Sudden Sam

In the decade that began in 1997-98, no Oiler rookie approached the heights reached by Sudden Sam Gagner. Samwise. The young magician posted a big number as a teenager, and has been chasing it ever since. Is Gagner ever going to get better?

By any measure (except for the ones David Staples uses) Sam Gagner is getting better, making progess. Let’s begin with the easy stuff, the boxcars:

  • Age 18 79, 13-36-49 (.620 points per game)
  • Age 19 76, 16-25-41 (.539 points per game)
  • Age 20 68, 15-26-41 (.603 points per game)
  • Age 21 68, 15-27-42 (.618 points per game)

You call that progress? Yes, yes I do. Gagner has never played on a good hockey team at the NHL level. Team wins by season were 41, 35, 27 and 25. Team GF totals per season were 235, 234, 214 and 193. So, using the brain God gave us Gagner was in on 20.8% of the offense as a rookie and 21.8% of the offense this past season.

Sam Gagner might appear to be running in place, but he is now the best offensive option at center for the Edmonton Oilers. His 5×5 points-per-60 numbers are heading in a good direction too:

  • 07-08 5×5 per 60m: 1.96
  • 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.69
  • 09-10 5×5 per 60m: 1.56
  • 10-11 5×5 per 60m: 1.91

RUN….IT’S MATH!!!!!

My Dad always had a saying that worked during arguments with my Mom. It went something like "if you have to work this hard to prove you’re right then you’re probably wrong." Not a strong argument, but it drove my Mom crazy and that was the end game (Mom and Dad were happily married btw, couples niggle away at each other. Some of us enjoy it!).

Gabriel Desjardins supplies us with a steady stream of information from year to year at behind the net. If he charged a dollar for every visit he’d own my house. I promise this won’t hurt a bit, we’re going to look at two measurements here that are easily explained:

CORSI REL

Let’s first define Corsi:a stat for all the shots directed for and against while a player is on the ice at even strength. Includes shots, missed shots and blocked shots.

Now Corsi Rel: A players corsi rating versus the rest of his team. Calculated by subtracting the team’s collective corsi rating while he’s off the ice from his on-ice corsi rating. Can be used to calculate the relative corsi rating of his opponents for quality of competition purposes.

Both definitions and a very nice guide here.

  • 07-08: 0.6 (7th among Oiler F’s)
  • 08-09: 6.0 (6th among Oiler F’s)
  • 09-10: 10.9 (second among Oiler F’s)
  • 10-11: 7.0 (tied for 4th among Oilers F’s)

As you can see, Gagner has consistently been among the top 6 F’s by this discipline, including last season when he played with the two rookies after Christmas. These CorsiRel numbers are very good, from beginning to end.

ZONE START/END

This measures a lot of things, not the least of which is how much does the coach trust you? During the MacT years with that young 07-09 team Shawn Horcoff didn’t see many offensive zone faceoffs (as an example). Pat Quinn and Tom Renney have been less likely to play the percentages but there’s still a lot to be learned from the stat. Progress would be a larger positive gap between end and start.

  • 07-08: 52.8/53.9 (+1.1)
  • 08-09: 55.4/49.7 (-5.7)
  • 09-10: 48.8/49.8 (+1.0)
  • 10-11: 50.9/53.4 (+2.5)

Overall a very positive number, with one season off the rails (Horcoff was off by 4 points this past season, as an example). The good thing about this is that the 10-11 number was posted when he was playing with two rookies (Omark and Paajarvi) and shoud bode well for the future.

There are some negatives in the Sam Gagner resume. His PP number was poor this past season, but so was Hemsky’s and that guy is a ridiculous PP talent. I’m more inclined to blame the coaching/setup for the failure of the PP (same with PK by the way). His faceoff percentages are poor, and if he’s going to have a career at center improvement needs to be made in the discipline.

However, with summer at its peak (it actually happened Sunday. Did you miss it?) I think it’s time to put it out there: Sam Gagner is the best offensive option at center for the 11-12 Edmonton Oilers. All of Gagner, RNH, Horcoff and Belanger should post solid crooked numbers, but Gagner’s age, resume and skill set suggest that it’s a good bet he’ll grade out as the best available centerman in offensive situations this coming season.

Should Nugent-Hopkins surpass him, it would represent an outstanding debut. Should 89 lose offensive playing time (at EVs and PP) to Horcoff and Belanger, we should consider it a major blow to Gagner’s status as a top flight young player ready to emerge as a difference maker.

