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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#51 fasteddy
March 18 2014, 12:06PM
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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.

Totally agree. I'm certainly no expert, but watching him a couple times I was not impressed. Reinhart on the other hand looks fantastic to my eyes; so intelligent and virtually always makes the right play.

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#52 RexHolez
March 18 2014, 12:07PM
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This rebuild hasn't been a failure, it's been a disaster! 4 years into it and I still don't know what type of team they're trying to build

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#53 RT26
March 18 2014, 12:09PM
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Do you move Gagner to wing on the second line? Bring in a Dubinsky or Couturier (if that is even possible) and play Gagner on the RW with Perron on the left.

I think Gagner is a quality player if used right, but he is not the holistic center that we need.

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#54 Tikkanese
March 18 2014, 12:14PM
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I agree with JW. Keep Gagner at least until his trade value increases. Or doing an underachiever swap, such as Gagner for Myers.

What if Gagner suddenly learns to play two-ways? Do you still trade him? Gagner's offense cannot be learned at the NHL level, defense can.

It took Yzerman years to finally buy in to playing defense(not that Gagner is Yzerman). Stranger things have happened. Fedorov went from being a Hart winning center to an almost Norris caliber defensemen.

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#55 **
March 18 2014, 12:14PM
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So the suggestion here, based on current ice time, is to send out the fourth line for the lion's share of defensive zone starts just so Gagner can score maybe 10 more points. Am I the only one seeing a problem with that?.

Gagner is on pace to score just about 5 points below the average he's scored in all his career, so from the point production point of view I don't see his value diminishing that dramatically, and I don't see it improving that dramatically next season with sheltered minutes.

Move him in the summer, maybe in a package. HE would never bring a top d man or a legit second line center back by himself at any point anyways.

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#56 **
March 18 2014, 12:15PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

I agree with JW. Keep Gagner at least until his trade value increases. Or doing an underachiever swap, such as Gagner for Myers.

What if Gagner suddenly learns to play two-ways? Do you still trade him? Gagner's offense cannot be learned at the NHL level, defense can.

It took Yzerman years to finally buy in to playing defense(not that Gagner is Yzerman). Stranger things have happened. Fedorov went from being a Hart winning center to an almost Norris caliber defensemen.

YEah, let's keep working with the "what if" strategy, it has worked great so far.

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#57 Dave
March 18 2014, 12:18PM
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** wrote:

So the suggestion here, based on current ice time, is to send out the fourth line for the lion's share of defensive zone starts just so Gagner can score maybe 10 more points. Am I the only one seeing a problem with that?.

Gagner is on pace to score just about 5 points below the average he's scored in all his career, so from the point production point of view I don't see his value diminishing that dramatically, and I don't see it improving that dramatically next season with sheltered minutes.

Move him in the summer, maybe in a package. HE would never bring a top d man or a legit second line center back by himself at any point anyways.

Can we hire you to be G.M?

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#58 chris
March 18 2014, 12:19PM
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gagner has no trade value because he sucks, and he will suck next year too. let him go.

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#59 A-Mc
March 18 2014, 12:20PM
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TKB2677 wrote:

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?

It certainly doesnt look like there's much room there!

Given the tight situation, assuming gagner has little value, MacT should probably remain fully focused on improving the defense.

If there are little to no forward changes, An improved D core will help the team considerably i think.

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#60 mayorblaine
March 18 2014, 12:21PM
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i like Gagner. i like his effort, his willingness, his team mentality.

that aside we should trade him for what we need, and not keep for what we hope. he won't be more than he is. which is ok, but not here.

of course like stated prior, he should have been gone before, when the asset had value. management can't foreshadow worth a crap.

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#61 Bucknuck
March 18 2014, 12:21PM
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Or they could have just signed Arcobello to a one way contract. I've seen enough to think he's an upgrade defesively on Gagner and with decent wingers (and playing Centre) his production would be similar to Gagners.

