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 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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#2 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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#3 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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#4 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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#5 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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#6 Spydyr
April 08 2014, 08:34AM
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Addition by subtraction.Byfuglien ,yes please.

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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 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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#11 NJ
April 08 2014, 12:06PM
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Not sure if anyone mentioned this... but I'm tired of the "Piss Hemsky away for nothing" statements.

Hemsky was walking after this season. He will be an unrestricted free agent. So, not moving him for the 3rd AND 5th we got, would've been pissing him away for nothing. Instead we moved him to a team where he is succeeding for what we could get. This was an excellent move by MacT. Period. That's a fact. If you can't recognize that, then reply to this and tell me why it wasn't a good move.

Re: Gagner. In my opinion, Gagner needs a new home. He may go to a contender and be a different player than he is here in Edmonton ala Cogliano. He has a cushy 5 mil contract and he doesn't need to back check to earn it. If he goes to another team and we eat part of his salary, he WILL have to back check or they'll sit his butt. The short version: Gagner doesn't fit here with Yak and Perron. Mac will move him I'm sure for something. If he doesn't, Arcobello fits temporarily and is a defensive upgrade on Gagner. He's also not afraid of round corners.

Buf would be awesome for our team for a number of reasons. He's probably a solid #3, possible #2 d man. BIG. Tough. Or he could slide in and be that big winger we need up front. He also has a wicked shot. Why would that make him awesome? Because depending on what we draft this year, he fills the "other hole". Not to mention he single handedly helped Chicago win a cup by standing in front of Luongo.

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#12 Quicksilver ballet
April 08 2014, 11:55AM
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Can't imagine another enigma like Byfuglien going over very well in Edmonton. Rather have Penner back.

Byfuglien isn't the kind of role model these kids need on that back end.

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#13 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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#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 Ed in Edmonton
April 08 2014, 12:14PM
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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.

And while we are at it, let's turn Phillip Larsen into a battleship shutdown D man.

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#16 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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#17 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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#18 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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#19 Taylor Gang
April 08 2014, 11:55AM
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ColourMeImpressed wrote:

How about Kane?

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

1) We all remember how the Hall at center experiment worked out. That may have cost him a chance at 30 goals this season. Keep him at wing where he excels.

2) From what the league has said about him, Evander Kane seems to be a cancer in the dressing room. I don't have faith in the strength of the leadership in the Oilers' dressing room to turn his attitude around.

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#20 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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#21 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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#22 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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#24 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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#25 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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#26 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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#27 Jay from YYC
April 08 2014, 11:40AM
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Quintessential Gagner pic, good job JW lol

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#28 Cody anderson
April 08 2014, 11:42AM
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I would look at Buf in a heart beat and would gladly throw in a middling prospect.

Draft Ekblad if he is available, if not Drasaital, Reinhart, or Bennett, in that order.

Look for a strong 2 way centre, if one can't be found the team would be stronger with Arcobello in that role than they are with Gagner anyway.

I would use buf on Defence until Nurse is ready then I would move him back to the wing and you have the power forward we have been looking for.

This would fix our D next year and it would look crazy in a few years.

Byfuglien - Ekblad

Marcinin - Petry

Klefbom - Schultz

Ference as your 7th

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#29 blainer
April 08 2014, 12:34PM
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@NJ

100% agree. If gagner is our 2nd line centre next year we are back in the lottery. I do believe if he is traded to a team in the East he could bring his game to a whole new level as long as he is playing with big players to do the heavy lifting for him.He seems to have been a little better as of late so lets hope someone is noticing. I am surprised how some people really believe that we should keep him.. This is a mistake..He has run out of time here..Also agree on Hemmer..Mact maxed out what he could get for the UFA..

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#31 Chris
April 08 2014, 04:45PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Faceoffs are not nearly as important as many people seem to believe them to be.

If you read gregor's article, he mentioned that we are 20th in face off %, and that only one of the teams below us is holding a playoff spot. So if 90% of the bottom 10 teams are out of the playoffs I'd say there's a correlation there!

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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 Will
April 08 2014, 11:50AM
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Cody anderson wrote:

I would look at Buf in a heart beat and would gladly throw in a middling prospect.

Draft Ekblad if he is available, if not Drasaital, Reinhart, or Bennett, in that order.

Look for a strong 2 way centre, if one can't be found the team would be stronger with Arcobello in that role than they are with Gagner anyway.

I would use buf on Defence until Nurse is ready then I would move him back to the wing and you have the power forward we have been looking for.

This would fix our D next year and it would look crazy in a few years.

