What Might a Sam Gagner Trade Look Like?

Jonathan Willis
April 08 2014 08:00AM

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Consensus wisdom has it that the Edmonton Oilers and Sam Gagner will likely part ways this summer. If that does happen, what might that trade look like?

All About the Benjamins…

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Even in the summer, the dollars need to make sense, which means that one way or the other the Oilers will likely be taking salary back in any deal involving Gagner. That might mean retaining some salary in a deal that sees a lower-salaried player and/or draft picks come back the other way, or it might involve trading for some other team’s headache.

Who might fit that bill? Here are five possibilities:

Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg. The big defenceman/right wing has been a fixture in the rumour mill thanks to a lousy season with the Jets, and second line centre Olli Jokinen is a pending free agent. The problem here is that Byfuglien’s a better player than Gagner and with Mark Scheifele on the upswing the Jets very well might not be too worried about adding another scoring pivot.

David Clarkson, Toronto. We know the Oilers had interest in Clarkson, we know that things have gone poorly this year for the Leafs, and we know Toronto probably wants to bolster its centre depth chart. I’ve speculated about this previously, but right now I think that contract is just too toxic to take on – regardless of how the Leafs sweeten it.

Tomas Kopecky, Florida. Gagner would bring some much-needed offence to Florida (he’d be tied for the Panthers’ scoring lead if he played there, despite the disastrous season he’s had) and Kopecky would add a big third-line body to the Oilers’ roster. If Florida were willing to sweeten the deal, this might be of interest.

Mike Ribeiro, Phoenix. A point-per-game player in 2013-14, Ribeiro has faded down the stretch in Phoenix and was recently a healthy scratch for the Coyotes. His contract is riskier than Gagner’s, but he’s also been a better player over his NHL career and he’d add a secondary offensive presence at centre Edmonton hasn’t had for a long time.

Viktor Stalberg, Nashville. Like Kopecky, Stalberg’s a big body who hasn’t lived up to his contract, and like Florida the Predators need offensive help.

There are others out there, but these nicely illustrate the player types. Good players on big contracts who have fallen out of favour, nightmare contracts, lesser players who need a change of scenery and other gambles.

The Problem

Craig MacTavish7

The trouble Craig MacTavish has is that his team is still desperately short of NHL players. He’s done a nice job of adding pieces to the mix, but he’s moved some guys who fit the bill (most recently Ales Hemsky) without bringing an NHL player back as part of the return.

He may do it again with Gagner, but if at all possible he shouldn’t. Gagner has his problems and probably isn’t a good fit for the Oilers right now, but moving him out without bringing somebody back opens up one more hole in a roster that already looks far too much like Swiss cheese.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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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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#1 michael
April 08 2014, 08:16AM
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This is not a trade that is going to happen unless another second line center is already signed and or traded for.

The Oilers will get ten cents on the dollar for Gagner. Not in my lifetime have I seen any GM piss away an asset for so little return.

The trade scenarios are all speculation. The most telling fact is that the Oilers do not have another center who can fill that roll. Till they do Gagner stays in Oilers silks.

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#2 1979
April 08 2014, 08:17AM
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Good article! Trading Gagner will be difficult to manage unless they can bring another center back to replace him or draft Reinhart. Personally I think they are hoping to move Gordon and Hendricks to the 4th line with Gazdic/Smyth/Joensuu/???

Then they will try to sign or trade for a couple of 3rd line wingers (like Winnik and Kulimin) to play with Arcobello.

Therefore, I think the Gagner trade depends on the draft, finding a trade with a replacement centre coming back or if he is willing to waive his no trade after the Oilers have secured a replacement in free agency.

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#3 TKB2677
April 08 2014, 08:24AM
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JW. While I agree that Mac T can't keep moving "NHL" players for picks and prospects but I pose this question to you.

