Since they left the ice after G7 SCF ’06 the Edmonton Oilers have traded, bought out and walked away from many, many actual NHL players. The idea–certainly since 2010 spring–was to go "scorched earth" and to have a quality cluster who could grow together. With that in mind, it would be quite surprising if the Oilers dealt Sam Gagner for a draft pick.
Sam Gagner is still a young hockey player, despite the fact that he will enter his 6th NHL season this fall. During that time, Gagner has faced (mostly) soft opposition and delivered enough offense to stay in a top 6 role over 5 seasons.
5X5 POINTS PER 60 MINUTES BY YEAR
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
11-12 5×5 per 60m: 1.96
The last two seasons feaure a very good number. In 11-12, his 1.96/60 ranked him 91st in the entire NHL among forwards who played 50 or more games. That’s certainly good enough for a 2line C, and a slight improvement in his overall number (101st overall) in 10-11.
There are concerns. Gagner had a monster week during this past season, tying a team record with an enormous night against Chicago and then following it up with a couple of good games against Detroit. If we break the season down with that one week cut out of his year:
- Before the big week: 43, 5-17-22 (.511 points per game)
- The big week: 4, 8-6-14 (3.5 points per game)
- After the big week: 28, 5-6-11 (.393 points per game)
- Overall 75, 18-29-47 (.627 per game)
Gagner got a push after the big game, and he played over 20 shifts a night right through until the end of March. You’d want to see more consistent production, especially when the club was playing him in a feature role and often against the soft parade.
A GIANT GAME
It’s easy to forget that Gagner was not in a good place before that Chicago game, Before the game in question, Darren Dreger was quoted as saying ”the Oilers aren’t offering Gagner but they badly need defenseman and that’s the name mentioned by other general managers”–the timing of the outburst bordered on perfect.
I think there’s every chance the Oilers would listen to a strong trade offer for Sam Gagner. He’s an RFA and would be looking for a significant increase in salary. My hope would be the Oilers sign Gagner to a deal that buys some free agent seasons and indicates he’s part of the future.
The Oilers may be forced into dealing Sam Gagner in order to add a defenseman. He’s below the big three kids up front and if Nail Yakupov is coming in then trading someone like Gagner for immediate blueline help makes sense (depending on return). What I don’t understand is the idea of dealing Gagner for a draft pick.The Edmonton Oilers need to stop dealing their NHL players for prospects. rfn.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I believe Sam Gagner is good enough to be a top 6 forward on a championship team. He is extremely smart and brains are useful in all three zones. He’s been through his share of failures and come out the other side intact. Battle hardened. Sam Gagner has seen a lot of losing, but I don’t think anyone considers him a loser.
He has shortcomings and certainly he did not end this season as hoped; if the Oilers need something of value to trade in order to get an NHL defenseman, then Gagner might be a candidate.
However, if the Oilers have a chance trade him for another draft pick–even 8th overall as is the rumor–then I am hopeful management will pass on the opportunity. Oiler fans have had enough of wathcing the Oilers develop these kids and then send them away.
No more. Enough. Add not subtract. Get better. Now.