2LINE C

Lowetide
April 30 2014 04:21PM

gagner snip

It was a tough season for Sam Gagner. His coverage (as reflected by the photo above) was beyond the pale, his offense was in the pail, and, for part of the season, he was spitting chiclets into the pail! What an awful year. The sun comes up, and it's time to talk. Do the Oilers move on from 89? What should we expect in return?

FIRST YOU GOTTA FIND A GUY......

Many Oiler fans I speak to don't believe Craig MacTavish will be able to find a trade partner for Sam Gagner. I respectfully disagree. He's established himself as an offensive player of note and with goals being a priority every offseason I suspect there will be interest from several cities.

THE VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER

centers sledgehammer

This is the Vollman Sledgehammer for all the players who spent time at center this season. You can make your own Sledgehammer below, courtesy Rob Vollman.

Player Usage Charts.

The bubbles represent "Corsi on" which is shot differential*. Blue bubbles are good, but there's no blue bubble in the chart. The best way to explain it might be this: Arcobello's bubble is the color of small crime, like you took a Coca-Cola from the pool hall. Nuge and Gagner's bubbles would be a larger crime, maybe theft over $1,000 or something. Gordon and Acton need a lawyer.

However, that's only one side of the issue. Nugent-Hopkins is facing the toughest available opposition, so despite a big break on zone starts (he gets the cherry minutes there, close to 60% because offense). Gagner faces the second toughest opposition, but also gets great zone starts because offense.

Gordon? He's over at Shawshank, in the laundry room. Gordon's 5x5 zone start is a bear, and he's facing the other team's best offensive players—this is probably worth $3 million a year, but there are days when Gordon probably feels like driving to the airport and heading to Cancun.

Ryan Smyth is in a tougher part of the graph, and Arcobello gets under 50% zone starts but isn't facing the toughest opps available.

PROBLEMS WITH GAGNER....

The real issue for Gagner in this graph is the location of his bubble. A man with his experience -- even an offense-first player -- should be trusted with more severe zone starts and to take the tougher opps from the 21-year old phenom. Gagner never was that player as an Oiler. The big pants were worn by Horcoff and now Gordon this past season.

And that's really the issue with Gagner, and the reason he'll be dealt to the Islanders or the Hurricanes or the Panthers. The Oilers need a more complete player, certainly until RNH can handle the Kopitars and the Toews of this world.

And Gagner isn't that guy (see photo above) because he's never been that player. Not in junior, not in 2007 as a rookie nor in 2010 or 2012. Not before Kassian and certainly not after.

VALUE...

Sam Gagner has value. A team that can move his bubble down toward the Arcobello bubble, and maintain the quality zone starts, is probably getting a 50-point player.

Edmonton? They need a more complete player. Full stop. That's it, that's all.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

FAILURE

Zack Kassian is a dink. However, he may have done the Oilers a favor. This season, where Sam Gagner's limitations were on display while his offense struggled, pointed out a major hole in the team's center depth chart.

The Edmonton Oilers may choose to move him to the wing, but at this point we've probably seen the end of Sam Gagner's Oiler career as a center. The market for centers who can score against the soft parade is strong, but Edmonton needs a more complete pivot.

Surely the 2013-14 season proved it beyond a doubt.


* From Extra Skater

Corsi is the number of shot attempts by a team or player. In other words, it's the sum of a team or players's goals, shots on net, shots that miss the net, and shots that are blocked. It's used as a proxy for puck possession: since we can't (yet) measure how long a player or team has possession of the puck, we use corsi as an approximation. We're interested in puck possession because you can't score if you don't have the puck (and the team that has puck more often usually wins). For players, we usually measure "on-ice" corsi, or all of their team's shot attempts while they're on the ice.

Source.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#101 David S
May 01 2014, 02:20PM
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TKB2677 wrote:

Here is the thing that bothers me every time I hear about the lock out shortened season and Gagner's point "projection". This is all just speculation. If Gagner had of kept scoring at the pace he was, then sure he COULD of scored 60+ points. But he didn't. None of us have no idea what would of happened if that was a full season.

That was 1 season. What about the other 5 seasons before never getting past his 49 pt rookie total? What about the 5 seasons before of never scoring even 20 goals?

The fact remains, 6 out of the 7 seasons that Gagner has been with the Oilers, his scoring numbers are below average 2nd line numbers. He's getting paid as if he is a very good second line player and he isn't. He has 6 seasons of evidence that say he isn't a good second line player. So I find it ridiculous that the Gagner lovers cling on to 1 shortened season as being reason to say Gagner is great.

