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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    • reaperfunkss

      Hello all. I am Vance (in LA) and this is my first excursion into this sphere of anonymous insults, rants, insights, observations, personal attacks, unfounded rumour and humour. It has been both disappointing and enlightening.
      I must first take exception to the promo proclaiming Mr. L Tide as a ‘shining contributor for over a century’. By my count it is only 83 years, 4 months. Only the great John Short can lay claim to such longevity. Then again, King John is the only reporter alive who actually covered the original 26 mile run from Marathon to Athens live in 490 BC. His interview with Pheidippides is legendary and still controversial, considering he was the only contestant and died immediately after his victorious interview with John. Let us not blame him.
      As for Dallas Eakins? Tis strange how quickly the tide can turn. Wasn’t it just yesterday he was the wave of new young thinking? Of aggressive offense? The opposite of past ‘defence first’ coaches? Utilizing the offensive talents of this young roster?
      And then we were introduced to “the swarm”, a magical trick in the AHL that was exposed as ridiculous against the best in the world. Then the 5 forward powerplay that would change hockey, and digressed to the most shorthanded goals in the league. And now we witness defencemen coming up the boards with the puck and pulling a 360 degree to get separation from the forechecker. That laughter you hear isn’t mine: that’s Mike Babcock and Ken Hitchcock. They just can’t help themselves. I think it’s cruel.
      But to question Dallas Eakins value is more than fair; every aspect of the team is worse. PP,PK, 5 v 5, but most condemning, the ‘kids’ have stagnated. The very future of this franchise have either taken a step sideways or backwards. And Lord knows Yak has struggled, but I didn’t realize that he was drafted for his checking and defence. Stupid me.
      Eakins is far from the only problem this team has, but it is apparent he is one of many. Which means he is part of the problem.
      MacT had to know he was taking a chance with an inexperienced AHL coach, and a very weak supporting staff. So why give the guy a 4 year contract? He wouldn’t have signed for 2? Perhaps the NHL needs to implement an entry level contract restriction for coaches, to protect them from themselves.
      Gagner? Oh my word. We’ve known for 5 years what he is; smart, tenacious, committed and not a top 2 center, too slow for 3rd line checking, and too small for 4th line banging. His trade value? In my world, zero. But considering the Oilers just got a 17th round pick for Linus Omark, Gagner might just get you Stamkos. I dunno.
      Tis indeed the winter of our discontent. After 8 years, it’s beginning to feel like the Ice Age of our Discontent.

      A better year to you all.
      Thanks for reading.

      Vancee in LA

  • Jodes

    Well just when I thought I couldn’t post anymore, I decide to come back, so here we go. There are too many what if’s in this situation.. Was Sam “rushed” back? Did the coaching staff expect way to much from him when he returned? Has he like many on the team just stopped listening to Eakins?

    Or maybe the rumour all those years ago of him wanting out have just finally come to fruition?

    Sad to say, but I think Sam Gagner (apart from one night against Chicago) is the 2nd coming of Mike York.. Lots of potential, but just not enough to get over the next hump, regardless of what team you play for.

    If he is traded, I don’t think it will work out for either team.

  • What happened to MacT’s gentlemen’s agreement that he never should have made? I’m very down on Gagner’s game, but MacT made his agreement to not trade him public.

    That said, I guess he did tell Krueger he would find him coaching help and then told the media how Krueger is not at fault for last season and he needs to be given good players and then stabbed him in the back to jump on a total fraud manufactured by the Toronto Hype Machine.

    This Oilers management group has a pretty lengthy history of backstabbing and having no class. People think it’s the weather that scares teams away. That a tiny bit of it, but that’s nothing compared to the bad reputation of Lowe and MacT. I would never want to work for them either.

    • Jodes

      But if Gagner goes to MacT and says “I want to do what’s best to help the team/get me out of here” then the agreement is null don’t you think?

      I will agree on how he sh*t canned Krueger. That was classless. Should have manned up and did it right from the start.