If the supposed "NHL" players like Gagner and previously Hemsky are players thats

#1 Aren't being productive in the positions they are occupying. #2 Aren't the right fit for the roles they are occupying. #3 The Oilers with them in those positions aren't winning. #4 Picks and prospects are the only thing you can get for them.

What is Gagner? A small, supposedly offensive center that can't play any sort of defensive, is poor on faceoffs and his one dimension - offense- is arguably mediocre. He's never scored 20 goals or over 50 pts in 7 seasons. This year his worst season to date, he will score 10 goals and not even 40 pts. For a guy that only brings offense, those are brutal stats. When he doesn't score any points, he brings NOTHING to your team of value in any other areas. The team down the highway has a 1st year KID that has more 20 goal seasons than Gagner. How embarrassing is that!!

Other than be a live body, how does it do the Oilers any good to hold on to him especially at his price point? Is it not time that the Oilers put players on the ice with a role and help them win? So if he doesn't do a lot in the way of helping your team win and brings little to your team other than be a good guy and fill out the roster card, what good is he? I 100% hate the fact that the Oilers will be "selling low" but I hate the idea even more of the Oilers continually holding on to guys that aren't helping them win or be better. If you keep holding on to these guys in the hopes that they either develop more or by some miracle, play better so they are worth more, the losing will never stop.

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#4 1979
April 08 2014, 08:28AM
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In this same vein...

Oilers moves this summer:

1.Bring in 2 3rd line wingers, with at least one having 2nd line ability at times.

2. Either find a suitable replacement or keep Gagner.

3. Find a veteran #6 option on defense. Marincin, Petry, Klefbom, Schultz, & Ference will all be back for 1 - 5the and likely 7 & 8 will be one of the internal options.

This isn't necessarily what I would do, but listening to what is coming from Stauffer etc... I think this is what they will do.

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#5 ghostofberanek
April 08 2014, 08:32AM
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Keep him, turn him into a third line checking winger, Cogliano style. It can be done. When injury arises, we have someone to fill in on the top 6.

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#6 Spydyr
April 08 2014, 08:34AM
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Addition by subtraction.Byfuglien ,yes please.

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#7 Spydyr
April 08 2014, 08:36AM
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ghostofberanek wrote:

Keep him, turn him into a third line checking winger, Cogliano style. It can be done. When injury arises, we have someone to fill in on the top 6.

"Keep him, turn him into a third line checking winger."

That made me grunt out loud.Is there some magic pill he takes for this to happen?Have you ever see him "try" to play defence?

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#8 Hemmercules
April 08 2014, 08:36AM
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If Mact could add all 5 of those guys I probably wouldn't complain, not so much Clarkson but any tough veteran is probably welcome here if it fits in the cap. Experienced players with size and likely something to prove after a no-so-great season, worth the gamble in my opinion.

I haven't been an Eakins supporter but after reading that Hall interview I think they need to keep Eakins and the core of this team together. No more flushing half the team and changing coaches. At least let Eakins pick his own assistant coaches though, how Bucky survives every coaching purge I will never know.

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#9 David S
April 08 2014, 08:38AM
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TKB2677 wrote:

JW. While I agree that Mac T can't keep moving "NHL" players for picks and prospects but I pose this question to you.

If the supposed "NHL" players like Gagner and previously Hemsky are players thats

#1 Aren't being productive in the positions they are occupying. #2 Aren't the right fit for the roles they are occupying. #3 The Oilers with them in those positions aren't winning. #4 Picks and prospects are the only thing you can get for them.

What is Gagner? A small, supposedly offensive center that can't play any sort of defensive, is poor on faceoffs and his one dimension - offense- is arguably mediocre. He's never scored 20 goals or over 50 pts in 7 seasons. This year his worst season to date, he will score 10 goals and not even 40 pts. For a guy that only brings offense, those are brutal stats. When he doesn't score any points, he brings NOTHING to your team of value in any other areas. The team down the highway has a 1st year KID that has more 20 goal seasons than Gagner. How embarrassing is that!!