No trade needed, and they could concentrate on getting a defender, which is what the team needs most.

Arco might not be a long term solution (read "probably not") but hes a cheaper and better option that Gagner.

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#62 **
March 18 2014, 12:23PM
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TKB2677 wrote:

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?

If the Oilers followed JW's recommendations, Dubnyk would still be on net, Hemsky would still be here, Khabibulin would have been resigned, Horcoff would still be here, and nothing would ever change, because the team would still be terrible and no one would increase their value. Hell eve Jason Strudwick would probably be here still.

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#63 Realist
March 18 2014, 12:24PM
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4 years ago when the mighty brain trust started this rebuild was the strategy to build 2 lines of soft skill forwards, 2 lines of meatheads and hope to piece whatever you can on defence and throw 2 unproven guys in net?? What a great plan! It's amazing we're not winning cups already

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#64 **
March 18 2014, 12:25PM
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Dave wrote:

Can we hire you to be G.M?

I hope you weren't trolling because I just felt respected. *leans back on his chair and nods approvingly*

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#65 freelancer
March 18 2014, 12:28PM
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@fasteddy

Lots of scouting reports that are pegging him for NHL ready for next season, not overly physical but uses his size well to protect the puck. Great vision. Has been getting Kopitar comparable so far.

Never a big fan of comparable, but especially since I think that Reinhart will be out of our reach and possibly Ekblad, Draisaitl seems like a good choice. If he is NHL ready I would put him on the third line, leaving Gagner or a new replacement still on the second.

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#66 FuManShu
March 18 2014, 12:30PM
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fasteddy wrote:

Totally agree. I'm certainly no expert, but watching him a couple times I was not impressed. Reinhart on the other hand looks fantastic to my eyes; so intelligent and virtually always makes the right play.

Did you happen to see Draisaitl at the WJC? If you're basing your viewings on that, remember the supporting cast he had around him compared to Ekblad or Reinhart.

Just saying.

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#67 A-Mc
March 18 2014, 12:30PM
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The Yak fan club is going to hate this, but why not send Yak to OKC, Move Gagner to wing, and fill Center with either Lander/Arco/UFA/DraftedCenterman.

By and large, Yakupov has been relatively ineffective in the NHL this season. He is in a state of transition and i think he could develop his game faster down in OKC.

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#68 Smokey
March 18 2014, 12:31PM
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I look at it like this. You got 5 million to sign a different player and trade Sam. Get what you can, get out. Pull a Sather.

The only problem is the mismanagement could not lure a sewer rat with french turd, and FA like the perception that the organization is not a Mickey Mouse outfit.

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#69 **
March 18 2014, 12:31PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Or they could have just signed Arcobello to a one way contract. I've seen enough to think he's an upgrade defesively on Gagner and with decent wingers (and playing Centre) his production would be similar to Gagners.

No trade needed, and they could concentrate on getting a defender, which is what the team needs most.

Arco might not be a long term solution (read "probably not") but hes a cheaper and better option that Gagner.

Gagner came back too soon from injury because he felt steps on his roof. With Arcobello playing so well, he started making some people look bad. With the unexplained love lust this organization has for Gagner, they couldn't let that happen, so he came back and sucked the big one at the expense of Arcobello's superior play.

I agree with JW when he says size isn't everything, Arcobello on a second line in San Jose for example would be dynamite. THe problem with the Oilers is not that they don't have big centers, but that their centers are not good enough (I still think Nuge will get there) and that, although size isn't everything, it is important to have in the mix(size with skill, not a Joenssu), and the Oilers top six completely lack in that department. (this is specially true in the Oilers division with the California teams leading the charge).

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#70 Rod from Viking
March 18 2014, 12:31PM
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** wrote:

I hope you weren't trolling because I just felt respected. *leans back on his chair and nods approvingly*

Your observation was bang on so keep nodding, I just hope your last name is Lumley then even Katz will agree with you and the media scrums would be fantastic.

