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Looking back at Sam Gagner’s career and best moments with the Edmonton Oilers

Ryley Delaney
6 months ago
Guess who’s back, back again. Sam Gagner’s back, tell a friend.
On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that Gagner, a fan favourite of Oiler Country, has signed a contract and will be called up for his third stint in an Edmonton Oilers uniform.
Let’s take a look back at Gagner’s career with the club… 

Oilers select Sam Gagner sixth overall:

A year and a bit after the Oilers went on their miracle run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, they ended up with the sixth overall pick after an eventful 2006-07 season, finishing with a 32-43-7 record.
The 2007 draft saw plenty of talented players, with Gagner’s London Knights teammate Patrick Kane going first overall, along with long-time NHL vets James Van Riemsdyk, Kyle Turris, Jacob Voracek, Logan Couture, Ryan McDonagh, Lars Eller, and several others.
After 16 seasons in the National Hockey League, Gagner’s 1,015 games ranks sixth in the draft class. His 192 goals rank tenth, while his 327 assists rank eighth. Gagner just turned 34 years old, so he might still has a few more seasons left in him. 

The Gagner™:

Anytime you have a shootout move named after you, you’re doing something right. Goaltenders know it is coming, yet they still bite on it every single time.
His first shootout goal came on this move in his rookie campaign, and he continued to do it into the early 2010s, including a nasty one against the Phoenix Coyotes and future Oiler Mike Smith and one against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

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With the NHL implementing three-on-three overtime prior to the start of the 2015-16 season, the shootout has occurred less and less as the years have gone on. In turn, Gagner has had fewer chances to use this beautiful move, with his last attempt coming on February 17, 2022, and his last shootout goal coming on May 1, 2021.

The Eight-Point Game:

Where were you on February 8, 2012? I was in grade 8 on a school night, so I didn’t hear about Gagner’s historic eight-point night against Chicago until the following day. Coming into this game, Gagner had five goals on the season, but that total would increase nearly double in just 60 minutes.
It started off quite slow, as Chicago jumped out to a 2-0 lead early into the second period, but Gagner got his first point of the night on a Taylor Hall goal 2:22 into the second period. Just over five minutes later, Gagner scored his sixth goal of the season. The scoring wasn’t done in the second period, as Gagner registered an assist on a Ryan Whitney power-play goal. This was the somewhat famous “money off my shoulder” celebration from Whitney.
Gagner scored an early goal in the third period for his second of the game, before assist on Cam Barker’s second of the season. He tallied up two straight goals after Chicago made it 5-4, before assisting on Jordan Eberle’s 20th goal of the season late in the third period to tie the Oilers record shared by Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey.

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Prior to this cold February game, the last time a player had eight points in a game was during a Pittsburgh playoff game, which was done by Mario Lemieux in 1989. It hasn’t been done since.

The Second Stint:

Hot take: Trading Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome wasn’t that bad of a deal. Cap space needed to be cleared, and moving Eberle, who had 20 goals and 51 points the season prior, had some merit to it.
Especially since the Oilers received Ryan Strome in return. Strome had a fine first season with the Oilers, scoring 13 goals and 34 points in 82 games. His second season was short-lived, scoring a goal and an assist in 18 games, before being moved for Ryan Spooner.
Spooner didn’t fare much better, scoring just two goals and an assist in 25 games, before being moved to the Vancouver Canucks, which was his last season in the National Hockey League. If you’re curious, Spooner now plays for Omsk Avangard in the KHL, along with Vladimir Tkachev, which is a whole other can of worms.
In return from Spooner, the Oilers received Sam Gagner for his second stint with the team that drafted him. Gagner played just 25 games with the Oilers in 2018-19, scoring five goals and 10 points in 25 games. While he wasn’t as good as Strome, who had 18 goals and 33 points after the trade, bringing back Gagner salvaged this trade in a sense.
In 2019-20, Ganger scored five goals and 12 points in 36 games with the Oilers, before being moved near the trade deadline for Mike Green. As recently as 2021-22, Gagner had 13 goals and 31 points in 81 games, so he still has something to give, even if it’s in a fourth-line depth role.

Gagner is back again:

And so that leaves us with the news that Ganger was signed to a deal on October 31, 2023. Hopefully, this stint will see him raise a Stanley Cup, before retiring and working in hockey operations with Edmonton.
Either way, it’s a great day in Oil Country as a fan favourite has returned. Everybody bust out your No. 89 jerseys! 

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