  • RexLibris

    I agree in that we have to see what Gagner can do on a good team. He’s not a cornerstone player, but he’s likely to become a good complimentary player on a good team and it would be nice if, when this team is ready to compete, we don’t have to go out shopping for those guys because we have them in our system already. Ideally he’s a second line centre playing with good wingers, preferably ones with some defensive acumen to help cover their collective keisters.

    That being said I think there is one aspect in Gagner that math can’t quantify. This team is going to need a lot of things when they start making the playoffs and Gagner has already proven he can bring this essential quality to the team. I speak, of course, of playoff beards. Did you see his Movember last year? He’s only 22 and he grew a moustache that’d put most lumberjacks to shame. Without Pisani’s Barbarossa to draw on in the postseason we’ll definitely need Gagner to step up there.

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    Does Gagner need to take a step forward this year? Yes he does, the organization is starting to stockpile prospect centers and sooner than later they will be pushing him out of job if he does not show he is progressing.

    What is the top end for Gagner? NOBODY can possibly know at this point in his career. He is 21 years old with 4 years of NHL experience. He could have a break out year this year or the next or he could continue at his current pace. There are many players that take a longer time to develop into great NHLers. Take a look at St.Louis’s numbers…. how many people said he couldn’t improve and would be no better than a 40 pnt. guy?

    • Kodiak

      Agreed he makes plays. Decent to me means above average and I don’t see above average in Gagner’s shot, average at best. His goal totals seem to agree with me on this. Skates by the greasy areas trying to pick the puck out, but rarely is able to fight thru traffic or come out with the puck when engaged. Not sure how you see him as having great anticipation. He’d produce a lot more on the PP and score a lot more goals if he could anticipate plays around the net. He also goes offside a lot and that doesn’t seem to be a trait of someone with great anticipation. If he saw the game better than most he’d be able to play the defensive side of the puck as well. His defensive zone coverage is very suspect, which wouldn’t be the case if he was seeing the game well and anticipating well.

      But of course he will improve his skating, defense and physical play because he is only 21 and all 21 year olds improve. (even though he’s played 4 seasons in the NHL with marginal improvements in any of those areas to date)

      It would be fun to have Horcoff play Gagner’s softer minutes and zone starts and Gagner play Horcoff’s including the PK and see the results. I’m pretty sure the numbers would be pretty interesting.

    • Not to add to an argument, but for every stat that shows Gagner to be a good player, there’s an equal amount of evidence that suggests he’s deficient in other area’s.

      For every ‘you tube’ showing a great goal there’s a video of Gagner getting drilled along the boards.

      For all that say he played with fringe players, he was played with elite talent as well.

      What I need to know is that Gagner can make a huge step forward this year. Not a marginal increase. He has to be faster, stronger, defensively responsible, more points, better face off percentage,leader on and off the ice.

      I’ve been a supporter of Gagner for 5 years, I don’t care how old he is, this is his last year in my books unless he completely takes over the 2nd line center.

      • Lowetide

        Gagner is challenged in the dot, no doubt. I’m not certain how much veteran wingers have to do with that kind of thing but would suggest it’s at least part of the problem (so many kids everywhere).

        He’s also inconsistent on the PP and that might impact him as soon as this season. Although I believe Gagner will be a better PP option than RNH (who has never played in the NHL before) it probably won’t take long for the coach to try something else.

        • Kodiak

          I agree with you on the faceoffs Lowtide. Our wingers have done a pretty poor job of helping in that department. I watched countless draws where the two centermen are tied up, the puck is loose but the opposition wingers take control. I’m betting the FO% of which ever center has Smytty on his left side will go up quite a bit this year.

    • Lowetide

      He’s a beauty player, no doubt. The thing about Gagner is that if you trade him now you better be sure. RNH may come in here and shoot lights out, but that isn’t written in stone.

  • i think everyone could come to the conclusion (in one way or the other) that sam, 21 yrs, COULD have better days ahead of him.

    to me the point however is not what he can be, but what do we need of him and for the team?

    do we think he is a future #2C or can we grow that from within elsewhere/trade.

    what is his value? does that value help us obtain asssets from other teams in areas which we are lacking?

    what is forward strategy of this team, big/fast…skilled/saverage or a mixture of the above?

    the underlying theme of this is that sam is not a bad player….is he a player we need/want/value on our team?

