THAT VERY IMPORTANT NEXT STEP

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.

TRADING GAGNER

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.

  • Small town dreams

    No more magic beans. If Gagner and the 2nd gets you a bigger “better”‘centre, do it. If not use the 1st on YAK and the second round pick on FRK. The kid could be that “PEST” we need. Good size, speed and plays nasty. I feel his draft position was affected by his health and not playing in the world Junoirs.

  • SuntanOil

    I’m fairly certain Gagner is a good son and brushes his teeth after every meal. However, for all of the sentimentality he is still under-sized, under-powered and he coughs up the puck alot. I see him getting caught from behind by 3rd and 4th line grit guys who skate much better than he does.

    If a suitable replacement can be found then I feel the Oil should definitely upgrade the 2nd line centre.

    As far as sending young drafts away prematurely I think the responsibility falls to coaching and management. The Oil rush their youth into the NHL too soon and their development is screwed up from the start. The frustrating thing is the Oil management don’t seem to learn from these errors. Paajarvi is the next expendable who gets the bums rush out of E-town, followed by Lander I should think.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    DSF wrote:

    Gagner was a product of Kane’s offence and getting HUGE amounts of PP time.

    Galchenyuk is 6’2″ and 205 and still growing.

    This won’t be close kids.

    Think Kopitar.

    exactly.

    with pre-draft write ups such as: The most talented, complete player of the draft went about his business in the shadow of his flashy linemate, Kane. Gagner is captain material and is above average in all facets of the game. There is no better combination of shooting, passing, defensive awareness, hockey sense, and skating in the draft. He is not tall, and consequently may be ranked lower by the scouting community who desire size. It is possible that Gagner slips on draft day leaving one GM and team overjoyed with the selection of this Knight.

    it is easy to see why someone would think gagner was a product of kane’s offense…~~

    squirrel rectum feather

  • Truth

    The only way you trade Gagner is if you’re getting a center in return that is equal or better than Gagner.

    Remember last year about this time when it was common knowledge that good centermen are the hardest commodity to obtain. It was also common knowledge that good d men were most easily obtainable through free agency and trade. Also, it was known that picking a defenseman high in the draft was a gamble, forward skill is much easier to assess in these young players going through the draft.

    But I guess all of that is now negligable since the Oilers apparently have way too much skill up front evidenced by their 30th, 30th, and 29th place finshes in the last three years.

    It is easy, don’t trade your good players to obtain a maybe player. Pick the best available player at the draft, preferably a skilled forward early. Therefore, keep Gagner unless you are getting a better player in return, and draft Yakupov

  • Truth

    MADJAM’S SHORTLIST : Galchenyuk ,Trouba , Yakupov , Dumba , Reilly , and Reinhart in that order . Have my doubts Murray can transfer his game efficiently against proven NHL’ers . A little soft like Gilbert was for my likeing .

    Problem with last few drafts was we were unable to obtain any cornerstones above first overall pick thru draft , or trades that had a major impact on going forward . Hopefully this season we can finally do it . Galchenyuk is in Yakupov’s league to begin with , while i feel Trouba sticks out on defence above the rest, and should have little problem transferring his game to NHL .

  • If the Oilers can acquire a better #2 center and keep Gagner, I see him switching to wing.

    Gagner’s RW experiment last year was a failure because of his linemates and Renney’s bullheadedness.

    Also, I’d think the Oilers would be a better team (given Yakupov drafted at #1 and staying at RW) is if Hall moves to center, and Gagner moves to LW.

    That would be:

    Eberle – Hall – Yakupov
    Gagner – RNH – Hemsky

    Granted, either Gagner or Hemsky would need to shoot more on that #2 line.

  • I wanted Musil and we got him , but i don’t recall ever saying he would be our first overall pick ? Perhaps in time he might be, if we don’t start protecting Hopkins more while he is still developing physically . So far we are not doing a good enough job of sizing up in the forward position . Yakupov will be more the same in a league that keeps getting more defensive and bigger .

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    The only way I would trade Gagner is a move to PItts, for Staal. It take a pkg of players with Gagner being the main player. Staal is a UFA next year, but it would be up to the Oilers to resign him.

  • Spydyr

    No one needs to look at the last 25 years of 8th overall picks. The Oilers would not be trading for an 8th they would be trading for Grigorenko.

    Big difference.

    Trade Gagner at the deadline for a pick? Bad idea.

    Trade Gagner for a first next year? Really bad idea.

    Trade him after the 7th pick with Grigorenko sitting there? Not such a bad idea.