Other than be a live body, how does it do the Oilers any good to hold on to him especially at his price point? Is it not time that the Oilers put players on the ice with a role and help them win? So if he doesn't do a lot in the way of helping your team win and brings little to your team other than be a good guy and fill out the roster card, what good is he? I 100% hate the fact that the Oilers will be "selling low" but I hate the idea even more of the Oilers continually holding on to guys that aren't helping them win or be better. If you keep holding on to these guys in the hopes that they either develop more or by some miracle, play better so they are worth more, the losing will never stop.

So getting the team to overtime, and deciding the game in the shootout doesn't qualify as "helping your team win"?

Just want to be clear on that.

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#10 Ambassador humantorch
April 08 2014, 08:45AM
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The Oilers will get ten cents on the dollar for Gagner. Not in my lifetime have I seen any GM piss away an asset for so little return.

Except for nearly every trade Tambellini made ever.

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#11 Bringbackslats
April 08 2014, 08:50AM
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JW I have to make exception to the remark regarding Byfuglien's so called "lousy" season. In fact he's had a rather good one putting up numbers ( 20G- 36A-56P) on a mediocre team. And this while playing half a season on defense. According to ESPN his season is now over with an upper body tear. If MacT can finagle him over to our roster, I'm all for it because that guy is exactly what's needed with the versatility of a defender and winger.

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#12 misfit
April 08 2014, 08:51AM
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The biggest problem I have with trading Gagner is that we're not at all capable of adequately replacing him in-house. Which means we'd have to go out and get a legitimate 2nd line C who's an upgrade for the same or less money.

Is anyone the least bit confident we can do that?

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#13 oilerjed
April 08 2014, 08:53AM
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David S wrote:

So getting the team to overtime, and deciding the game in the shootout doesn't qualify as "helping your team win"?

Just want to be clear on that.

That would depend on whether or not he had anything to do with the Oilers needing to come back in the first place. Refresh my memory someone, how many gagner turnovers ended up back in our own net. Not sure how many times I watched Sam coasting in our end locked on to the puck carrier who, who was already covered, and having Perry floating around in the slot and without nary a glance. I have supported Gags for years thinking he would come around. He hasnt, and doesnt look to be making any strides to progress his game. Sorry Sam but so long. And Im not overly concerned with what return we get.

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#14 oilerjed
April 08 2014, 08:57AM
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misfit wrote:

The biggest problem I have with trading Gagner is that we're not at all capable of adequately replacing him in-house. Which means we'd have to go out and get a legitimate 2nd line C who's an upgrade for the same or less money.

Is anyone the least bit confident we can do that?

I know hes not the ideal replacement but if it comes down to it Acrobello is an in house replacement. He may not get the points but he will give up less to balance it out. Then the pressure is on the wingers to produce.

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#15 Neilio
April 08 2014, 08:58AM
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The Byfuglien trade is the only one I'd do. If we're trading our 24 year old 2nd line center, we better not be taking on poison contracts or aging players that have never put up as much points as Gagner, on GOOD teams. We're no longer the franchise that can take an under-utilized guy and polish him into a useful player. This is where careers go to die now.

This article is making me lose hope in this franchise. If this is the type of return we can expect, we should just keep him. Three of those five guys are probably on their last contracts and will be worth nothing at the end. So trading a guy we drafted high and spend so much time developing for third line filler is not my idea of asset management.

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#16 TKB2677
April 08 2014, 09:04AM
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@David S

1 GAME!!! That's all it takes for you is 1 game? That tying goal was a stupid play by Greiss and Gagner was just standing there to put it into the net.

He's got 10 freaking goals and 36 points. He's -28 and is 46.5% on faceoffs. He makes 4.8 MILLION DOLLARS. That's good enough for you because he tapped in a tying goal and made a nice move in the shoot out in ONE GAME?