Byfuglien - Ekblad

Marcinin - Petry

Klefbom - Schultz

Ference as your 7th

I really like this plan outside of the idea that Buf is a big dollars contract, with no eventual place on the team. Anyone of Ekblad (assuming), Nurse, Klefbomb, J,Schultz, or Marincin could emerge as a powerhouse top pairing duo that would command some big money. In that event, then swinging Buf back to RW means demoting or trading one of Yak or Ebs. Not a terrible idea, but it's a big gamble that Edmonton would get return on investment for either of those guys when the time comes to put Buf their.

Not to mention, until that happens, our second line looks pretty poor. Perron, Arco, and Yak? That just isn't going to get it done in the years to come. If when free agency hits, Edmonton can land either Stasny or Legwand, then I would do this trade. After that, I would look at trading Yak or Ebs a year down the line for whatever pieces are needed for that final push to be a contender, or for some serious future picks to ensure the tank doesn't run dry.

Perron, Stasny, Buf is a pretty scary second line. But that sounds like a bit of an armchair pipe dream.

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#34 SmythforMayor
April 08 2014, 05:22PM
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Tim in Kelowna wrote:

Care to elaborate?

I Agree with him so I'll take a crack at it. Arcobello > Gagner in almost every statistical category. Arco proj. 82g= 36 points Gags actual = 36 points sure Sam missed 14 games but he played EVERY shift on the second line with offensive players. Arco played up and down the lineup with grinders... and he's a rookie so obviously we would expect his numbers to get better. Gags point/60 =1.50 Arco p/60=1.84 =/-, fenwick, corsi, face-offs, HITS, whatever... look them up. Arco is a rookie and he plays 200 feet better than Gags. period. He doesn't play small, was leading the team in hits earlier in the year. add the fact that his contract is 4 MILLION dollars cheaper. Arco might not be a long term solution but he is better than keeping Sam for another losing season. And to be honest, I like Sam. This organization rushed him along and ruined him. We have a better option tho

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#35 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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#36 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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#37 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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#38 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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#39 Taylor Gang
April 08 2014, 12:02PM
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JW, have you considered players facing another round of compliance buyouts this offseason? I bet some decent players will be bought out and be looking for cheap deals.

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#40 Craig1981
April 08 2014, 04:05PM
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Trade Horcoff, he is overpaid, that's will fix the team. Trade Hemsky he doesn't try and is a liability on d, that will fix stuff. Penner needs to go, he doesn't "play big", thats what the team needs to fix itself.

.......and here we are with Gagner.

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#41 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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#42 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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 bwar
April 08 2014, 11:35AM
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Tim wrote:

Here's a crazy thought... Get Bufuglien and we have two defence who can also play wing if you count Larsen as well. How might they do together as forwards on the PK? Just blueskyin'....

Someone still has to take the faceoffs.

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#47 Dan
April 08 2014, 11:36AM
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What did we get for hemsky again, 3rd? Then I imagine if we package up gagner with a 2nd and retain half his salary we might be able to get a 5th back

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#48 vetinari
April 08 2014, 12:05PM
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I think it all comes down to the draft. If we take Ekblad, Gagner's likely going to make it to July 1st and be here until at least the last year of his contract when his NTC ends. If we take Draistal or one of the other centres, then Gagner may be expendable, especially with Arcobello in the wings as a backup.

Otherwise, I just can't see Gagner getting moved until the last year of his contract. Right now, his value is at an all-time low and there is too much money and term left on his contract for most teams to take a chance on him. Of course, I didn't expect Horcoff to get moved in the offseason with his contract but it did happen.

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#49 Tim in Kelowna`
April 08 2014, 12:09PM
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I know I'm in the minority here, but shouldn't we think twice about trading Sam Gagner? The Oilers are woefully short of quality NHL players with great attitudes. It's true that Gagner is a bit too small to be an effective 2nd line centre, but who cares?

Why is it always necessary to banish any player that doesn't grow into the exact position on the roster depth chart that he was initially projected to? This Gagner situation reminds me of the Cogliano situation. We traded him away because he was small and wasn't a true top 6 forward. But why is that a problem exactly?

I think trading Cogliano was a huge mistake, and not because is playing so well as an Anaheim Duck, but because he possibly the fastest player in the NHL, works his ass off and is excellent on the defensive side of the puck. I think he is exactly the kind of player the Oilers need right now.

The Oilers clearly need bigger forwards and a competent d-corps, but if trading Gagner isn't going to address one of those issues then why trade him? His cap hit is a bit much, but I think he's worth it when he makes it through training camp without sustaining a devastating injury.

The point is, the Oilers organization and the fans have fallen into this weird pattern of drafting players and trading them because isn't the perfect player. Personally, I think Gagner has a lot more to offer as a player than as trade bait.

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