyone trading anything more than a generic depth player for him or a non-first round draft pick.

In fact, if we can get a different 2C, I would shift him to the wing on a line with defensively responsible partners (Gordon?) and bench him as and when needed to drive home that he's on a short leash until he learns. Hopefully, a more rounded player emerges, otherwise, take your peanuts in a season or two, move on, and try again with a new player.

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#21 Tuningout
March 18 2014, 10:50AM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Why are people so hard for Draisaitl. Ya he is big and talented, but I just got a bad feeling that says bust. I still think if we go with a center it has to be one of the sams. Pick the best player not the biggest.

I think people are assuming the Oilers play their way out of a top 3 pick this year. The Sams are going top three for sure according to the lists right now. 4-6 pick could get Drasaitl possibly.

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#22 baggedmilk
March 18 2014, 10:53AM
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Poor Sam. Guy just cannot figure out the defensive end. If he is around, I'd like to see him playing wing. Too many defensive responsibilities for him where he's at.

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#23 Spydyr
March 18 2014, 10:55AM
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They should have traded him two years ago.They might have got a reasonable return then.

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#24 They're $hittie
March 18 2014, 10:55AM
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TKB2677 wrote:

SO not only do they down grade their right wing position by changing Eberle for Gagner because Eberle is a better player than Gagner and he has the numbers to back that up. But they also do nothing to address the size problem in the top 6? Eberle and Gagner are basically the same size.

Uh center is more important than wing. And who is to say you dont get size in the trade for Eberle.

And again size has nothing to do with it. Trading Eberle 185lbs makes your team bigger than trading Gagner 200 lbs.

It is about a stronger two way center. I would love to see Eberle at center. Than all you people who are still lost in the fantasy of one good season and his play years ago at the wjc would see Eberle for what he really is. A good player with defensive deficiencies who is a 60 pt player and not worth 6M a year,

Eberle away from Hall is not as good, so how much are we really down grading at rw. A down grade at RW to upgrade center is what you need to do.

As for asset management selling eberle high is the right thing to do, and so is not giving away gagner for nothing.

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#25 Jed
March 18 2014, 10:56AM
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Ekblad

Drasaitl

Bennett

Michael Dal Colle

Nick Ritchie.

Oilers will take 1 of these players.

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#26 Beer League Hero
March 18 2014, 10:56AM
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I haven't seen Gagner do much of anything all season but he's not the only Oiler with that problem. I would have no problem shoring up other areas of the team with a Gagner package.

Ideally the Oilers should trade Gagner++ for help on defense or 2C. Looking for a team holding a veteran with a bad contract. Or overpaying a defencemen like Brooks Orpik or Andrei Markov. What about Dan Boyle or Kimmo Timmonen?

As posted today on ON, the team lacks proper veteran leadership that the "core" can bend an ear from every now and then. I think it'd be prudent to watch which teams go far into the playoffs this year and see who Edmonton could pick up from said teams. Ference will eventually be seen as an important piece someday as will Hendricks.

Wouldn't Jaromir Jagr be an excellent pick up? What a mentor he'd be for the boys?

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#27 TKB2677
March 18 2014, 10:57AM
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@They're $hittie

A bust? All he has to do is score mid 40's pts wise, not be a complete train wreck in his own zone, be better than 45% on the dot and most importantly, not be a shrimp and he will be an upgrade on Gagner. Gagner is 5'11 191 according to hockey DB. All of the above is pretty attainable. He's already 6'1, 208lbs at 18. By the time the draft comes around he'd probably going to be at least 5lbs heavier because they typically train like crazy. A year from now he could be an inch taller and probably in the 215-220 range. That alone makes him an upgrade over Gagner.

If he could score over 50 pts at his size, he'd be a HUGE upgrade over Gagner.

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#28 TKB2677
March 18 2014, 11:00AM
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@They're $hittie

Don't look at the Oilers site because they always add more to the players stats. Look at hockeydb. He's listed at 5'11, 191 which is a hell of a lot more accurate. They have Eberle listed at 6'0, 185. I would say that Gagner and Eberle are almost identical in size.

As an example, Iginla is listed at 210 on the bruins site (207 on hockeydb). Carter is listed at 212 on the kings site (212 on hockey db). The Oilers site has Gagner listed at 202lbs. You telling me that Gagner is only 5lbs lighter than Iginla and 10ls lighter than Carter? Come on man get real.