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    pass on Gagner. the dude puts up vulture points. he rarely is creating anything out of his skill, but depends on others to create the chaos and picks up the corpse scraps. we’ve seen Linus Omark create more plays down low in a few games on the boards than Sam Gagner has in his entire career here. not to mention, Gagner has been horrible on the PP not because of the “setup” but because hes so easy to converge on with his lack of foot speed and inability to make deft, quick decisions. we’ve seen it tons of times where a high pressure PK can make that dude cough the puck up, or get knocked off the puck so easy.

    these stats are deceptive for what he really brings to the table because of his physical limitations.

    hopefully he does get better because this stupid “age” excuse is getting old real fast based on the amount of experience he has NIGHT after NIGHT

  • More to the point, it seems here in Edmonton most fans are addicted to “shiny object syndrome”. People are falling all over themselves lauding the next high-rated 18 year-old prospect to come in and blow the doors off, but as soon as a quality NHL’er isn’t putting up a PPG pace, well it’s off to the trash heap with him.

    Maybe you guys would be better off following the Oil Kings. Seats are cheap so you can go and actually watch games in person (something I doubt most do here). Every player is a bonafide lock for a top-tier NHL job only a couple of years away (or so their fans say anyways), and HF boards is always looking for new, young gullible posters.

    Sheesh.

  • billylikestodrinksoda

    I think we got tricked into thinking that because sam put up such extraordinary numbers in his first year, that obviously he would improve exponentially over the upcoming years which of course hasn’t happened. It doesn’t mean that sam’s not a good player or should be traded however. It means that Sam is turning into what most people thought he was the year he got drafted which is a skilled second line centre.

    He’s never going to be a ryan kesler who can shut down the opposition, but at the age of 21 he still has plenty of time to grow and learn the game, especially under the tutelage of Tom. What people get caught up on is the fact his point totals have not caught up to the high expectations that people had set on him after year 1. He will never be a first line centre, and was never projected to be in his draft year. He is what he is and will probably be a 55-60 point 2nd line centre given the opportunity which on any team is a good offensive centre.

    Now if u wanted a shutdown, faceoff winning second line centre, then I understand the negativity towards him, but you gotta give the kid a chance to learn the game at a defensive level from his 3rd coach in his young NHL career. Success in the faceoff dot can also be learned and personally I would like to see the amount of 21 year olds who are perfect at their jobs 4 years in. It takes time to learn and gain experience and as much as 4 years seems like a long time, when your on a last place team that had a piss poor dressing room and little veteran leadership from 07-10, your not going to learn and gain a whole lot if one is thrown into that type of experience

  • After 4 yrs. I would have guessed he’d be more of a contributor by now. He linemates Cogliano and Nilsson are both gone as failed projects. You have to think he may be next if he can’t address his weaknesses and show improvement.

    Would that be the same “Cogliano” that just got a juicy three-year deal slotting him in the top nine of a pretty decent NHL ice hockey team?

    “Failed Projects” FAIL.

  • Clyde Frog

    Try something for me. Ignore Gagner’s stellar rookie season and pretend he only put up 8 points.

    Now look at his career totals, looks like an exciting prospect?

    So offensively he hasn’t smashed down any doors, but please look at the injury history and how we have lacked our top flight offensive players for large stretches..

    Its not like they have been riding him on the first line and giving him nothing but sugar time with our best players…

    The kid has solidified his production as a 2nd line centre, if he progresses great! If not we can sleep soundly knowing our 2nd line will be producing at the clip we need until we KNOW we have a better talent ready to step up.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Exactly, that’s what’s most frustrating about this.

      I think he raised the bar too high his first year and set us up with unrealistic expecations.

  • Jason Gregor

    Since his arrival in the NHL Gagner was all we the Oil really had for a future star. Since the decision to tank and rebuild there has been the obvious influx of talent as a result of the good drafting of TMB and two consecutive 1st overall picks. That in my view puts Gagner’s recent development of cement hands around the net and general lack of speed and quickness out there. He really needs to get his foot speed to a higher level. He regularly turns the puck over in the centre-ice area because he gets caught from behind. Those turnovers are killers. He slows down at the other team’s blueline and starts looking around. If he can’t carry into the zone with speed he needs to start dumping it into the corner and go after it on the forecheck.

    After 4 yrs. I would have guessed he’d be more of a contributor by now. He linemates Cogliano and Nilsson are both gone as failed projects. You have to think he may be next if he can’t address his weaknesses and show improvement.

  • Jason Gregor

    When listening to Nation Radio, I heard Stauffer prognosticating about line combinations and remember him clearly suggesting Gagner would be playing with Pajaarvi and Omark this coming season, likely with RNH landing between Smyth and Eberle, and Horcoff Centering Hall and Hemsky, and Belanger looking after the 4C role.

