The hardest thing to do in hockey is score goals. It is even more difficult when you’re a teenager. Sam Gagner is a young man who can impact offense at the NHL level (at a young age) which makes him a very valuable asset. If you’re an NHL team looking for a solid young center, a kid who can make things happen even at a tender age, Sam Gagner might be your man.
Gagner is a difficult player to project because he’s so young. #89 doesn’t have blazing speed, isn’t huge and can’t shoot the puck with great velocity or lightning release. What is there, then, to recommend him? A lot. Grey matter. Sublime vision, butter passes. Sam Gagner writes cheques with his passes that no linemate (save Dustin Penner) can cash. With all of the ridiculous talent on the wing this fall (Hall, MPS, Eberle) one imagines a Gagner-Penner tandem could produce this season’s Calder trophy winner.
Allow me to post some numbers:
- Boxcars: 68gp, 15-26-41
- Shots: 170
- Plus Minus: -8
- Corsi (Rel): 10.9 (2nd to Penner)
- GF-GA ON: 37-43
- 5×5/60: 1.56 (4th among regulars)
- 5×4/60: 5.74 (1st among regulars)
- Quality of Competition: 12th F
- Quality of Teammates: 1st F
- FO %: 47.4% in 709 FO’s
- Offensive Zone FO %: 48.8 (4th easiest F)
This tells us the following: good boxcars (2nd on the team despite missing much of the season); solid plus minus (only three forwards posted a better number) and a ridiculous Corsi number (Oiler fans should be thrilled with that Corsi at 20). His production at EV strength in a lost season was solid but unspectacular, but his PP number screams "give the kid a chance" and one hopes Renney tosses Shawn Horcoff from the 1PP this fall. The Qual Comp/Qual Team means he was playing in ideal circumstances, which is laughable if you watched even a few Oiler games this season. Having said that, he delivered offensively and defensively based on those softer minutes. His faceoff percentage needs work but is improviing and he had a nice offensive zone faceoff number.What does it all mean? Sam Gagner is a solid young player developing quickly. He is a restricted free agent and could be an offer sheet target.
What would a team offer him? Below are the offer sheet numbers and the compensation required to sign a specific player:
- $1,020,348 or below: No compensation.
- $1,020,348 to $1,545,981: A third-round draft choice.
- $1,545,981 to $3,091,963: A second round draft choice.
- $3,091,963 to $4,637,944: A first-round choice and a third-rounder.
- $4,637,944 to $6,183,925: A first- a second- and a third-rounder.
- $6,183,925 to $7,729,907: Two First-round choices, a second-rounder and a third-rounder.
- Over $7,729,907: Four first-rounders.
These numbers are for 2010, the new numbers would be a little higher because of the new cap total. A rival NHL team could offer Sam Gagner a long term contract at 3.091M per season (or this year’s version of that number) and risk only a 2nd round pick (based on these numbers please correct them if they’re wrong or you have an update). Should Edmonton match, an opposition GM has effectively disturbed Edmonton’s cap budget moving forward ala Vanek/Buffalo. Should Edmonton refuse to match, your club has a fine young center at an inflated (but not catastrophic) price. The offer sheet is a very expensive item for an NHL club, and I find it curious that the Edmonton Oilers haven’t been more aggressive in getting Samwise signed to a contract this summer.It is a calculated risk; Steve Tambellini’s cautious approach to spending this summer may end up having a major silver lining.