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#29 Tuningout
March 18 2014, 11:01AM
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At least in a trade Gagner is a center (or at least pretends to be). Even with his poor performance I would hope the center in a trade has a bit more value. If the trade is an under performing center Gagner for an under performing winger (or an arguably bottom pairing defenceman struggling to take the next step) I will not be happy.

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#30 They're $hittie
March 18 2014, 11:03AM
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@TKB2677

So you base how you rate players based on size? Thats good to know.

As for Hockey DB that site lists the weight of the player at his first year pro. Gagner confirmed his weight of 201 on the radio.

As for Draisatl Im not calling him a bust, I have a bad feeling about him. Again this is another player being called lazy and uncommited. Sounds a lot like Grigorenko. As for putting up points. Good for him. Still no where near what Gagner did in 2006, and he did not turn out as planned.

To pikc LD over better players Reinhart and Bennett because his is taller is the stupidiest thing we could do.

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#31 @Oilanderp
March 18 2014, 11:07AM
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Has anyone considered option #3: Sitting Sam in front of a compilation of these videos and then slapping him with a woman's leather glove until he screams, 'YES OKAY! THAT'S MY MAN! I HAVE TO COVER MY MAAAAN AAAGGGGH!'

It could work.

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#32 pkam
March 18 2014, 11:07AM
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TKB2677 wrote:

Don't look at the Oilers site because they always add more to the players stats. Look at hockeydb. He's listed at 5'11, 191 which is a hell of a lot more accurate. They have Eberle listed at 6'0, 185. I would say that Gagner and Eberle are almost identical in size.

As an example, Iginla is listed at 210 on the bruins site (207 on hockeydb). Carter is listed at 212 on the kings site (212 on hockey db). The Oilers site has Gagner listed at 202lbs. You telling me that Gagner is only 5lbs lighter than Iginla and 10ls lighter than Carter? Come on man get real.

Oilers site always add more to the players stats? Then why Eberle is listed as 5'11 and 180 lbs at Oilers site when you believe he is actually 6'0 and 185 lbs?

If you don't believe the Oilers site, you can always look it up at NHL.com.

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#33 They're $hittie
March 18 2014, 11:11AM
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E=MC2 not E=HC2

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#34 TKB2677
March 18 2014, 11:16AM
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Personally, I don't believe for a second that Gagner is only 8 lbs lighter than Iginla and 10 lbs ligher than Carter. The supposed numbers say he is but if they stand side by side, there's just no way. You watch Gagner walk into a rink in his suit, then you see Iginla and Carter walk into a rink in their suits. It's not close.

But whatever, it is what it is.

Regardless of where Gagner plays, even if you take him out of center. It still doesn't change the fact that after 7 season, he still can't play defense to save his live. His career high is 18 goals and his career high in points is 49. After 7 seasons, it's a pretty safe bet that in an Oiler uniform, Gagner is as good as he's going to get. Eberle this season in a "down year" is probably going to score 25 goals and 60 pts. Gagner is going to be lucky to get 12 goals and 40 pts. So the center you get back for Eberle better be one hell of an upgrade over Gagner because exchanging Gagner for Eberle on right wing is a drastic drop off.

I am of the opinion that a different center doesn't have to be much to be an upgrade on Gagner. All he needs is a little more size and better 2 way play and he's an automatic upgrade. Getting 15ish goals and 44 pts (which is where Gagner has average excluding the last years shortened year) isn't that hard given the wingers the center will be able to play with on the Oilers.

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#35 Death Metal Nightmare
March 18 2014, 11:20AM
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"The argument for moving Gagner is that he isn’t a two-way hockey player."

FAKE.

the argument is that he is not good at anything and gets carried through his career by better players creating chaos for him. put the defensive stuff to the side for a second and ask yourself how often you see Sam Gagner actual "stir the pot" for the line's he takes part of and how often the more talented players he's paired with create the chaos for Gagner to pick up loose pucks to find an open man or put in a garbage goal.

last snipe goal? who knows

last "highlight reel" play? who knows

one 8 point game and being hot against some russians when youre a teen only carries you so long. the dude is just not that good in the NHL and he's a third wheel.