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#71 **
March 18 2014, 12:33PM
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A-Mc wrote:

The Yak fan club is going to hate this, but why not send Yak to OKC, Move Gagner to wing, and fill Center with either Lander/Arco/UFA/DraftedCenterman.

By and large, Yakupov has been relatively ineffective in the NHL this season. He is in a state of transition and i think he could develop his game faster down in OKC.

This is a perfect example of shuffling the chairs on the Titanic.

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#72 Smokey
March 18 2014, 12:33PM
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A-Mc wrote:

The Yak fan club is going to hate this, but why not send Yak to OKC, Move Gagner to wing, and fill Center with either Lander/Arco/UFA/DraftedCenterman.

By and large, Yakupov has been relatively ineffective in the NHL this season. He is in a state of transition and i think he could develop his game faster down in OKC.

Better idea, can the largely ineffective coach responsible for implimenting a system where many have been unsuccessful.

But the supporters would say, no we want continuity. To which I say continuity of what?

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#73 A-Mc
March 18 2014, 12:34PM
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** wrote:

This is a perfect example of shuffling the chairs on the Titanic.

My suggestion was based off the Assumption that we weren't going to move Gagner due to low value.

My vote would be to move him anyway as long as it wasnt for picks.. But if we HAVE to keep him, i would take him out of that Centerman position and put someone in there that will be either 1) more defensively responsible or 2) Produce more points

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#74 Spoils
March 18 2014, 12:36PM
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I sincerely hope the Oiler Mgt is reading this article.

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#75 freelancer
March 18 2014, 12:36PM
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@A-Mc

At this point I think the last thing Yak needs is to go down to a league he will dominate in. Remember last season during the lockout when Ebs Hall and Nuge played in OKC. Lots of people, including Krueger I believe saying how they developed some bad habits down there.

Yak has shown this season to be an incredibly effective player when he is engaged, it's consistency he lacks. Can't look to shelter him anymore.

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#76 A-Mc
March 18 2014, 12:36PM
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Smokey wrote:

Better idea, can the largely ineffective coach responsible for implimenting a system where many have been unsuccessful.

But the supporters would say, no we want continuity. To which I say continuity of what?

Yaks problems aren't a result of coaching. He wasn't very effective for 80% of last season as well.

It doesnt take a talent scout to see that yak needs work. i dont think there's anything wrong with sending him down to OKC to get top line minutes and to play in all situations, while still working on his defensive game (where he's allowed to make mistakes and can be supported better than up with the NHL club).

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#77 A-Mc
March 18 2014, 12:39PM
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freelancer wrote:

At this point I think the last thing Yak needs is to go down to a league he will dominate in. Remember last season during the lockout when Ebs Hall and Nuge played in OKC. Lots of people, including Krueger I believe saying how they developed some bad habits down there.

Yak has shown this season to be an incredibly effective player when he is engaged, it's consistency he lacks. Can't look to shelter him anymore.

Hall Nuge and Ebs were a line that dominated together. It's different when there are 3 of them together as opposed to just 1 guy (yak) by himself.

If bad habits are forming then that is on Todd Nelson.. Yak would be there to develop his defensive game and regain offensive confidence, which i dont think is an unrealistic expectation.

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#78 Total Points
March 18 2014, 12:39PM
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Eakins should have played Arco as the second line center all year and put Gagner on the wing or 3rd line center until his health improved.

Now most Oiler fans want Gagner gone. Not his fault that he was played on 1st or 2nd line before he was ready to return to form from his injury. Then he lost his confidence

Very poor coaching led to this. Again, another poor decision by management. MacT should have helped his rookie coach with this.

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#79 dman
March 18 2014, 12:42PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

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.

Calling him a bust is exactly what you did. See comment #15

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#80 Ed in Edmonton
March 18 2014, 12:43PM
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A-Mc wrote:

The Yak fan club is going to hate this, but why not send Yak to OKC, Move Gagner to wing, and fill Center with either Lander/Arco/UFA/DraftedCenterman.