I left out this seasons stats because it's not done yet but in the previous 6 seasons, he averages 15 goals!! In 4 out of the 6 seasons he's scored 16, 15, 15, 14. Guess what the average is there. 15!!! Guess how many goals Gagner scored next season based on the odds? 15!!!! IS 15 goals for a second line center making 4.8 mill good enough for you? If you add this seasons 10 goals, guess what, his average DROPS even more.

Again I didn't add in this seasons points because it's not over. But in 6 seasons, he averages 43 pts. Is 43pts for a second line center making 4.8 mill good enough for you?

I'm not basing my opinion of Gagner on 1 season. I'm basing it on in in a little over a week, 7 NHL seasons!!! Gagner may be "young" in age but in little over a week he will have played 482 NHL GAMES. HE'S A VETERAN!! Successful teams don't have 7 year NHL veteran second line centers that score 15 goals, 43pts, are below 50% on faceoffs and after 482 games in the NHL still can't play any sort of defense. Plus on top of it think they are worth 4.8 million dollars. Sorry dude, THOSE ARE FACTS!!

I like Gagner as a person but as the Oilers second line center, he's not even close to good enough. I never liked Cogliano and I thought the Oilers made the right choice by keeping Gagner over Cogliano at the time. Cogliano has reinvented himself with the Ducks as a damn good 3rd line winger. Cogliano has 21 goals and 40 pts and makes 3 mill. Gagner right now couldn't hold Cogliano's jock and according to his salary, Gagner is supposed to be 1.8 mill per season better than Cogliano.

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#17 1979
April 08 2014, 09:07AM
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@misfit

Definitely not confident we can do that. That being said, the ideal UFA overp ay for the Oilers this summer is Legwand. Bring him in as 2 C then draft a high end center. Eventually move the drafted to 2 C and move Legwand to 3 C.

Can we get him? I put it at bout 10% probability, but I think that is our ideal Free Agent splash.

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#18 Victor
April 08 2014, 09:07AM
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If Byfuglien is available for Gagner I make that deal in a second, but I have a hard time believing that's the case.

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#19 TKB2677
April 08 2014, 09:18AM
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@misfit

The Oilers have to replace a 5'11 center that has 10 goals and 36 pts, can't play any sort of defense and can't win anywhere close to 50% on faceoffs who they pay 4.8 mill too.

Here's a sobbering thought. John Tavares makes only 700K less than Gagner. Tavares is a top 5 center in the league. Surely for the amount of money Gagner makes, they could find someone. No doubt Gagner is scoring below his average of 15 goals and 43 pts. But for 4.8 mill, I'm sure they could get a guy to score 15 goals, 43 pts but at least have a clue in his own end. Even that would be an upgrade over Gagner.

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#20 Quicksilver ballet
April 08 2014, 09:18AM
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If you added a player besides Sam it might make it more interesting/appealing. Gagner and the rights to Dillon Simpson might fetch something worthwhile, if you retained half of Gags salary. Jeff Petry could very well be a #2/#3 blueliner on a good team inside of two years. I wouldn't be so quick to move Jeff right now, considering his game is taking shape. He could be worth more this time next season if you need to make a move to address another need on your hockey club.

Sit tight and let other teams come to you for then next ten weeks. MacTavish just needs one deal (besides getting Ekblad) to start this ball rolling in the right direction. If Craig could land a 2nd LC or a top pairing blueliner it would help going into next season. Also, see what Holmgren needs for that Zac Rinaldo kid, he would look pretty good along side Pinzzotto and Hendricks. It would give the Oilers a decent VMP line (violent mother puckers). All capable of keeping up with the pace of todays game.

Getting back to Gags, hopefully you could get a second rounder for him if you retained some salary (if he can be moved on his own). The vacancy created could be filled quite easily I'm sure.

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#21 TigerUnderGlass
April 08 2014, 09:19AM
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Faceoffs are not nearly as important as many people seem to believe them to be.