    If Bob is correct in that prediction, do you think its a tell from the organization about Sam’s value to the team moving forwards?

  • Personally, I see Sam as high as 1C for this year only, 2C in the near future, and shifted to the wing in the event that another Centre comes in and proves to be a better option AND Hemsky is moved along.*

    Long term I see him returning to the wing as he once did in his Rookie year, if anything because of the subpar F/O numbers. However, I still see him as a usefull offensive player.

    I think he’s been progressing slowly but surely, and I’m just fine with him. As Gregor fairly questions, maybe on a contender Gagner, as he is right now, is not good enough to be a 2C. I think that it’s hard to tell what exactly he can do when surrounded by contending talent since he played so much last year with rookies.

    I would like to think that when paired with wingers who score more than 20 goals combined he can put up better numbers.

    *If another centre proves to be better BUT Hemsky is signed long term then it’s probably time to start looking to get a D-man in return for Sam. Those are two big IFs.

  • FMS

    I know we all wanted Samwise to keep improving on the number of points he’s earned, but let’s all remember that he came in as the youngest player in his rookie season, and then he’s played with some brutal players and locker room cancers (see O’Sullivan, Souray, etc.)…and he’s managed to maintain consistant offensive play, and I’d say slightly better defensive play every year. I’d like to see a bit more backchecking, but not too much more, but most importantly a better faceoff number. Otherwise, I love that guy.

  • FMS

    I have no problem believing that Gagner is progressing, my biggest concern with him is what is he progressing towards? I see a center who can put up around 60 points against legitimate NHL opposition, but is bad on faceoffs and is unlikely to be a significant factor on special teams. Without a doubt thats a useful, legitimate NHL player, but I’m not sure its a fit with this organization long term.

    Any time you want to make a run for stanley you’re going to need a lot of bodies that can fill a lot of different roles. On the 05/06 team, damn near everyone could kill a penalty, and every center was better than 50% in the faceoff circle. It doesn’t look like this iteration of the Oilers will have quite the same depth in that area, and I think if we ever want to win a cup we’ll need a 2C with a wider range of skills than Sam will offer. I’m not suggesting we turn around and trade him for anything, but if we can use him in a package for a similar player at a position of need (more of a two-way center, a power winger or a young top-four defenceman) I say go for it.

  • geoilersgist

    Samwise has put up ok numbers on a bad team. When this team is good we’ll see what hes projected to be which is 20 goal, 60 point guy who works hard and bleeds copper and blue. I don’ t understand anyone who rags on this kid. I think his numbers are reflective of the fact hes playing on 30th place club.
    I don’t see him vanilla soft as some do. He does hit and this is guy who kicked Kesler ass and actually two years ago and fought Jokinen and held his own. His game will improve as his work in the corners gets better. I think that time with Smyttie will be huge for him because he’ll learn how to become profficient in winning puck battles. GO SAM GO. Ignore the naysayers. We want you here…

  • geoilersgist

    I really hope that Gagner doesn’t get traded, it’s far to early to let him go. Glad to see some evidence that shows he has been improving since his sophomore slump.

  • justDOit

    Warning to Gagner: look at Cogs, and know that if you DON’T start to produce and develop as a player, we’ll trade you to a… more talented team… in a – uh – warmer climate… with… umm… ok, maybe I should shut up now…

  • I bet there’s alot of guys working on their best, shiniest retaliatory posts right about now.

    *Also, looks like Cogliano got a pretty fair pay raise. Good for him. Besides, ~we’re far better off with Jones anyway.~

  • Jason Gregor

    Those are just offensive related numbers. What about his defensive numbers GAON/60? What about his ability, or inability, to back off defenders.

    Gagner’s doesn’t put up big enough offensive numbers right now to overlook the other aspects of his game. That is his biggest challenge moving forward. Not just producing, but improving in other facets as well.

    • fuck off

      True in a way but he didn’t exactly play with the best defensive players either. Defense is also a team effort not an individual effort. Can’t place all the blame on him for that. I would think that Sam playing with Smyth and Hemsky would be a big difference maker. And of course an improvment by the defenseman.

    • Lowetide

      Jason: CorsiRel reflects his defensive numbers. The puck is headed in the right direction when he’s on the ice. This is also reflected in zone start/finish. When Sam Gagner is on the ice, the puck is heading in a better direction compared to the rest of the team.

