During tonight’s Hotstove portion of the HNIC pre-game, Elliotte Friedman told the nation "Sam Gagner’s name is out there" and suggested the Oilers would find him a place he’d be comfortable with playing (if a transaction were to be completed). It sounds very much like the team and player have decided a move could be made if it fits for all sides, although specifics weren’t covered in the brief report.


Gagner’s season went sideways in a hurry one autumn night in Vancouver, and the impact has been felt by player and team all season long. I don’t for a minute believe that the Kassian stick incident led us to this day, but it probably hurried it along.

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Bottom line: Craig MacTavish has to make plans for next year. He has to ask questions:

  1. Is Dallas Eakins the coach of next year’s team?
  2. Do the Oilers need to improve up the middle?
  3. Has Mark Arcobello done enough to make Gagner expendable?
  4. Will the organization have the same number of similar talents in the top 6F next season?
  5. Can they get value for Gagner?
  6. Is Gagner a part of the future with Eakins in charge?

Those are tough questions, but the news today suggests that they exist in the organization and Sam Gagner (who perhaps Gagner has questions about his future as an Oiler) may be heading out of Edmonton during the season.

What does it all mean? Well, you never get full value in these situations, so prepare to be disappointed with the return. On the other hand, the Oilers will be going to market next summer with more money and will very likely arrive at training camp next fall with a bigger lineup.

We wait.

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  • outdoorzguy

    First phase of the fan protest: stop wearing Oiler jerseys to games. Let there be a visual sign of frustration. Besides not going to the games (which we all know won’t happen), this would serve a good purpose. When your kid asks why he can’t wear his jersey tell them it’s because the team sucks.
    Signs won’t work because A/ you’ll have a hard time getting anything into the building and B/ the Oiler game day staff will have Northlands security and usher staff take it away from you (Oiler staff won’t do this, they don’t like to be seen as pissing of their fan base and they’re busy just watching the game).
    The chants are effective. You know, “Fire Lowe”, “Fire the Coaching Staff” but I don’t think the fans are themselves prepared to do that.
    I’ve said it before and others have as well, the only real form of protest that is to keep $$$$ from going into the Oilers bank account and ultimately the pockets of Katz. That means don’t buy future tickets (I realize most of them have been sold for the season), don’t buy Oiler logo’d items, don’t get your flu shot at a Rexall/Medicine Shoppe pharmacy (or anything else for that matter) and stop supporting anything remotely attached to the Oilers. Economics are the only thing that will affect this team. Clearly they don’t care what either tier of fan has to say and it is becoming apparent that they don’t have the ability to clearly assess that there is a bad product on the ice.
    There has been two significant events in the last few years that has got managements attention. McKinnons question which got us the 6 ring answer and a jersey on the ice. But even these instances died out because the media have almost gone out of their way not to challenge management with the hard questions and as much as I hate to say it, I think the fan base has learned to accept the organizational philosophy of mediocrity.

  • Thumby

    I totally see firing Krueger was Klowes idea he probably said to MacT “you know what would be a good for publicity if get a new coach and show everybody your the new GM”, but we all know it’s still the KLowe show.

  • Shawn Cronin

    Top 10 Oilers Problems: (in no particular order)
    1) No veteran presence on top lines
    2) The players. A bunch are just not as good as Oilers staff and media make them out to be. Defense and bottom 2 forward lines loaded with other teams AHL/KHL castoffs and very marginal NHLers. No coach in the world would win with this bunch. (ie crapola)
    3) Terrible at faceoffs
    4) Too many floaters
    5) Too many forwards that are terrible defensively
    6) This year, poor goaltending (Dubnyk is not that bad as this year has dictated)
    7) The ex Oiler players in the organization (mgmt and asst coaches) are not good at what they do
    8) All the coaching changes have left players confused on systems and probably feeling like they are not the problem….it’s been past coaches.
    9)If no one in upper management is being accountable, why should the players be?
    10) Darryl Katz

    • Bryzarro World

      I totally agree with ur comments. No veterns in the top six and defense is the bigest problem our team. Break it down people:
      Nick Schultz 5/6 defenseman
      Andrew Ference 5/6 defenseman playing too many minutes
      Belov: 42 games in the NHL rookie
      Potter: ahl player
      Larsen: ahl players
      Grevishkov: didn’t play in the NHL the last three years
      Maurincin: 6 games in the NHL rookie
      Other schultz: 85 games in the NHL. Basically a rookie.
      Petry playing too many minutes. Number four defenseman.
      29 teams have a better defense than us. Ask yourself how many of these players can make a first pass out of our zone to a attacking forward. One or two of these kids. Maybe. That’s why ur seeing a 50/50 pass off the boards where we lose possession cuz we have troubles winning one on one battles.
      Who do we have in the AHL is replace these kids? No one.
      This defense is TERRIBLE. U can’t coach crap.

