Gagner Comps (Updated)

In past summers we`ve discussed comparables for various players (Hemsky equals Rick Middleton, etc) and can usually figure out a good comp by the time a player has been in the NHL for a season or two.

Sam Gagner`s comps are very good players, but I`m still not certain if his best comp is Doug Gilmour or Vincent Damphousse.

In the case of Damphousse, the parallels are strong and go back to junior. As a 17-year old junior, Damphousse scored at an identical level to Gagner at the same age (2.25 to Gagner’s 2.23). Damphousse’s team scored 406 goals to Gagner’s 301, so it’s probably safe to say Gagner was slightly ahead at the same age. Either way, on their respective draft days both men were considered to be among the very best talents available. As an 18-year old NHL player Damphousse scored 80gp, 21-25-46 (.575 points-per-game) compared to Gagner’s 79gp, 13-36-49 (.620 points-per-game). Damphousse was on a team that scored 3.57 goals-per game, Gagner’s club 2.87 so we can again draw the same conclusion (Gagner slightly ahead at the same age). As a 19-year old NHL player Damphousse went 75gp, 12-36-48 (.640 points-per-game) while Gagner went 76gp, 16-25-41 (.539 points-per-game). Damphousse was on a team that scored 3.41 goals-per-game, Gagner`s team 2.85. I think we can safely say that (offensively) Sam Gagner is tracking ahead of Vincent Damphousse as an NHL player.

In terms of plus minus compared to team, Damphousse is superior both seasons:

  • Damphousse at 18: -6 on a team that was -21
  • Gagner at 18: -21 on a team that was -14
  • Damphousse at 19: +2 on a team that was -36
  • Gagner at 19: -1 on a team that was +7

So at this point we`re looking at a player with fewer dimensions that Damphousse but a better offensive resume as a teenager. A quick warning about quality of opposition: we don`t know what kind of opponent Damphousse was playing against, so a closer look is impossible.

Starting this season, we can finally compare apples to apples in regard to the other strong comp, Doug Gilmour. I suspect Gagner will trail without the puck at age 20, as Gilmour was an outstanding NHL rookie:

  • Was +6 on a team that was level at EVs (210-209). That’s impressive, and he did it on a club with some veterans bailing water (Federko was -3, Joey Mullen was -8 and Guy Chouinard was -15 and about to lose his career).
  • The team was 62-56 at EVs when he was on the ice.
  • He scored just 3 goals on the PP (Blues had 79 of them).
  • He scored 1 PK goal (of the 4 St. Louis scored that season).
  • His boxcar numbers were 80gp, 25-28-53 .66points-per-game.
  • He was 6th in team scoring behind a bunch of veterans.
  • He was tied for 3rd on the team in EV goals.
  • He led the Blues in playoff scoring as a 20-year old

I think Gagner has a good chance to exceed the point-per-game total (.66 per game). If get gets close to Gilmour in plus minus relative to team it`ll mark a big improvement and if he can score 21 even-strength goals we`re going to be giddy for a decade.

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37 Responses to "Gagner Comps (Updated)"

  1. boopronger says:

    Dear Tambo

    Please please please do not trade Gagner for Heatley or a "bigger" player.

  2. Smytty777 says:

    Vinny Damphousse was a great Oiler for the year he was here. I recall him being a guy that read the ice well and created space for himself, not unlike what Gagner might grow into.

  3. firemedic136 says:

    One part of Gilmour's game was his tenacity, grit and leadership. I don't know what attributes he demonstrated at age 20 as the flames traded him, but I don't see Gagner with the same fire and gumption that Gilmour had.

  4. Sean says:

    firemedic: Gagner may not be at Gilmours level but his fight against Kesler proved a lot to me.

  5. boopronger says:

    The goal Gagner scored against Vancouver this year, (beating Mitchell wide), really showed a lot to me. Hes got the creativeness and willingness to try different things and that hockey sense is what could make him very very good.

  6. PDO says:


    Hit Control+Shift at the same time to fix your keyboard. Might have to do it more than once.

    If Pavel Datsyuk was Canadian and played for an organization that took their prospects a little more quickly, more often than not due to need, I have to wonder how well he would track.

    By all accounts Sam is a bit of a gym rat, much like Pavel. They're both under-sized, they both rely on exceptional hockey sense to get the job done, and have absolutely magical hands.

    Now… Sam has a long way to go in terms of strength, speed, tenacity, puck battles, defensive awareness and consistency…

    But if we're talking his absolute high end, it's the Russian in Detroit.

    I'm sure the Math even says Gagner is tracking far ahead of him up to this point ;).

  7. Deano says:

    I like Sakic as a comparable for young Sam.

    Like Burnaby Joe, I think Sam has no single exceptional quality (okay, Joe does have that quick release), but seems to rely on his brain more than most, like Sakic.

    Damphousse was an exceptionally fast skater iirc, and as mentioned Gilmour has that tenacity. I do not see either quality in excess in Gagner like his abundant hockey sense.

    Here's hoping – fingers crossed.

  8. Lowetide says:

    PDO: I think I've got it. Thanks.

  9. PDO says:

    No problem LT… that drove me insane for months until I found that out.

  10. uni says:

    LT: If you're using Windows XP you can turn off the Advanced Text Services to prevent that annoyance.

