Don Cherry and a few good men. This a photo of some importance for Oilers fans: L-R are Steve Downie, Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner, Dick Cherry’s brother, James Neal and Ryan O’Marra. Photo is from January 6, 2007.
In the post below, speeds made some very interesting comments in regard to Sam Gagner’s chances of making the big club. To quote speeds “The franchise may be better off long term by playing Gagner from 20-27 instead of 18-25, but it sure seems to me like the Oilers management are really trying to compete this year. If Gagner is the best option, I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest that EDM might keep him around, at least for a harmless 9 game look (WRT CBA and UFA implications) to see if he can truly make a difference in the club’s playoff chances for this year.”
Good points all. The Oilers are looking for instant offense for the “big 5″ (Horcoff, Penner, Hemsky, Stoll, Torres) and finding it in house (and not using Pisani) gives the Oilers a better chance of playing the opposition to a standstill during the 3-4 time (Pisani being the main cog).
How far fetched IS this idea? We’re not talking the entire season, but (as pointed out in the quote above) a 9 game look-see in order to make certain he’s not the guy. The Oilers have after all proven beyond a shadow of a doubt this off-season that they will sacrifice the future for a less than 100-cent-on-the-dollar payback in an all out effort to grab 8th place in the spring.
How does Gagner compare to the other young men talked about as possible solutions to the Oilers lack of skill depth at F? Desjardins’ loves him:
- Gagner: 82gp, 16-39-55 (17) (OHL)
- Slava Trukhno: 10-29-39 (19) (QMJHL)
- Robert Nilsson 82gp, 10-27-37 (21) (AHL)
- Andrew Cogliano 17-19-36 (19) (NCAA)
- Rob Schremp 82gp, 10-21-31 (20) (AHL)
- Ryan O’Marra: 14-13-27 (19) (OHL)
We have to factor in ATOI and powerplay time. Gagner played for the London Knights, who we know from the Schremp days tend to roll their top guns a lot compared to anywhere else there are pucks and sticks. Still, that’s a nice gap there and from what we read Gagner didn’t quite get the Schremp minutes.
Another factor is Desjardins’ numbers themselves. I used average numbers over a period of years (or actually Gabriel did) so there’s no allowance for specific spikes in seasons (OHL scored 5,073 goals in 1,360 games, 3.73 per team per game or 7.46 per game, while the Q scored 4,791 goals in 1,260 games, 3.80 per team per game or 7.60 per game, and yet the OHL number is .3 and the Q number is .28 above).
Might as well do the rest, the AHL number is 6,471 goals in 2,160 games, which is 2.96 per team per game or 5.99 per game, and the NCAA division Cogliano played in scored 1,471 goals in 484 games, which is 3.03 per team per game or 6.08 per game, but the AHL number is .47 for Robert Nilsson and .33 for Cogliano. This implies that Cogliano’s number is completely unfair based on his performance in a league that saw a goal about as often as the AHL but Desjardins did the study based on a ton of previous performances in each league so it should average out over a bunch of seasons.
Okay, now I’m talking myself into Cogliano. If we use the AHL number (.49 for 20-year olds) Cogliano’s season becomes 25-28-53 NHLE (and this is without taking Michigan’s number out which would make it almost an exact match for the AHL last season 2.93) and he’s pretty much spot on where Gagner is in NHLE and we can know from reading that the top Michigan line was Hensick-Porter-Rohlfs.
Back to the original subject. CAN Gagner pass all these other kids during camp? It’s possible, especially if no one else comes in and impresses right away. As speeds mentioned he is going to have a head start from the international tournament. I can’t put a number on his chances, but it clearly is not zero.
And Cogliano’s chances are way better than 10%. Way better.