      I believe both stats show his ability in the area you’ve mentioned.

      • Jason Gregor

        What about is +/- and GA over 60 minute numbers. If the puck is going in the right direction, how come those numbers are so low?

        Gagner has put up okay numbers on a 30th place team, but when the team gets better talent like RNH, do you think he will still get the same opportunities to produce those numbers? He has to take a big step forward this year, or his window of opportunity will be much smaller, at least in Edmonton.

        • 24% body fat

          I believe Gilbert was terrible in his stats too. And he is paid a lot more than Gagner. And has a larger stature to that everyone complains about gagner for. so what is gilberts excuse. He is a few years older too.

          Watch replays of the games last year. The oilers got scored on lots and he was on the ice for most of them.

          • Jason Gregor

            Nope. But if you want one displaying his statistical offensive progression you won’t find one. He hasn’t improved offensively.

            I’m sure they can show a stat that says he is creating more chances, but his goal and point totals aren’t going up. They might, but they haven’t yet and if they don’t this year his opportunity to get quality PP minutes and 5-on-5 icetime will dip as well.

        • Lowetide

          Plus minus and GA/60 are tied to things like goalie save percentage. When Sam Gagner was on the ice, their goalie was not stopping the puck (.876SP). This would compare to a player like Ryan Jones, who enjoyed a .925SP; neither of these numbers is likely to stay that far from the median.

          I don’t know what the odds are that any player would see a .876SP on a team that had a .903SP (that was the Oilers number overall) but there had to be a large amount of luck involved in it.

          http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_statistics.php?ds=34&s=33&f1=2010_s&f2=5v5&f4=C+LW+RW&f5=EDM&f7=40-&c=0+1+3+5+2+4+6+7+8+20+10+29+30+31+32+33+34#

          • Actually, stats suggest this year was an anomally for Gagner (likely due to the situation he was in). His normal on ice sv% (with this year dropping the average) is .900%. For the previous 3 years combined it was .908%. If we were to recalculate GA adjusted to his previously established ONsv% then his GA/60 gets a lot better.

          • Jason Gregor

            Sure, or bad zone coverage on his part..lol…Either way I’m not sold, yet, that Gagner is a top-six forward on a contending team. Being a top-six on a 30th place team is much different than being on a contender.

          • Sure, or bad zone coverage on his part..lol.

            Lots of guys have crunched a huge amount of numbers to see how much players affect SV%ON.

            They are come up with the same answer. Next to no impact. Huge amount of luck involved.

            Its pretty random for most players. Just take your top 5 favorite players and look at theirs, its all over the place.

            Sam Gagner’s SV%ON for the last 4 years:

            07/08 .898

            08/09 .924

            09/10 .910

            10/11 .876

            He didn’t get good for 2 years then lose his defensive mojo. It can be this random for lots of players.

            Fun fact: Gagner had the worst ONSV% of any player who played at least 40 games in the NHL last year. 566 out of 566. (first was Biznasty with .981 LOL, is Biz 2nd coming of Gainey?)

            2 years before he was tied for 188th out of 581.

            What will probably happen next year is that Gagner’s ONSV% will normalize a bit and his plus minus will greatly improve as a result, but reporters and writers will create a narrative that “Sam has become more defensively responsible” when most of the change will be due to the goalie stopping the puck close to an average number of times instead of historically bad.

          • So help me gawd, if Khabibulin’s inability to stop a puck is going to be the reason the Oil dump a perfectly good young centre I am going to rage out. This man is a curse upon us all.

            Seriously though, if Sam Gagner had been not good enough to play in the NHL up to this point in his career we’d be talking about how great of a prospect he is. Instead, this guy is a bum with no future and lacks the tools to get better.

            Unbelievable.

          • No kidding.

            SV%ON is very swingy and full of luck.

            Think of 5 players and go look at it (you can mess with the setting on the link LT posted)

            It has little rhyme or reason.

            You are right that Khabby was putrid last year. AHL back up type of bad.

          • Lowetide

            Well sure, some of that might be bad coverage. We’re talking about a 21-year old center playing with two rookies, that’s a recipe for disaster in any era.

            However, even with those things considered that’s an enormous number (the gap between 89’s SP and the Oilers average SP).

            As for being top 6 on a 30th place team, that was the opportunity given him and he delivered. If Gagner was traded to Calgary and played between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay I’m sure the numbers would be better.

          • geoilersgist

            Obviously he’s a bit more of a complimentary player right now. He’s 21 and in the toughest league in the world. But he drove results in bad circumstances and that needs to be taken into account.