      Time for both of them to go..

      • Jodes

        Yup, if Gags initiated the conversation MacT is off the hook. I think that is very unlikely though. Gags is pretty comfortable in Edmonton and fought pretty hard to get his NTC and agreement to not be traded this year. Likely the MacT started up the conversation and has agreed to move Gags to a place he is OK with. Gags technically has no power in the situation, so I guess he can consider himself lucky he will have any input at all, but I’m sure he’s still not very happy about it.

    • Jodes

      This will only happen if Sam agrees to the deal, no one is going back on their word, his fiance is a Dr so it would also have to be somewhere that would work for her, Vancouver or Toronto?

  • D

    Obviously I’m not the GM, so my opinion is about as valuable as a bucket of John Nance Garner’s Vice Presidency. But here goes:

    Is Dallas Eakins the coach of next year’s team?

    Man I hope not.

    Do the Oilers need to improve up the middle?


    Has Mark Arcobello done enough to make Gagner expendable?

    Mark needs to show he can perform consistently at the level he started with this season. If he can do it for two seasons, then the answer would trend towards yes.

    Will the organization have the same number of similar talents in the top 6F next season?

    Not if making the playoffs is their goal.

    Can they get value for Gagner?

    No. But I bet Oil management don’t overvalue him now as much as they did over the summer.

    Is Gagner a part of the future with Eakins in charge?

    I don’t believe that the Edmonton Oilers can win the Stanley Cup with Gagner as the #2 centre.

  • No free agent worth a damn will come here after witnessing the mess that is the Oilers.

    As for Gagner, if a legit two way center isn’t coming back in this deal then why make it?

    So Gagner fetches a Gardnier or like type player who fills a role on the back end, it still leaves a gaping hole at center, unless the Oilers do plan on drafting another small center.

    In this case the Oilers just played marry go-round.

    Gagner has to be package for a group of players, that fit a specific need for the Oilers.

  • vetinari

    Is it a case of a coach who can’t use a player properly or a case of a player who wants a new start?

    Frankly, almost all of the Oilers are underperforming right now which makes me think that it is more a problem with the coaching and if you are going to make a change anywhere, start there, and start now.

      • vetinari

        @Primo– we all know that there are problems with the roster and problems with upper management, but how can anyone say that the present coaching team is not the number one problem right now?

        We’re worse in all aspects of the game, in the standings and in player morale and performance– if that’s not signs of a coaching problem, then what is?

        Are you saying that it is better to stick with the current problem just because we’ve had too many coaches recently? That’s like saying we should stick with a bad goalie just because it would be too hard on team morale to bring it a different goalie. Identify the problem and either do something to remove it or else if you have to live with it, then minimize it.

        • TeddyTurnbuckle

          Coaching is not the problem with the Oilers!! The one and only problem with the Oiler organization is ACCOUNTABILITY! There is none. 6 rings has no accountability to win. Hate to break it to you but neither do the players. 1st overalls that sign >$30MM contracts need to be held accountable for production. With the Oilers they are not! 1st overalls that don’t produce RNH, YAK) require development in the AHL. That will never happen with the Oilers because they do not hold players accountable! Justin Schultz is pathetic and needs development in the AHL, that will never happen! Eberle needs to be accountable for his poor ice performance but rather he keeps playing. Nothing changes! Oiler fans wake up, coaching is not the problem.

          • vetinari

            Unfortunately the coach that MacT hired is totally incompetent. Normally would agree that coach is not the problem but Eakins is just a very very bad coach and he must be removed. If the two of those guys are trying to change the mentality they have a very strange way of trying to accomplish it.

          • vetinari

            You are arguing accountability, then hold the coaches accountable– fire the ones that need to go.

            Coaches determine the lineup, coaches determine the lines, coaches determine the time on ice for players, coaches determine how the players are deployed (PP, PK, 5v5), and the coaches determine what strategies are used. If all (or almost all) of these areas have gotten worse after a coaching change, then it likely wasn’t a good coaching change.