  • S cottV

    Who thinks that part of Gagne’s discontentment was being passed over for Captain by Eakins?

    Eakins player management skills remind me of Mike Keenan. Basically he has none.

    Tampa Bay tonight. Wonder what they think of -32/wc-39 this am as they get up for the morning skate. Maybe they’ll stay in the hotel and forfeit this one.

  • I, like tens of thousand of others, am a die hard Oilers’ addict. Can’t help it – good or bad, I HAVE to support them. And that, my friends, I think is a huge part of the problem. We treat our players as Gods, we hope against hope that things will get better. It breaks our hearts when we lose, it breaks our hearts when a favourite is traded. So perhaps we should back off, stop slamming everyone involved and walk around with big grins on our faces. Perhaps our Gods don’t like it when we criticize them, when we tell them to toughen up. Who am I kidding? no-one. We Oilers’ fans will never change, why not? because we love our team and are the best fans in the NHL. So drop the trade axe all you like, the next Gods are waiting in the wings (or centre, or goal, or D zone) for our adoration. Let’s hope the next group live up to our long-time hopes and expectations. Let’s face it, we are loyal to the jersey, to the history and not one man makes a team. After all, the cup was one again without Gretzky, and he never won another.

  • Spydyr

    Why the f*** has nothing f’ing happened yet? Why is Lowe still here? Why are the assistant coaches still here?? WTF? 4 years of an admitted rebuild and what’s been rebuilt?? In what way are we any better than we were 4 years ago when we started “rebuilding”? If it wasn’t for picking 1st we’d have nothing. How can we possibly be this incompetent and pathetic and still do nothing? This has to be the worst run organization I’ve ever seen, and it’s allowed to continue??? Do the fans honestly have to start a mob complete with pitchforks and torches before anything changes?

  • Let’s not forget, this is really only year one of the rebuild.

    4 years from now Stauffer will be saying… “The Oilers were forcing their top picks hall rnh and yak right in to the line up in their rookie years which suggests that they were trying to win and believed they could make the playoffs instead of properly developing the talent and building a solid foundation. It wasn’t until they sent Nurse back to jr. that they really started on the rebuilding path. Like I’ve always said, build from the back end out, and Nurse was the first piece to the puzzle.”

  • Not sure why anyone expected us to even be a bubble team this year.

    We are the youngest team in the league when you average the age of players based on minutes played each night.

    Chicago scores the most and their top 4 forwards are 34,32,25,25 years of age.

    Ours are 20,20,22,23. Think about it. Not realistic for fans to expect the smallest, youngest, least physical forward core to actually succeed at this level.

    • S cottV

      So let’s give these young guys trying to find their way in the NHL a young first year Coach to find his way too. That way they can relate better with each other.

      • outdoorzguy

        The problem with the Oilers is, the management has overpaid all the supposide “stars”. You have Hall, Eberly. RNH making 6mil & Smyth, Hemsky & Gagne making around 5mil! All the players I just wrote down are 2nd line players & probably 3rd line players on any desent team! Then the Oiler brass, says they can’t sign any future good player with a high salary because they’re at the salary cap. I thought they finally grabbed a brain by trading Horcoff, who was a 7mil. dollar third line center who scored less than 20 goals! Most Oiler fans can see the problem but the Lowe lead management team can’t. Until they get rid of especially Lowe & who again looks for the supposed goal scorers who are small & get pushed around by all the large teams like STL,LA, Bos & just about every other team!! Then you have Aikens who has been a bust. Until the Oilers get rid of all management, the Oilers will struggle!!

  • JDP

    @Rod in Viking.

    Your right about the quality of the veterans that have passed through of late. Though MACT has been better by bringing in Ference and Gordon. IB has been good.Gazdic better than good.

    MacT though wasted several contracts this past off season. Including Acton,Grebby and Hamilton and SMACK(who I like but he was never used). He has managed to dump a couple of contracts so far and come this off season should be able to shave 7-10 more. Explain to me how Joensuu was an upgrade on Petrell? who 5×5 was a non factor but was a beast on the PK. JJ has done exactly what? Ryan Jones? the word squat comes to mind. Corey Potter? Even fictional Harry Potter couldn’t abracadabra his poor play away. Larsen? Size matters at this level.Especially on defence. Belov? A long way to go.