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#22 Jason
April 08 2014, 09:24AM
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I guess Sam Bennett's age was a factor naming him # 1 pick in the draft by

NHL Central Scouting Service

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=713363

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#23 Walter Sobchak
April 08 2014, 09:26AM
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michael wrote:

This is not a trade that is going to happen unless another second line center is already signed and or traded for.

The Oilers will get ten cents on the dollar for Gagner. Not in my lifetime have I seen any GM piss away an asset for so little return.

The trade scenarios are all speculation. The most telling fact is that the Oilers do not have another center who can fill that roll. Till they do Gagner stays in Oilers silks.

I guess you missed the part where the Oilers GM piss away Hemsky for nothing.

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#24 Al Low
April 08 2014, 09:27AM
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Victor wrote:

If Byfuglien is available for Gagner I make that deal in a second, but I have a hard time believing that's the case.

Agreed. Byfuglien would be the perfect add for this team. I doubt he's available, though. The 2 major needs for the team is a 2nd line centre and a top 2 dman. They'll get one in the draft. They may not make an immediate impact but when this team's ready to compete, that's the answer to one of those problems. It's unfortunate Gagner didn't pan out. It would have been nice to have the 2nd line centre crossed off the list but this guy doesn't cut it. He has no commitment defensively and really isn't all that great offensively. The only thing he seems to have perfected his impersonation of Patrick Kane chewing his mouthguard. It's time to cut losses. He may do well somewhere else where he's held more accountable and where he's more committed to the game.

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#25 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
April 08 2014, 09:29AM
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Doesn't matter who will be available or who will leave Edmonton in the coming summer. Oilers need a legit 1/2 Dmen pairing. make it happen.

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#26 DAVE
April 08 2014, 09:32AM
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Big Biff and Arco on the second line, WOW, mutt@jeff 2.0. That would be interesting. lol

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#27 Reg Dunlop
April 08 2014, 09:38AM
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Oilers took a run at Hendricks as a free agent, failed, and then traded for him. It has worked out very well. Didn't they take a run at Clarkson and were rebuffed? I could see Sam playing, and still sucking, for the Leafs next year while Clarkson bounces back as an Oiler.

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#28 TKB2677
April 08 2014, 09:44AM
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If the Oilers drafted Drasaitl and traded Gagner for say a good 3rd line winger, are they worse off? I don't think so.

Drasaitl may not have 482 NHL games of experience but he isn't going to be any worse defensively than Gagner. Gagner doesn't have a clue how to play defense after 7 years and is a legit -28. How much worse can a rookie be? At least with Drasaitl, he's going to be 6'1 - 6'2 and right now 208. By the time the season comes around he will be probably 215 or bigger so just size wise alone, he should win a few more puck battles so that will help his defense. As a rookie, he's going to be more coachable. After 7 seasons with Gagner, I wonder if Gagner is even capable of learning defense. By now some sort of defensive awareness should of sunk into Gagner's game just strictly by experience playing in the league for 7 years, yet it hasn't. He's no better than his rookie year. So obviously he DOESN'T WANT to play defense.

Offensively, all Drasaitl has to do is replace Gagner's 15 goals and 43 points that he averages over 7 years. Hell Monahan has 20 goals, 32 pts and is -18 playing with guys with less skill than Yak and Perron. So no one is going to convince me that Drasaitl couldn't score close to Gagner's career average of 15 - 43 playing with those same guys.

So people need to stop and think about it for a minute when they worry about "who's going to replace Gagner". Go look at the numbers he puts up and what he doesn't do in the other areas that a center is supposed to do and ask yourself, how much does even a rookie have to do to be even at par with Gagner?

The answer is less than you think. Is NHL experience important, of course but at the same time NHL experience is supposed to make you into a better player. Is Gagner a better player today than he was at the end of his first year? According to his offensive stats he isn't. According to his defensive numbers he isn't. So if his game hasn't improved since his rookie year and the only benefit based on the numbers that his experience has got him is what he and his agents salary expectations can be, what good is Gagner's experience?