            I’m not saying it’s the only problem, but it’s a big one. Yak asked for a trade because of how he was being used, and it won’t be long before that spreads to other players. Refusing to fix a problem because there has been too much movement at that position (i.e. the coach) recently is just not rational.

          • TeddyTurnbuckle

            Look here Primo Pasta and Sauce,

            Accountability comes from the coaching there pal.

            P.S. Justin Shultz got 1st team All-Star off half a season in AHL. Check your facts before posting Pasta Man.

          • Bryzarro World

            The coach doesn’t need to be accountable for his bad systems, poor communication, poor player management and on and on and on…??

            The guy takes no responsibility for anything.

            Give your head a shake…

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        people who don’t want their favorite players traded will always think yet another coaching change is the answer….I don’t and it isn’t. we still have several players here that don’t buy into Eakins system and didn’t try to buy into previous coaching systems…..time to make the players accountable!

      • Oiler63

        Last year under Krueger (despite the same assistants) this was a better team with a better record, playing entirely against the tougher western conference. The team and it’s players were trending up it seemed, enough so that some media and analysts picked the oilers to make the playoffs this year. Games (at least many games) were fun to watch.

        This year, Eakins, with a better roster and another year experience for many young players is gaining on DFLast In the league. Everyone and everything is trending down with no hope in sight. And I’d rather watch curling.

        There are many problems with this team. But coaching is #1 my friend.

        • vetinari

          Hmmm…I guess your solution then is to change coaches pretty much on a yearly basis. Unheard of in pro sports history. Expand your horizons, look beyond the coaching. Your strategy in not sustainable. The coaches in the Oilers organization cannot continuously be held as the scapegoats year in and year out. What a joke!

    • camdog

      Do you believe Cogliano turns into that type of hockey player if he had remained in Edmonton?

      On a side I do believe if you put Gags on the wing or with some big wingers he can be a productive player. However I don’t believe that Gags playing with small, defensively weak wingers is a means of success for him. The balance is off with this team, has been for 8 years and nobody’s done a thing to correct this imbalance, why???

      • Slapshot

        Anaheim signed Cogliano to a 4 year contract extension this afternoon,his name can be added to the long list of players who have left this gong show and went to other teams to have success.Gagner on the right team will be added to that list.

    • D-Unit

      Well, when the team a guy like Cogliano, goes to, is like Anaheim it makes a huge difference.
      A decent player going to a GOOD team is the key.
      Would Cogliano be the player he is if he was in Buffalo, or the Islanders or another bottom feeder team?
      If you put Gagner on a Stanley Cup caliber team, he could probably excel somewhat too, but he won’t be a 2C on one of those teams.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    is Eakins coach next year?….yes

    do the Oil need to improve up the middle….year in and year out they do.

    has Arco done enough to make Gags expendable?….no

    will the Oil have the same similar talents in the top 6 next year?….yes, unless management can get over their fear of trading Yak or Ebs.

    can they get value for Gagner? I doubt they ever really will. even when he had his 8 point night, we still wouldn’t have gotten his true value.

    my 2 cents.

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    Is Dallas Eakins the coach of next year’s team? At some point, they have to give the coach time and his very own assistants. That should be priority.

    Do the Oilers need to improve up the middle? Of course they do. Is this a trick question?

    Has Mark Arcobello done enough to make Gagner expendable? They cannot have two small centers in the top two. This has been said over and over.

    Will the organization have the same number of similar talents in the top 6F next season? Let’s just hope for the best on that one.

    Can they get value for Gagner? If Sam plays with Hall, thus improving his numbers, yes.

    Is Gagner a part of the future with Eakins in charge? I think it is a little obvious that a Dallas Eakins kind of team is far from what the on-ice product is at the moment. Let’s face it, they should have never let Tom Renney go. Wether we liked him or not. That move right there, is one of the reasons for the current state of the team.