By and large, Yakupov has been relatively ineffective in the NHL this season. He is in a state of transition and i think he could develop his game faster down in OKC.

I think it is quite obvious to all unbiased observers that Yak should not have played in the NHL this year. A year to develop a more full range of skills in the AHL could have only helped. Development of Arcabello, Marincin and maybe Ladner and Klefblom all suggest a year or 2 or 3 in the AHL can be beneficial.

Unfortunately I think Yak has now played in more than 100 NHL games and would need to clear waivers. An opportunity lost.

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#81 Tikkanese
March 18 2014, 12:43PM
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** wrote:

YEah, let's keep working with the "what if" strategy, it has worked great so far.

Same could be said for the sell low buy high strategy that has been going on for longer than the what if strategy in Edmonton.

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#82 Will
March 18 2014, 12:44PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Or they could have just signed Arcobello to a one way contract. I've seen enough to think he's an upgrade defesively on Gagner and with decent wingers (and playing Centre) his production would be similar to Gagners.

No trade needed, and they could concentrate on getting a defender, which is what the team needs most.

Arco might not be a long term solution (read "probably not") but hes a cheaper and better option that Gagner.

^This all day... sort of.

He's a better replacement for Gagner, but really not what the team needs. We need a bonafide 2nd line centre, not an upgrade on a questionable one.

Legwand, Stasny, just get one of em. Trade Gagner away for anything to remove his contract from the cap. Use the extra money to sign a decent name on D, like Markov for the time being.

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#83 GoCanadaGo
March 18 2014, 12:44PM
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Can we find out what Robyn Brownlee thinks about Gagner?

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#84 **
March 18 2014, 12:53PM
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Well there is talk of Bogdan Yakimov coming over this summer. He's Yakupov's homie, plays center, is a massive human being at 6'5, 210 pounds and did some scoring on depth minutes in the KHL this season (7 goals and 12 points in 33 games). It would be interesting to see him at training camp.

On a side note, keeping with JW's awful recommendations, he suggested to trade for David Clarkson back in December:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/12/14/should-the-edmonton-oilers-trade-for-toronto-maple-leafs-forward-david-clarkson/

These are Clarkson's numbers so far: 47 games, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, plus/minus -7, $5,250,000 cap hit until 2020.

So, there's that.

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#85 **
March 18 2014, 12:54PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

Same could be said for the sell low buy high strategy that has been going on for longer than the what if strategy in Edmonton.

Please elaborate.

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#86 Jordan1126
March 18 2014, 12:59PM
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Hi Everyone Sam Gagner here....no I will not play defence....oops i mean eat green eggs and ham

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#87 MessyEH
March 18 2014, 01:00PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

I agree with JW. Keep Gagner at least until his trade value increases. Or doing an underachiever swap, such as Gagner for Myers.

What if Gagner suddenly learns to play two-ways? Do you still trade him? Gagner's offense cannot be learned at the NHL level, defense can.

It took Yzerman years to finally buy in to playing defense(not that Gagner is Yzerman). Stranger things have happened. Fedorov went from being a Hart winning center to an almost Norris caliber defensemen.

66 and 99 say Fedorov was the best player they ever played against. He was really a special player.

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#88 Ed in Edmonton
March 18 2014, 01:10PM
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** wrote:

If the Oilers followed JW's recommendations, Dubnyk would still be on net, Hemsky would still be here, Khabibulin would have been resigned, Horcoff would still be here, and nothing would ever change, because the team would still be terrible and no one would increase their value. Hell eve Jason Strudwick would probably be here still.

JW like most in the Edmonton media quickly get man crushes on most in copper and blue.

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#89 Jordan1126
March 18 2014, 01:13PM
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i think the oilers should trade gagner so he gets his vibe back on a better team and becomes the next doug weight

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#92 **
March 18 2014, 01:24PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Are you the only one who doesn't realize that Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks and insert-a-winger are currently the guys getting most of the defensive zone starts?