    I would like to see the Oilers part ways with Hemsky. N Shultz and Ryan Smyth. As far as Gagner is concerned he has not shown diddly in the way of defensive zone improvement. Trading him to NJ or to the NYIsles might be the ticket. Arcobello as a stop gap until the summer at 2cd line center is fine by me.

    Like we all think and post this team has a long way to go.

    • Spydyr

      Can a Canadian doctor practice in the U.S. or not? This would have a huge impact on where Sam could go.
      If this player would have spent a year more in junior and a year or two in the AHL would he be a more complete player? I would think so, the years of being thrown to the wolves and this years broken jaw as well as no one dealing with Kassian
      and all the problems with this team, I think it has him wanting out and no one could blame him.

      I never said Joensuu was an upgrade and Mac T made other signings that didn’t work out and they would have been made with input from the pro scouting staff that have not done a good job.

      • Spydyr

        I like Gegner as a person but I’m sorry, he gets paid 5 million a year so who cares if his wife to be, can’t be a doctor in the states. Just ship him off to anyone who will take him so we can get out from underneath this horrible con tract. MacT has made him a rich man so I have little pity on how this will impact him or her. You would hope that Mac T would be able to find some one to play 2nd or 3rd line centre for a last place team, at least till the end of this year.

  • Spydyr

    All the young kids on this team have heard what this city is like during the playoffs. You know they want to be part of it. I really do feel sorry for some of these kids .The pain in their faces after each loss. It is like there in quicksand with no hope. It has become disgraceful how a team with such history has become the laughing stock of the NHL. Daryl please please please please wake up. Time for drastic change up top .Putting your head in the sand like an ostrich wont cut it.

  • the rake

    One of the biggest mistakes last summer was resigning Gagner, I like the guy, but he has reached all he will ever be, and his trade value is dropping fast. He may be a 50 point guy, but that is as high as he will ever achieve, and he brings nothing else to the team that warrants his salary. Poor skater, poor shot, terrible defensively, terrible faceoff guy, no physicality. If he was getting a point a game maybe you keep him, but he is nowhere near that. Arco is the same guy at a quarter of the price.
    Time to start packaging some of these guys to try and get things moving in the right direction.
    Boston may be looking for a veteran d-man for the playoffs, does Nick Schultz and Gagner and possibly a prospect get you Paille and Bartkowski.
    Maybe a deal with Washington to get Joel Ward and Karl Alzner.
    Management has to start now to make some moves, they need to bring some guys in now to get familiar with one another rather than waiting until the offseason and having to start all over again next year and getting off to another brutal start.
    MacT says he is not afraid of making bold moves, lets see some.

  • Serious Gord

    She can be a doctor there, she just can’t leave here for two more years during her practice. Hence NTC.

    Merfer, I hope some day you are in a position where you’re given a raise and a transfer (or you lose the job entirely) but your significant other can’t follow you so you know what that might be like. Pro sports or not, there’s always a human element involved where you should treat people as you wish to be treated.

    In the end, it’s just a game. There’s no need to be a hateful person about it. The organization has finally done something classy for a player who has been a loyal soldier for them and if they’re both agreeable on the movement because things have been worked out, then great. Otherwise, I fully hope they uphold it and try to redeem some semblance of honor in that management group.

    • D-Unit

      Not sure if you are aware of this, but many people work and live in different places than their wives, and families live, especially in Alberta. Some who get home a few days or a week a month to spend times with their wives and families, others who when they leave for work aren’t sure when they will get to come home again. Also, the vast majority of them don’t make 4.8 million dollars a year, or won’t make that in there entire career, and don’t have A doctor wife at home.

      Don’t give us the “human element” argument. Life isn’t fair, and can be rough at times, we have to get over it, and if Sam can’t, we can add that to the list of reasons he doesn’t belong with the Oilers.

      • Serious Gord

        No kidding life isn’t fair. I won’t make $15,000,000 in 5 lifetimes and that’s just his last contract. You cannot tell me she can’t finish her medical degree or practice in some other city. Please, thats crap.
        I know he doesn’t want to disturb her right now, OK,then he should start playing like someone who wants to stay on this team, not the garbage that he has been producing.
        I know he can play a lot better than this. When you go out and get paid like this you need to start producing or accept the consequences.