Here's another damning thing. Look at his numbers when he played in Europe. Gagner signed in the Austrian league which isn't even a top league in Europe and scored 20 pts in 21 games. If you are in a second tier European league, playing mostly against guys who if they are lucky, might make a few NHL minor league teams but never the NHL, shouldn't you be lighting it up? When Eberle played in OKC during the lock out, he DOMINATED. He had 51 pts in 34 games. Gagner in a second tier league couldn't even score a point a game.

Maybe doing 30 seconds of homework before you post up might be an idea. It'll help minimize the stupid.

"17 teams have their second best scoring centre scoring at a slower pace than the Sam Gagner’s 0.627 points per game pace from last season. That means by re-signing Gagner, the Oilers have a second option at centre ice behind RNH who is a more proficient scorer than what over half of the league’s teams can utilize as their second option. Again, the notion that Gagner can’t score at the level required on the second line again is a pretty shaky argument."

http://www.oilogosphere.com/sam-gagner-vs-the-nhl/swin/

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#102 Zarny
May 01 2014, 02:53PM
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The problem is not Gagner himself per se. Last year he would have led 10 NHL teams in scoring. He would have been 2nd or 3rd in team scoring on every other team except Wsh where he would have been 4th. To be fair, he would have been 4th in Pit too had Letang played more games.

The problem is and always has been that Gagner does not compliment Nuge. Same type of player except not as good with similar deficiencies. If Edm had Toews, Getzlaf, Kopitar, Staal etc or a couple of huge W like Lucic and Simmonds Sam might be a 2C option.

Of course, the Oilers don't and their top 6 F are way too much of the same. 2 need to be changed out and in the Western Conference logic dictates one of the changes needs to be @ C and Sam becomes odd man out.

Gagner will never be world class defensively but nothing is more valued in the NHL than offense. The injury this year was extremely unfortunate as it undoubtedly hurts his trade value but anyone who says Gagner has no value is a fool and clearly hasn't been paying attention to a league that dished out big money to Leino, Weiss and many others with much less potential than Sam Gagner.

Carolina is rumored to be looking to shed salary. Jordan Staal would be a perfect fit to compliment Nuge.

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#103 Ed in Edmonton
May 01 2014, 03:08PM
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David S wrote:

Maybe doing 30 seconds of homework before you post up might be an idea. It'll help minimize the stupid.

"17 teams have their second best scoring centre scoring at a slower pace than the Sam Gagner’s 0.627 points per game pace from last season. That means by re-signing Gagner, the Oilers have a second option at centre ice behind RNH who is a more proficient scorer than what over half of the league’s teams can utilize as their second option. Again, the notion that Gagner can’t score at the level required on the second line again is a pretty shaky argument."

http://www.oilogosphere.com/sam-gagner-vs-the-nhl/swin/

There shouldn't be any argument that Gagner can score at a 2C rate.

However, I also don't think there can be any argument that he is less than a 2C center in pretty much every other aspect of the game.

His best fit would be 2C on a team with a significant physical presence who are solid defensively. Basically the opposite of the Oil.

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#104 trueoilfan
May 01 2014, 03:47PM
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@Ed in Edmonton

Sam may not be a NHL center but he is a NHL player.put him on the wing were his defensive responsibility is much less.i would love to see him in foot races with other teams defence men.the wingers cover the point not the front of the net.

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#105 Ed in Edmonton
May 01 2014, 04:02PM
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trueoilfan wrote:

Sam may not be a NHL center but he is a NHL player.put him on the wing were his defensive responsibility is much less.i would love to see him in foot races with other teams defence men.the wingers cover the point not the front of the net.

Other than the first year when the "kid line" was on fire for the last 15 games, his performance as a winger has not been any better than at center.

The following year the kid line started the year but was so ineffective it had to be split up very early. Since they Gags has had occasional stints on the wing and hasn't shown anything better than at center. Putting him at wing is just shuffling the deck chairs.

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#106 ed in edmonton
May 01 2014, 04:05PM
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trueoilfan wrote:

Sam may not be a NHL center but he is a NHL player.put him on the wing were his defensive responsibility is much less.i would love to see him in foot races with other teams defence men.the wingers cover the point not the front of the net.

BTW, I never said Gags isn't a NHL center. Just that he isn't that great a center and a particularly bad fit for the Oil at this time.