Lost_in_a_fishbowl_over-analysis_tunnel_vision

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#36 Will
March 18 2014, 11:24AM
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This is a well thought out solution, however it means only Gagner gets the soft parade and only for the purposes of trading him after all his clauses kick in, limiting the places he can go. Trading him for lower value is a tough pill to swallow, but it opens up cap space in order to actually sign a big name free agent for his replacement. What if you sign that guy first but can't trade Gagner, and are now over the cap, after Gagner's clauses kick in. That would really screw a team.

And since the third line needs a replacement for Hemsky anyway, getting Kyle Clifford back is not such a terrible return.

I also don't mind the idea of trading ebs for our centre needs and putting Gagner on the wing. Though that depletes a position of strength RW, to one of relative weakness, making everything hinge on Yak and Gagner.

It is unfortunate to have to trade Gagner when his value is low, but keeping him around for yet another season where his presence stops the likes of Lander or Arco coming up and playing on a value contract, could be the worst decision of all.

The one thing I respect most about Mac T over his predecessor, is his decisiveness. Good or bad, at least the man is trying.

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#37 BobbyCanuck
March 18 2014, 11:26AM
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This is what I take away from all the articles today:

1) Cannot fire Eakins, because we need continuity 2) Cannot trade Gagner until he starts to play better 3)Infact, cannot trade any of the core until they start playing better (RNH,Eberle being the best trade bait)

Personally I want to keep Hall, Perron, and Yakipov as they all seem to display what the Oilers need. (Talent, heart)

Give MacT time, well for me he has had his three strikes

1) Treatement of Krueger 2) Treatment of Smid 3) Gagner contract

Someone mentions that give Eakins the first 15 games next season to prove his worth, and if we go 3-12-2 or something, get rid of him. Realize if we go with that kind of record in the first 15 games, the season is done by the end of Novemenber, much like this one.

Fundamentally we are saying that next season is toast, and we are gearing up for the McDavid sweepstakes, is that what we are saying? If so, you all now know exactly why Katz has zero impetuous to make the team better.

The Kool-Aid is tasting mighty fine in E-town

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#38 ubermiguel
March 18 2014, 11:28AM
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I don't buy Gagner is in a slump. He can be very streaky, this year I'll bet he puts up some nice numbers down the stretch and get near his usual 50 point range. 65 points (pro-rated) looks to be the anomoly.

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#39 merfer
March 18 2014, 11:33AM
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Gagner and Yakipov for Seth Jones. Win-Win

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#40 TigerUnderGlass
March 18 2014, 11:34AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Freudian slip on my part there; naturally I meant Michal Handzus. Man Hanzal's a good player.

I would kill to get Hanzal on the Oilers.

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#41 season not played
March 18 2014, 11:34AM
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It really is too bad the Oiler "braintrust" decided they could use a defenseman who can't skate instead of selecting Boone Jenner in the 2011 draft. I guess you can never have enough left hand shooting defence prospects. Especially if they are family.

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#42 Will
March 18 2014, 11:42AM
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Beer League Hero wrote:

I haven't seen Gagner do much of anything all season but he's not the only Oiler with that problem. I would have no problem shoring up other areas of the team with a Gagner package.

Ideally the Oilers should trade Gagner++ for help on defense or 2C. Looking for a team holding a veteran with a bad contract. Or overpaying a defencemen like Brooks Orpik or Andrei Markov. What about Dan Boyle or Kimmo Timmonen?

As posted today on ON, the team lacks proper veteran leadership that the "core" can bend an ear from every now and then. I think it'd be prudent to watch which teams go far into the playoffs this year and see who Edmonton could pick up from said teams. Ference will eventually be seen as an important piece someday as will Hendricks.

Wouldn't Jaromir Jagr be an excellent pick up? What a mentor he'd be for the boys?

We need veteran help not help from actual war veterans. All the guys you listed are ooooold. At least Markov could be in the league for a few more years.

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#43 Woogie63
March 18 2014, 11:43AM
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@Jonathan Willis

Is getting Myers out of Buffalo possible with Gagner and another part.

Added benefit is you could make that trade right now and settle both teams for the draft.

ie Buffalo takes Ekblad

And Oilers take one of the Centers

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#44 Ed in Edmonton
March 18 2014, 11:44AM
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vetinari wrote:

I think that most forwards and defencemen need about 400 to 500 games under their belt to see what they really bring to the table. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule but it is helpful.

You also have to look at whether their major stats (points, goals, assists, ice time, +/-, corsi, etc.) are generally improving or declining and whether their role on the team has expanded or reduced over that time to get a true sense of the player.