    • D-Man

      What I don’t understand is why trade away a legitimate 2nd line center for a player who ‘could’ be a legitimate bonafide center… There aren’t too many picks past 3-4th overall that are ready to play in the NHL… Even if you’re assuming that he’s ready – your top two centers would have less than 100 NHL games between the two of them… Which would mean that we’d need Horcoff/Belanger Triangle to shelter the rookie from the ‘hard minutes’ – similar to what Renney did with RNH for the first 40 games or so.. Is that the making of a playoff team?? Not so much…

      If we’re dealing Gagner – whether it be straight across or in a package of sorts – we need to get a top four NHL-ready defensemen in return… No more prospects or draft picks… Although I do think we’re not making the playoffs this year, I do believe we’ll see another 10 point (5 win improvement) from last year… That means roughly a 26th overall finish and yes, another lottery pick… Without Gagner – that won’t happen and we’ll be debating whether we should be drafting Sam Reinhart with our lottery pick…

  • Bucknuck

    As much as I think they’re dillusional, I’d love to be a fan of DSF’s and QSB’s (what’s his new name)team if they were co-GM’s of the same all-star squad.

    No one would be allowed to play on their top 2 lines unless they got 70pts +. That would be sick, wouldn’t it? Of course, that means the Oilers would have 6 70pt players and the rest of the league would have a grand total of 14 to share between them (based on 2011-2012)…

    I can’t imagine the other teams would complain though. I mean, after all, the Bruins, Wings, Panthers, Predators, Capitals and Blues didn’t have one and they all managed to make the playoffs…

    … And other than the Devils, Sens and Pens each other playoff team only had 1…

    I’m super excited for when we get to cheer for a team that has more 70pt players than last year’s conference finalists combined. Fire Tambo and appoint DSF and QSB!

  • D-Man

    @D-Man

    I’m not saying its the best idea although I do think Grigorenko will be better than Gagner.

    I’m just trying to point out that it is not quite the magic bean scenario that some posters are making it out to be.

    And the Oilers invited the kid to town so that must mean something.

    • D-Man

      He certainly does have the size and arguably the 2nd to 3rd best set of hands in the draft – but like all draft picks, he’s not a ‘sure thing’… With Gagner – you know what you’re getting…

      I guess this line of thought comes down to this year’s expectations… For those who wish to ‘extend’ the rebuild – trading Gagner for a Grigorenko has merit… For those who want to see concrete improvement and want to see meaningful games later this season – not so much…

  • Bucknuck

    LoDog said “Trade him after the 7th pick with Grigorenko sitting there? Not such a bad idea.”

    In fact, a great plan. Don’t understand the sentimentality for Gagner. Small centre, not strong on the puck, gets pushed around. Doesn’t really fit on the present Oilers roster — too small, not enough grit, not a strong skater. Centre is a bigger problem than defence for the Oil with Gagner, Horcoff and Bellinger in the lineup. Time to fix the problem.

  • Brownlee loves the word meow

    Meow does anyone think yakupov is going to be better than Gagner next year? Cause I do.

    With that being said.. Where would Galchenyuk be ranked if he played this year? 1st or 2nd?

    What if Gregorenko didnt hurt his foot and get mono? Would he be 1st or 2nd? who knows..

    Both are very solid and skilled. Why is everybody so afraid of trading pieces like Gags(40-50 points and has no physicality) for someone you really want and could use? It would be a calculated risk taken if STU and the scouts thought it was a good idea. If they think it is a good idea… Then in STU we trust.

    Does Gagner not being on the team cost us a playoff spot? Do we even have a chance at a playoff spot next year? Presumably if it was Galchenyuk(or what auto correct would like me to spell – Kanchenjunga) would he not already have chemistry with Yakupov making both players better and give the Oilers a better shot this year…and for many years to come?

  • Brownlee loves the word meow

    I want to disagree with you, but the possibility of having a guy on the roster who could own the gnarliest nickname ever used in the game of hockey: “Kachenjunga”, makes me agree wholeheartedly.

  • Brownlee loves the word meow

    Meow I just googled the word… and it is the third highest mountain in the world.. could Kangchenjunga(Galyenchuk) be the 3rd highest pick in this years draft?

    Kangchenjunga is also the name of the surrounding section of the Himalayas and the word itself means “The Five Treasures of Snows”.

    5 treasures = Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yakupov, and Kangchenjunga?

    Snows = Edmonton

    Not going to happen.. but I will now always think of him as “Kangchenjunga”.

  • Brownlee loves the word meow

    Can’t trade a young 50 pt centre with two old guys as options and no one in the system to replace him.

    That being said, goodbye Sam. This is the Edmonton Oilers. After being that sarcastic I think they know it.