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#107 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
May 01 2014, 07:55PM
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IBleedOilBlu wrote:

"Gordon? He's over at Shawshank, in the laundry room."

I think what you meant to say is that Gordon is over at Shawshank, in the SHOWER room, just dropped a bar of soap and is armed with nothing but a plastic spoon.

I think that more accurately describes his workload this past season.

Oh and while I'm here, my vote is for Sam Bennet.

Lowtide had it right. In the Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne is repeatedly raped in the laundry room. You had the right idea....wrong room.

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#108 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
May 01 2014, 08:35PM
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I've been asking to see Bennett's penalty record to see if they are aggression penalties or lazy penalties. Someone named James McKinlay posted this elsewhere.

"Was interested to see how Bennett's pims compared to Draisaitl's pims. I wanted to break down penalties into aggressive and non aggressive. Aggressive include goalie intrf, roughing, fighting, high sticking, crosschecking, charging, slashing and unsportsman/match penalties. Non aggressive, for lack of better description, were the so-called lazy penalties, holding, interference, tripping, hooking etc..

Draisaitl had 12pims in aggressive penalties and 16pims in non aggressive type. 6 high stick, 2 crosscheck & 4 slashing. 6 tripping, 4 interference, 2 holding and 4 hooking.

Bennett had 74 aggressive pims plus 1 fight major and 3 unsportsmanlike/match penalties. He had 34pims of the non aggressive type. This kid has anger issues: 24 roughing, 22 high stick, 10 cross checking, 4 charging, 12 slashing and 12 goalie interference. 16 tripping, 6 interference and 14 holding/hooking pims.

Of course this is all very scientific (not), but it paints a picture of the two very difference styles of play between these two. Bennett scored as many goals in fewer games than Draisaitl and did it with 4 times as much time in the penalty box. 24 roughing, 10 crosscheck and 4 charging to Draisaitl's 2 crosschecking pims. Size won't matter because no one will escape Bennett unscathed. Draisaitl might be bigger but who cares if he never uses the size.

I never saw Bennett play and only saw Draisailt in 5 games all year. So I'm not able to compare apples to apples but from a stats pov, Bennett is a beast."

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#109 David S
May 02 2014, 12:12AM
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Zarny wrote:

The problem is not Gagner himself per se. Last year he would have led 10 NHL teams in scoring. He would have been 2nd or 3rd in team scoring on every other team except Wsh where he would have been 4th. To be fair, he would have been 4th in Pit too had Letang played more games.

The problem is and always has been that Gagner does not compliment Nuge. Same type of player except not as good with similar deficiencies. If Edm had Toews, Getzlaf, Kopitar, Staal etc or a couple of huge W like Lucic and Simmonds Sam might be a 2C option.

Of course, the Oilers don't and their top 6 F are way too much of the same. 2 need to be changed out and in the Western Conference logic dictates one of the changes needs to be @ C and Sam becomes odd man out.

Gagner will never be world class defensively but nothing is more valued in the NHL than offense. The injury this year was extremely unfortunate as it undoubtedly hurts his trade value but anyone who says Gagner has no value is a fool and clearly hasn't been paying attention to a league that dished out big money to Leino, Weiss and many others with much less potential than Sam Gagner.

Carolina is rumored to be looking to shed salary. Jordan Staal would be a perfect fit to compliment Nuge.

OK. I can buy that. Well put.

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#110 I am the Liquor
May 02 2014, 05:27AM
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Yes we should move on.

No we wont get anything in return.

Buy him out.

Otherwise we will be eating salary to get rid of him or taking on another undesirable contract/player in return.

Should have taken the Clifford deal.

The other option is to hang onto him and see if by some miracle he can turn himself around and then we may actually get something for him. But that may come at a cost of hurting the teams overall performance on the ice, which may or may not be a bad thing considering next year's lottery prizes consist of McDavid and Eichel.

If Sammy can help us get one of those two then it will have been time well spent and we can buy him a fruit cake to take with him to Europe.

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#111 trueoilfan
May 02 2014, 12:02PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

Other than the first year when the "kid line" was on fire for the last 15 games, his performance as a winger has not been any better than at center.

The following year the kid line started the year but was so ineffective it had to be split up very early. Since they Gags has had occasional stints on the wing and hasn't shown anything better than at center. Putting him at wing is just shuffling the deck chairs.

Oh don't get me wrong .I agree it is time to part ways with him. but if we get nothing for him do we have anything in the system that can replace the 50+ points we will loos

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