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#29 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 08 2014, 09:46AM
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Al Low wrote:

Agreed. Byfuglien would be the perfect add for this team. I doubt he's available, though. The 2 major needs for the team is a 2nd line centre and a top 2 dman. They'll get one in the draft. They may not make an immediate impact but when this team's ready to compete, that's the answer to one of those problems. It's unfortunate Gagner didn't pan out. It would have been nice to have the 2nd line centre crossed off the list but this guy doesn't cut it. He has no commitment defensively and really isn't all that great offensively. The only thing he seems to have perfected his impersonation of Patrick Kane chewing his mouthguard. It's time to cut losses. He may do well somewhere else where he's held more accountable and where he's more committed to the game.

Well said.

It's likely a moot point as I doubt Byfuglien will get traded, but think of how "Big Buff" and "Mr. Fitness" Eakins would get along:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/puck-daddy/dustin-byfuglien-weighed-302-pounds-end-winnipeg-season-131116224.html

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#30 Lochenzo
April 08 2014, 09:49AM
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Eakins' penchant for a high level of fitness against Byfuglien's hamburgers and booze consuming, 260 pound frame. Match made in heaven for the scribs!

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#31 SteelStewart
April 08 2014, 09:56AM
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I'd take Arco over Gags any day. Arco actually cares when he's out there and plays an aggressive game. Gags is clueless out there and can't wait to get back to his ridiculously hot finance...

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#32 Quicksilver ballet
April 08 2014, 09:59AM
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Can justify 5.25 for Clarkson if he's a solid 2nd line guy. Not sure if he's really that guy, or a third line guy. The N/M clause might be an issue as well, would he be open to coming here.

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#33 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 08 2014, 10:07AM
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@TKB2677

You make a good point, but for this team to be better than 28th next year, they don't have to just replace Gagner's 15 goals and 43 points, they need to improve on that.

Throwing a first year pro between Perron & Yak and hoping for better than 43 points and solid 2 way play might be a bit of a stretch. In a perfect world, they can still get the 2C of the future at the draft but shelter him with a veteran guy who can be the defensive conscious of the 2nd line while Drasaitl/Bennett/Reinhart learns the pro game.

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#34 etownman
April 08 2014, 10:26AM
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Not one of those suggested trades would interest me!

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#35 ghostofberanek
April 08 2014, 10:35AM
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Spydyr wrote:

"Keep him, turn him into a third line checking winger."

That made me grunt out loud.Is there some magic pill he takes for this to happen?Have you ever see him "try" to play defence?

Bah, all of your comments have that effect on me.

You were likely calling for Cogs head back in the day too. A wingers defensive responsibilities are far less than a centers, and he's got a touch of offensive punch that we could use deeper down the lineup. He's an NHL player that, once again, fans are running out of town.

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#36 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 08 2014, 10:35AM
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What would a Sam Gagner trade look like?

It would look good!

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#37 bwar
April 08 2014, 10:40AM
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Gagner for a third and a fifth.

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#38 gk1980
April 08 2014, 10:41AM
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Neilio wrote:

The Byfuglien trade is the only one I'd do. If we're trading our 24 year old 2nd line center, we better not be taking on poison contracts or aging players that have never put up as much points as Gagner, on GOOD teams. We're no longer the franchise that can take an under-utilized guy and polish him into a useful player. This is where careers go to die now.

This article is making me lose hope in this franchise. If this is the type of return we can expect, we should just keep him. Three of those five guys are probably on their last contracts and will be worth nothing at the end. So trading a guy we drafted high and spend so much time developing for third line filler is not my idea of asset management.

Bologny! Like someone mentioned above. Other then pretty shootout goals and the odd assit or goal, he provides NOTHING else. He is 24 but has been in the league for what, 7 years. If he doasnt get the defensive side of the game now it is most likly he never will.