With Gagner, he's at a low and seems, like most of the Oiler youth, to try to cheat for offence and gives up way too many chances during the course of a game. I don't know if he is being a bad example that the others follow or if how the others play is encouraging him to try high risk plays at the offensive blueline, usually leading to a 2 on 1 or 3 on 1 the other way.

Sadly, unless you can replace him through the draft or through a UFA signing, I think that the Oilers are stuck with him until he rebounds and I can't see anyone trading anything more than a generic depth player for him or a non-first round draft pick.

In fact, if we can get a different 2C, I would shift him to the wing on a line with defensively responsible partners (Gordon?) and bench him as and when needed to drive home that he's on a short leash until he learns. Hopefully, a more rounded player emerges, otherwise, take your peanuts in a season or two, move on, and try again with a new player.

It takes about 5 to 6 years for most players to get into the 400 to 500 games range. A good number never reach this number of games. If a player breaks into the NHL as a teenager, maybe the 400 to 500 makes sense. But for a more typical route of turning pro at 20 and 2 to 3 years in the AHL and starting in the NHL at 22 or 23, by the time they have 400 to 500 NHL games they are probably getting past their best before date.

But if your point is that Gagner is at the 400 to 500 game range and that there is no reason to expect improvement, I totally agree.

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#45 Guy Lafleur
March 18 2014, 11:44AM
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I would keep Gagner and Trade NUGE for a real 1st line centre , one who has more strength than a small child .

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#46 Dan
March 18 2014, 11:45AM
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Can they afford too??? The edmonton oilers are the worst team in the league. They can afford to trade anybody! They can't get worst! They can trade everyone for draft picks and build a team completely made up of free agents and they wouldn't be worst then they are right now! It's a joke to suggest anyone on this team can't or shouldn't be traded

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#47 zoolander
March 18 2014, 11:46AM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

props to 1260 here...

Hanzal...He's so hot right now....

Are you kidding....His blue-steel needs a lot of work.

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#48 Al Low
March 18 2014, 11:46AM
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Great points in this article. It would be ideal for Gagner to be playing up to his potential and then trading him. But with that not happening, he'll likely be dealt for another underperformer with potential. At the end of the day, though, Gagner won't be here when Edmonton finally finds its way back into playoff condition.

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#49 gcw_rocks
March 18 2014, 11:48AM
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Here's to hoping Grabovski, Markov, Kulimen, and Hainsey hit the free agent market this summer.

CAPGEEK.COM ARMCHAIR GM ROSTER. Oilers 2014/15 FORWARDS

Taylor Hall ($6.000m) / Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($6.000m) / Jordan Eberle ($6.000m) 

David Perron ($3.813m) / Mikhail Grabovski ($5.000m) / Nail Yakupov ($0.925m) 

Matt Hendricks ($1.850m) / Boyd Gordon ($3.000m) / Nikolai Kulemin ($2.800m) 

Roman Horak ($0.605m) / Anton Lander ($0.851m) / Mark Arcobello ($1.060m) 

Jesse Joensuu ($0.950m) / 

DEFENSEMEN Andrei Markov ($8.000m) / Jeff Petry ($3.800m) 

Ron Hainsey ($4.000m) / Justin Schultz ($2.874m) 

Martin Marincin ($0.730m) / Andrew Ference ($3.250m) 

Oscar Klefbom ($0.894m) / 

GOALTENDERS Viktor Fasth ($2.900m) 

Ben Scrivens ($2.300m) 

------CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)(estimations for 2014-15)SALARY CAP: $71,100,000; CAP PAYROLL: $67,601,292; BONUSES: $3,340,000CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $3,498,708

Markov number is big because I only want a two year deal. Better to pay big for two years and let Nurse replace him them get locked to a long term over 35 contract. I, of course, guessed at what the RFAs are going to get.

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#50 Beer League Hero
March 18 2014, 11:49AM
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Will wrote:

We need veteran help not help from actual war veterans. All the guys you listed are ooooold. At least Markov could be in the league for a few more years.

You are not wrong but with such a young roster one or two of these vets would provide what the kids could really use. They'd only be on short term contracts in order for the kids to have a little buffer.

I can't honestly see any of them signing in Edmonton for anything less than an island off the shores of Thailand but it's what they bring to the team as oppose to what the take away from it.

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