            He can’t carry rookies, but he’s shown to actually be an excellent compliment to Hemsky and Penner playing against tough minutes. That would suggest a pretty special player at 21.

          • Jason Gregor

            Pretty special would be Taylor Hall in my books, not Gagner.

            Please show me the stats that back up he has been an Excellent complementary player with those guys for any extended period of time, because I can’t find it. And what results did he drive exactly?

            I’m not saying Gagner is horrible, but he needs to take another step to be considered a legit top-six on a contending team. IMO.

            ***Not to be a douche, but it is complementary not complimentary. If he was the latter then he would be praising Hemsky not making him a better player. Just saying. Not being a dick.***

          • Kodiak

            LOL, thanks, maybe if I wasn’t at work, I’d be able to take the time to catch an error like that.

            http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/6/1/2200114/sam-gagner-scoring-chances-2010-2011

            The tables provided by Derek there demonstrate Gagner’s season pretty well. The WoWY #’s (with or without you) show Gagner making Penner and Hemsky substantially better players (and them making him better in turn).

            You also can notice Gagners SCA/SCF plummet later in the season when he had to carry MPS and Omark. Players whose WoWY with Gagner wasn’t very good. He may not be able to carry the rookies, but he played well in his tough minutes role with Hemsky and Penner, and that’s a VERY valuable ability for any player, especially a still improving 21 year old.

            On the point of being special, you’re splitting hairs. Gagner isn’t going to be a player like Crosby or Stamkos or even Hall, but there’s still a good player in there, and its obvious when you look beyond G/A/PTS/ AND +/-.

          • Jason Gregor

            Your last line is an interesting one. “There is a good player in there if you look past goals, assists and points.”

            Gagner will be an NHLer based on his goals, assists and points, not his defensive play, or his physical play, or his perceived scoring chances. His current game isn’t suited to be a two-way player, so he needs to produce first and foremost. You might not like it, but his role is to score.

            If you never bury any scoring chances. and if you don’t ultimately produce more points you won’t be a top-six forward.

            Not sure why you think he was carrying 23 and 91. Paajarvi got way better as the season progressed and especially playing with 23.

            Saying it is obvious is also a massive stretch. What is obvious is that that he has yet to score 20 goals, yet to reach 50 points and did this on a 30th place team. Do you think he gets the same amount of ice time on a contender?

            So he is only better when he plays with Penner and Hemsky. Penner isn’t here. What if he doesn’t play with Hemsky this season? Will he produce?

          • Clyde Frog

            “If Gagner was traded to Calgary and played between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay I’m sure the numbers would be better.”

            Couldn’t that be said of almost any player? “If only he could play with the Sedins, he’d put up 100 points!”

            The league is full of marginal players who’s game would improve if surrounded by superior talent. If Gagner wants a spot on this team, he needs to be the kind of player that makes his linemates better, not the other way around.

          • Lowetide

            But how can one argue Gagner is marginal? This isn’t a fringe player we’re talking about here, Gagner has posted offense every season he’s been here.

            Gagner’s offense at 5×5 this season was on par with men like Marleau, Dubinsky and Plekanec. Those aren’t fringe type NHL players, and those men are playing with better players than Gagner did this past season.

          • Bless you Lowetide, Bless you. It’s been me and a few others fighting off the zombie horde of Gagner-haters for days now. Finally the army is coming in to provide some support.*

            *This is the part of the movie where either 1) the army is quickly overwhelmed 2) the army is there to eradicate anything in the quarantine zone including the protagonist 3) the hero leaves with the army to safety only to be overwhelmed right before the credits roll.**

            **maybe I should have used something other than a zombie reference because the outcomes arent very desireable…

          • Crash

            I agree wholeheartedly and what the detractors can’t seem to grasp is that most likely better days are ahead of him…

            They don’t seem to get the premise that many, many of today’s top players were in nowheresville at age 21 and for some reason they believe Gagner has topped out….possible, yes, but not very likely.

          • a lg dubl dubl

            I’ll help you fight the zombie hord that are the Gagner hates Arch :)- It’ll b those same people that when/if Sam is traded they will call for STs head and scream blue murder that Gagner got traded when he starts putting up 60+ points/yr.

  • stilldrinkingthekoolaid

    Still to early to give up on this kid. Thanks for the break down, all arrows point up in my opinion. I would like to see him be stronger, but even with that, he has time to become stronger with age.

    Good player, and I’m hoping for a breakout season.