Give Arco or some one else the same amount of ice time and the 2C role and see what he can do. Gagner unfortunatly in my opinion is a bust.

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#39 zenoil
April 08 2014, 10:42AM
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How stupid do people think Winnipeg management are? They would hang up the phone if Edmonton wanted a Ganger for Byfuglien deal. I don't think any team in the west will want this guy after years of seeing how poor he plays against big teams. Swapping Ganger with Bailey out of the Islanders sounds like the most realistic of trades.

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#40 Virtual_Xi
April 08 2014, 10:45AM
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Mo Playoffs Mo Problems wrote:

You make a good point, but for this team to be better than 28th next year, they don't have to just replace Gagner's 15 goals and 43 points, they need to improve on that.

Throwing a first year pro between Perron & Yak and hoping for better than 43 points and solid 2 way play might be a bit of a stretch. In a perfect world, they can still get the 2C of the future at the draft but shelter him with a veteran guy who can be the defensive conscious of the 2nd line while Drasaitl/Bennett/Reinhart learns the pro game.

I straight up disagree with that. To replace and improve on Gagner's 15 goals and 43 points, they need to improve on a 45% faceoff percentage and a -28. Pretty sure the points will come if you're playing defensively sound with perron and yaks. Let yaks be the offensive catalyst and have a good 2-way centre, perron has already proven he's capable in that role.

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#41 Randaman
April 08 2014, 10:45AM
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etownman wrote:

Not one of those suggested trades would interest me!

Really? I don't see your alternative listed anywhere. I love the idea of going after Legwand and drafting Draissaiti for the third line role until he is ready to move up. With al our D prospects having another year under their belts I don't see the need to draft Ekblad. Nurse will be ready after next year in my opinion. Klefbom and Marcinin are Oilers next year. 2C is the major need

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#42 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 08 2014, 10:45AM
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@TKB2677

It's called compounding your mistake. The Oilers made a mistake when they signed a Gagner to a $4.8 million contract. You can keep him here thereby compounding your mistake......or you can cut bait......as Willis suggests, pay a hefty portion of his contract (1.5 to 2 million) and get a useful roster player back in return.

You made a mistake, there are consequences, pay the piper and move on!

In some ways the Oilers could consider themselves lucky that there's only two years remaining on the contract....the mistake will only cost 3 or 4 million total.

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#45 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 08 2014, 10:56AM
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Virtual_Xi wrote:

I straight up disagree with that. To replace and improve on Gagner's 15 goals and 43 points, they need to improve on a 45% faceoff percentage and a -28. Pretty sure the points will come if you're playing defensively sound with perron and yaks. Let yaks be the offensive catalyst and have a good 2-way centre, perron has already proven he's capable in that role.

Fair enough.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Gagner apologist; he's had a terrible year and an underwhelming career. I'm just saying that counting on a rookie to be a good 2-way center without much veteran mentorship probably won't put this team in the playoffs next year.

I want to see this team in a position where they don't have to rely on a rookie playing meaningful minutes (either 2C or top 4D). They need players that can be difference makers now and provide some shelter while the draft picks develop properly.

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#46 ColourMeImpressed
April 08 2014, 11:04AM
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@Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

Monahan is probably a perfect example. He's had a good season - for a rookie - and he's still not who I'd want to replace Gagner with. He can score but isn't a great playmaker, isn't great defensively, and the only reason his +/- looks better than Gagner is because Calgary has NHL defencemen.

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#47 ColourMeImpressed
April 08 2014, 11:18AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I was actually suggesting a Gagner-plus for Byfuglien deal, but if it helps, I agree with you.

On the other hand, I wouldn't have moved my best defenceman to right wing or signed Ondrej Pavelec, either, so who knows what the Jets are actually going to do.

How about Kane?

Gagner+ for Kane, give Hall a full season at centre?