    • JDP

      Grow up. Suck it up. Your an effing millionaire. And it is your job. The world is tough, wear a helmet

      There are those of us who have had to go through a lot worse. While earning a lot less.

  • Zarny

    It’s funny how haters completely lose perspective. Not to mention clearly don’t understand the value of offense in the NHL.

    In 2011-12 no team had more than 7 players with 45 pts or more. Most teams only had 1-3. The LA Kings had 3. Chi only had 4. 55 pts would have led the Blues in scoring. Between the lockouts 30th in scoring for C was 62, 60, 56, 58, 57, 57 and 53 pts.

    Gagner is 24 and just entering his prime. His career pt/gm over a full season is 50 pts and last year was on pace for 65 pts. He may have tailed off, but even if he dropped to 0.5 pt/gm he still finishes with 55. More likely closer to 60 pts which puts him at the bottom of 1C offensive production without ever having played a game in his prime.

    So anyone who thinks Gagner has no value is clueless. The Leafs gave Bozak $4.2M @ 5 yrs and some think Gagner for another 2 yrs is a problem? Good grief.

    Most teams are dying for skilled F who can score 50-60 pts. The Oilers have extra and need other types players. By virtue of three #1 draft picks Gagner happens to be the most favorable guy for Edm to trade.

    • the rake

      Gagner has trade value. You can tell that from the amount of traffic on the interwebs and forums. Lots of different teams fans want him.
      I have said for a while Gagner and Ebs have got to go. They do not make this TEAM better. They could be package to bring us in some solid depth. MacT should be working the phones.

      • the rake

        Totally agree. Gagner will be gone this year, Eberle will be the guy that is moved close to or on draft day, really depends on where the Oil are picking, but if it is in the top 2, this will be the one and only chance that they may have a shot at getting Weber.
        Nashville may take Eberle, the Oiler’s first (which could get them Eckblad), and probably a prospect to make the deal.
        For the naysayers saying there is no way Weber ends up an Oiler, you maybe surprised. If Nashville misses playoffs, they will need to also make some serious changes, and one thing they need is skilled offensive players.

      • Zarny

        I don’t think it’s a matter of “having” to trade any player.

        Eberle and Gagner both make Edm a better team.
        The problem is that they make Edm better the same way Hall, Nuge, Yak and to a lesser extent Perron do. To varying degrees, they all do the same things well and right now have the same weaknesses in their game.

        The problem is the mix of players. 1-2 of the top 6 F need to be changed for size and strength and a top pairing D. So it becomes a process of elimination.

        Hall and Nuge look like keepers. So you’re moving 1-2 of Perron, Eberle, Yakupov and Gagner.

        Gagner and Perron are my 2 picks in that order. Not because they are bad. They are simply 5-6th skill wise 2 yrs from now.

        You might need more value than Perron to get one of the moves done so it’s Eberle or Yakupov. You can keep or trade either one. It all depends on what’s being offered in return.

  • Serious Gord

    Cannot believe there is even a discussion about a player’s spouse’s career choices having an impact on what to do with a player.

    If MacT signed gagner because of it he should have been fired and if he’s negotiating with that in mind now he should be fired. His one and only concern should be what’s in the best Inteest of the team. These players are amply compensated to deal with their off ice family issues on their own.

  • Serious Gord

    I don’t thinks Eberle is healthy. Track record will show he will turn this around. When he goes on a run of 12 points in the next 7 games his detractors will shut up. I can’t believe people are saying we should trade him. Unless he’s in the magical nonsensical Weber dreams he’s an Oiler. If Weber was an Oiler, why would anyone suggest we trade him. Top 3 defenceman in NHL are rare, he is Nashville. David Poille is not trading the fragship piece of his franchise period.

    Sam has had 4 years to emerge as a 50 point player. Last year he was essentially that, spare me the he was not. If seven years have shown us anything he is a defensively inept and small and inconsistant. I say moving forward you move him to the wing and make a decision to keep him or Hemsky. You dangle both names and see if there are takers for one or the other.

  • outdoorzguy

    the fact that they want to trade Gags when his value is so low goes to show you that acquiring an MBA in business really was a waste of money. Allocating assets is about moving pieces at high value which you deem will have a greater impact in the long term, not moving pieces when you realized you failed in your player assessment. Any smart GM (which compared to the Oilers I almost argue all of them are smarter) knows you are at their mercy when it comes players coming back in the trade. Its actual value vs. actual value, not potential value vs. great value. Morons!!!