  • Once again the Oiler brain trust hang on and hang on and hang onto their deficient player waiting for god knows what?! Until the rest of the entire NHL knows just how useless they are. Sam Gagner has not been an answer since ever. Maybe it wasnt his fault being brought up early. But the team HAS to get better at assessing this and unloading the player while there is still an iota of value. A smallish C that cant win a draw if his life depends on it and has zero defensive IQ… I’m sure the phone is ringing off the hook for him?! As it stands we are going to literally get sweet @%$& all for this player. But I would still take it.

  • outdoorzguy

    So how does a Toronto based reporter get this scoop and not one Edmonton “reporter” even had a sniff? The reporters in town are just as bad as the team. They deserve each other.

  • D-Unit

    Is Dallas Eakins the coach of next year’s team?
    Most likely since it is a 4 year deal, they will give him at least another 1/2 season after this. I am worried if they let him go they would promote Bucky.

    Do the Oilers need to improve up the middle?

    Yes with a larger more two way player.

    Has Mark Arcobello done enough to make Gagner expendable?
    A small sample size but for sure the rest of this year, he is not a second line center solution on this team either.

    Will the organization have the same number of similar talents in the top 6F next season?
    Not a chance, they know this isn’t working

    Can they get value for Gagner?
    Value? A veteran defense man with a similar contract that is physical from a team that needs more offense, maybe.

    Is Gagner a part of the future with Eakins in charge?
    I don’t see Eakins making a whipping boy out of Sam but he still isn’t being responsible in his own end.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      It might have been Serious Gord, or another poster , who pointed out that MacT’s “MBA” has an asterisk; one you can normally buy rather than earn.

    • reaperfunkss

      all the Oil Brass have an MBA- Mega Bank Accounts. Thanks to the fans and we have to suffer with this brutal team and management group ! Since we are paying the bills- though not writing the checks, what can we do not as one but strength in numbers to demand CHANGE ?

  • **

    Don’t toy with me Lowetide.

    Gagner’s hatred aside, Mac T should see what a great opportunity this is to improve the team.
    Since the season is already lost he can trade Gagner as a salary dump, ala Smid. Arcobello can’t do worse, and it doesn’t matter if he does, I mean, the Oilers can only go lower one more spot in the standings.

    Gagner can go to a team where he’ll be a better fit and have a better career, at least get a chance to do so, what he does with it is up to him.

    Prepare for the deadline and free agency, be proactive, don’t make Tambellini moves looking for a plugger when the season is gone.

    One can only hope.

    • vetinari

      I would do that deal and throw in a case of Alberta beef T bone steaks and a box of Cuban Cigars.

      Lowetide I am so frustrated with Eakins right now that I am the last person to ask about his future with this franchise.
      I posted earlier today some of my feelings towards the man. The numbers are against him. But are the numbers a product of the players not grasping his system. Or are they a product of system play that does not work. Eakins is an issue for the off season. I just can’t put all this mess on the players. Eakins has a few personality issues that rub me the wrong way.

      The Oilers trade Gagner at this point it opens the can of worms at center. Would sam Rheinharts name be then in the mix.Or alternatively would Paul Stastny’s or O’Reilly.

      Either way I don’t see MacT doing anything before the trade deadline.

      The season is a write off. The question for me is who on the Oilers will step up to the challenge and show that despite the record they have pride.

  • reaperfunkss

    I miss Cogliano…Great third line centre with a great defensive game who can also put the puck in the back of the net.