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#48 Will
April 08 2014, 11:18AM
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This article does a good job of identifying some candidates that could come back this way, but I think it could go further and look at teams that need an upgrade at the number 2 C position.

As it stands, both Legwand and Stasny will be highly sought after by roughly half the teams in the league as both would be an upgrade on either their 1st or 2nd line C. Stasny being the more offensive of the two, with Legwand being older and arguably a better 2 way player:

The obvious teams where both Stasny and Legwand have at LEAST more points than the current second line C are - Edmonton, Calgary, Minnesota, Nashville, Phoenix, New Jersey, Montreal, Florida, and Buffalo.

Then there are teams like Chicago and Anaheim where both of these guys would be upgrades on their second line C's. Chicago looks to be up against the cap next year. Depending on what Anaheim does with players like Hiller, Winnick, Selanne, and Koivu, they could have enough cap room to grab one of these guys. And I suspect one of the two will end up there.

Some of the teams listed though, like Florida, already have a good up and coming one two punch in Huberdeu and Barkov. Phoenix also has good depth down the middle all at really low paying contracts, so it seems doubtful they'll trade one of those to overpay for a free agent.

Other teams are kind of stuck with their contracts. Minni for example has Koivu locked up for years, and will ride Granlund's next two years at entry level before considering an upgrade.

I can't see Legwand going back to Nashville, but I bet they make a big pitch for Stasny. Montreal will depend on if they can resign Vanek, especially since they likely expect Galchenyuk to take a big step forward next year. New Jersey I could see going for one of these guys then keeping Henrique as a 3rd line C.

Finally there are teams like Vancouver who have their 1 two punch locked up, but both played terrible and there could be a shake up in the off season.

What was really surprising is that every fan demanding teams need to be strong up the middle in order to compete, seems to be kind of untrue.

There are teams like Anaheim who are relying on guys like Nick Bonino and Cogliano to fill in down the middle after their star powered top line.

And there are teams like Ottawa and the Islanders who have great production from their centres, and yet are out of the playoff picture.

I did not talk about Calgary simply because they will need so much help I really don't know what their off season game plan looks like.

Dallas could also be another strong contender for one of these guys.

So, I predict one of these guys will go to Anaheim, and the other will be fought over by Edmonton, New Jersey, Minnesota, Nashville, and Montreal (depending). I think Edmonton has enough to offer that they will at least be in the running.

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#49 Bucknuck
April 08 2014, 11:20AM
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I believe that whoever they pick up at the NHL entry draft will have an influence on the trade. If they pick up Ekblad they might look more toward forwards, and if they get Bennett or Draisaitl or Reinhart, then they will be looking to adding more defense.

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#50 Will
April 08 2014, 11:30AM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I believe that whoever they pick up at the NHL entry draft will have an influence on the trade. If they pick up Ekblad they might look more toward forwards, and if they get Bennett or Draisaitl or Reinhart, then they will be looking to adding more defense.

Whoever they pick up should not be playing as an Oiler next year. Whatever the team looks like next year, if they believe these prospects can fill holes, it won't be next year. Not to mention when they do come up, who is here to mentor these kids? The team will need some Veterans who can play as stop gaps and mentors, especially on defence. Having Marincin, Klefbomb, and one of Nurse or Ekblad in the line up next year would be a disaster.

Similarly, having Nuge and a rookie centre as your one two punch would also be a mistake. Granlund in Minnesota, Monahan in Calgary, and both Huberdeua and Barkov in Florida are all good examples of how rookie centres cannot carry a team. Galchenyuk had a great start to the year, but finished a bit lacklustre.

I know you're not saying they should stick our draft pick in the line up or anything, but I still don't think the goal to improve the team should hinge on what might be coming up in a year or two.

I do think, however, most successful teams have that feel good rookie story where one new guy comes in and blows the doors off expectations. Hertle in San Jose. Bonino in Anaheim. And I think Marincin here in Edmonton.

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