All I'm suggesting is that this continues, but perhaps with fewer of them against quality opponents.

You said to bump Gordon to the 4th line, I am well aware his line right now is getting most of the defensive zone starts (hence why I wrote about them getting the lion's share of the d zone starts, if you bothered to read my post), that is the whole point of my argument, you are suggesting bumping these guys down to the fourth line, which will either reduce their ice time, giving them less d zone starts, and that, please explain to me how that is a good idea given the excellent job they are doing.

And the supposed payoff is so Gagner can marginally improve his trade value.

The other outcome is that the fourth line ends up playing 3rd line minutes because they will continue to be used massively on d zone starts, and that ice time will have to be cut somewhere else. Again how would that help the team? The bottom line is you are suggesting drastically altering the dynamic of the team based on marginally improving the performance of an average player. I personally believe a team should not revolve around one player, let alone a Gagner. Unless maybe he is a Kobe Bryant or a Dan Marino or a Wayne Gretzky.

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#93 oilerjed
March 18 2014, 01:35PM
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@Jonathon Willis

"That puts Nugent-Hopkins’ line in the power-vs.-power role"

RNH has shown this year that he isnt ready for this role and fact is he may not be. Dont you feel that getting worked over on a bi-nightly basis would be bad development for Nuge? Would trying to land Statsny fill a void of 1Ca and Nuge 1Cb for a year two.

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#94 BaconWrapped
March 18 2014, 01:38PM
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** wrote:

I hope you weren't trolling because I just felt respected. *leans back on his chair and nods approvingly*

You sir, just earned a prop. And I never prop.

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#95 **
March 18 2014, 01:40PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Umm... have you ever read anything by me?

Here's what happens when you Google "Jonathan Willis" and "Nikolai Khabibulin". Have a gander.

Out of all I disagree with you in my previous comments on this article, I would have expected a reply about David Clarkson, good on you for pointing out you agreed with everyone else in the league regarding Khabibulin.

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#96 **
March 18 2014, 01:42PM
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BaconWrapped wrote:

You sir, just earned a prop. And I never prop.

Much obliged, oh deliciously named stranger.

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#98 **
March 18 2014, 01:48PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Except for the 80% of fans polled here who approved of that contract. Or, perhaps more pertinently, the people actually running the team.

I never liked Clarkson, and I am the one you're replying to. And you giving credence to the people running a team 8 years out of the playoffs, hmmm.... I know you can make a better argument than that. I can assure you Mac. T. is praying hail marys every night thanking the heavens Clarkson didn't sign here. Pretty much what you are predicting for Hendricks is what is happening to Clarkson right now. IF you are talking about khabibulin then I'm confused as to what your point is.

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#99 oilerjed
March 18 2014, 01:54PM
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** wrote:

Well there is talk of Bogdan Yakimov coming over this summer. He's Yakupov's homie, plays center, is a massive human being at 6'5, 210 pounds and did some scoring on depth minutes in the KHL this season (7 goals and 12 points in 33 games). It would be interesting to see him at training camp.

On a side note, keeping with JW's awful recommendations, he suggested to trade for David Clarkson back in December:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/12/14/should-the-edmonton-oilers-trade-for-toronto-maple-leafs-forward-david-clarkson/

These are Clarkson's numbers so far: 47 games, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, plus/minus -7, $5,250,000 cap hit until 2020.

So, there's that.

Thanks for that. My next question was about Yakimov. How ready is he?

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#100 gcw_rocks
March 18 2014, 01:54PM
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I think you want to put the money into the defence, not the fourth line.

Bring in Kulimen, Moss, or Winnik to work with Gordon and Hendricks on the third line. Let them do the heavy lifting. Give hall, RNH and Eberle second toughs and give Perron, Gagner's replacement and Yakupov softer minutes.

Spend the money on defence. Your whole fourth line should not cost more than $3m. Dropping Gordon and Hendricks to the fourth line is cap suicide.

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