    Ducks got him at a steal for a second round pick.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    Yak went to his agent because he doesn’t like how he is being treated. Appears to look like Gagner wants out too. (He insisted on a no move/trade clause in his contract, and was on the door step on an arbitration hearing—clearly he wanted to be here). Who’s next? Can we really blame the players? The fans have been predicting this for over a month now. My finger is pointing toward Eakins as being our biggest problem. Nobody is happy in Edmonton, and the rest of the league either pities us or are laughing at us. The morale for the fans and players couldn’t possibly be lower, and the management can’t be blind. When do they do the right thing. The time for panic has come and gone. I think we now have a crisis.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    Didn’t see the hot stove but it wouldn’t be the first time a rumour didn’t have any legs. I can only hope. Even if you believe Gagner is a good player or not I think it’s clear the organization needs to go in a different direction for the second line center. Some believe he could be moved to the wing but there is no room in the top six and then we are paying 4.8 million for a third liner. After Cogliano’s impressive display last night it rubbed salt in the wound that Anahiem has a better player and value going forward . If MacT can’t trade Gag’s before the deadline then he may have to look at a buyout. Either way Ganger can’t be back next season. Sucks that his value is at an all time low though.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      Combine the idea that this management team doesn’t have the courage to trade a player who is playing well with the idea that Gagner is not part of the winning equation here and you get to the idea that his playing poorly and lowering his trade value is actually and paradoxically, a net win……it’s the only way he gets moved. Sad but true.

      I would prefer to keep him till he’s playing better…but when he’s playing better I don’t trust that they’ll move him…so I’d rather see him go now.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    Pull the trigger, I am waiting on Gags to flourish or at least turn into a reliable NHL’er some where else just like his old buddy Cogs did in Anaheim.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      Cogs numbers were mediocre at best his first season with the Ducks, and the previous two with the Oilers. he had a pretty decent year last year in 48 games and is doing roughly the same this year so far. let’s not get carried away with the “flourish” stuff until we actually see if he can do it consistently year in and year out.

      • I Remember the Orange Jerseys

        Well maybe flourished isn’t the right word, but he sure is more effective and consistent than what we’ve got.

        The ducks certainly appreciate what he does with rewarding him an extension and at this point, I must say their management ate more “in the know” than ours.

  • **

    I told everyone yesterday!!!

    Lindy Ruff was available and the Oilers didn’t move!

    Brian Burke could have also been had as GM!


    Sam Gagner and 2014 1st round pick for David Clarkeson.

    • D-Unit

      For Burke to be the Oilers GM, Klowe would have had to be gone.

      Also, Burke most likely would have had to have the POHO job, which would be a good thing.

      I would love to hear Burke give true assessment of the Oilers players, Bobby Ryan style. Coaches and Management too.

        • Bryzarro World

          Don’t you think that was pretty funny?
          I think Clarkson and his contact would be better here than in Toronto, it looks like he has the playing in front of the home town syndrome.

        • Oiler63

          Joshy…judging buy your intelligent comments the only comedian is you. I suspect you have never played sports based on your comments. Accountability comes from the players on the ice. Thats right. The ones that are accountable for heart, desire, loyalty, hard work and production. In return they get fame, recognition, an opportunity to play in an elite league and wealth i.e. juicy pay checks. Quit blaming the coaches “intel” man!

          • Oiler63


            Haha I’ve never been called that before. YOU MUST BE A HOCKEY PLAYER!!! I’d like to know on what level?

            Look here Primo Pasta and Sauce, there are some coaches you’d run thru a brick wall for….. And some you’d take a piss on…. Accountability??

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Oilers trade Cog’s to Ducks for a second round pick a year later that turned out to be 56th overall, he is one of the best 3rd line centers in the league.
    Oilers trade a 4th round pick for Jerrod Smithson,who I don’t think is in the league unless it is with Marlies.
    What a joke, don’t tell me Lowe didn’t assist in both of these deals either.
    If the Oilers would have traded Gagner at last years deadline for a defense man maybe things would be completely different today.

    • Spydyr

      So…the Ducks fleeced the Oil and got Cogliano. Didn’t the Ducks also get Souray, another Oiler castoff who we let go for nothing, because he disrespected the Oilers organization. But who is really disrespecting the organization? I would argue that its KLowe, MacT and their buddies, everyday they come to work, and do more damage to this once proud franchise.

  • **