    1. Go to Control Panel > Region and Language Options

    2. On the dialog popup window click on the Language tab

    3. Click on the Details… button

    4. On the new popup window click on the Advanced tab

    5. Under System Configuration check off the "Turn off advanced text services" button

    6. Click on Ok, then Ok


    If you're on Windows Vista or Windows 7 you can't turn off the advanced text services (thanks Microsoft for once again telling us what we want). You can, however, disable the shortcut keys:

    1. Right-Click on the language bar icon, this is usually located on the taskbar (the strip with the Start button) next to the system tray (where the time is displayed in the lower right corner)

    2. On the context menu select Settings…

    3. On the popup window click on the Advanced Key Settings tab

    4. Under the heading "Hot keys for input languages" select "Between input languages"

    5. Click the Change Key Sequence… button

    6. In the dialog window tha comes up Select Not Assigned for both option button areas

    7. Click on Ok, then Ok

    You'd be amazed at how many calls I used to get about that.

  11. uni says:

    Oh the Language Bar icon looks like a little Keyboard by default in Windows.

  12. Scott says:

    LT, excellent as usual. I don't think Gilmour is a good fit as a comp. The developmental path looks very different and they don't strike me as similar stylistically either. I really like the Damphousse comparison myself but I think you typoed on Vincent's stats in his 19 y/o season. You have him down for 12-26-38 and I think he was actually 12-36-48. Gagner looks a lot less favourable in that light. Nonetheless, I'm still very pleased with Gagner's progress overall. I took a look at both Gagner and Patrick Kane just after the season to see how they were tracking:

  13. Lowetide says:

    Scott: Thanks for that, I did miss it. The new total puts them dead even when we consider the difference in era offensively.

    Fun stuff, like your Kane-Gagner glance too.

  14. bookie says:

    Don't trade Gags!

  15. Bruce says:

    Uni: Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you. This Vista keyboard bullshit has been driving me fucking nuts.

    (What? You hadn't noticed the change?)

    As for comparables for Gagner, not too many guys his size walk into the league at 18, do they? Especially a Young 18 — Sam doesn't turn 20 'til August 10!

    I think I like Damphousse the best, but how about Tim Connolly or Alexandre Daigle?

    (Sorry about that.)

  16. raventalon40 says:

    One part of Gilmour's game was his tenacity, grit and leadership. I don't know what attributes he demonstrated at age 20 as the flames traded him, but I don't see Gagner with the same fire and gumption that Gilmour had.

    We've seen glimpses of it every time Gagner plays the Canucks.

  17. Black Gold says:

    We've seen glimpses of it every time Gagner plays the Canucks.

    So he only plays feisty in front of his father?

    Oilers have a psychiatrist on staff? Maybe something we should spend some time on? haha.

  18. PDO says:

    I'll throw out another name:

    Doug Weight.

  19. uni says:

    So he only plays feisty in front of his father?

    Oilers have a psychiatrist on staff? Maybe something we should spend some time on? haha.

    Why mess with a good thing? Maybe the Oil can give the Canucks their last draft pick as compensation and then hire Dave Gagner to follow the team around and sit in the stands 82 games a year =).

    I'd be happy if Samwise becomes a Vinny D type of player and I think that's a decent potential comparable. I don't see him as a Gilmour type player though, their styles seem a bit disparate, and Killer was a helluva player in all zones of the ice.

  20. uni says:

    Bruce: NP, glad to help =).

    That's the problem with Microsoft, it's not so much the monopolistic bent on everything, but the fact that they seem to be so out of touch with the user base so often. They have brilliant people working for them, but somehow they manage to output a vast quantity of what can only be termed as head scratchers. "Don't tell us you know what you want, WE know what you want."

  21. ian says:

    So would Gagner for Heatley straight up be a bad deal?

  22. HBomb says:

    So would Gagner for Heatley straight up be a bad deal?

    Yes. Because of a) salary implications and picking up basically 6 million worth of cap hit and b) there's no reason to be trading your best young player with the highest upside (if we give up Gagner in order to get Heatley, it's going to further show how awful the Pronger trade to Anaheim was).

    I'm even hesitant to give up Cogliano, depending on the other parts of the package. If it's Cogliano, Gilbert, and the 10th overall, I'll be the first guy to scream "overpay".

  23. quain says:

    Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of the deal if it's Cogliano for Heater straight up, honestly. I don't think it'd be a bad deal, but something along the lines of 'good young player' + 'crappy salary hit' + middling prospect + middling pick, is probably the most I'd want to pay.

    Think Cogliano, Penner, Nilsson, Wild, and a conditional first. Five assets! How could he say no!

    Son of a bitch, I think that's a way better haul than we got for Pronger, I'm angry all over again.

  24. spOILer says:

    I don't see the Killer comp. To me Gilmour was more of a goal-scorer than a play-maker and Gagner seems to be the other way around. Even Vinnie seems more like a goal-scorer than Gagner although they both were blessed with great hockey sense. I like the Doug Weight comp mentioned above — shorter guy but with strong stocky body, great playmaker, vision, sense, can still score goals better than Oates… seems closer to me.

  25. Lowetide says:

    A Weight comparison has been difficult because he came up through college and didn't turn pro until 20. This time next season we can add him to the list.

  26. R-Gib says:

    Good work LT, I like what you're doing here.

    Do we have any idea who Damphousse played with in junior? It makes a big difference if Vincent was driving the bus or just had a good seat. Sam was on a killer team playing with the number one pick that year (Kane) and another slick player in Sergei Kostitsyn. It's probably fair to say that those two were directly responsible for a portion of Sam's numbers.

    I'm not trying to knock Gagner down a peg, just wondering about the junior numbers and trying to compare.

  27. Bruce says:

    Damphousse was an exceptionally fast skater iirc, and as mentioned Gilmour has that tenacity. I do not see either quality in excess in Gagner like his abundant hockey sense.

    Deano: To my eye none of the three was/is a speedster. Not to say they weren't effective skaters, but they wouldn't blow around anybody on speed alone very often.

    To me Gilmour was more of a goal-scorer than a play-maker

    spOILer: That's not the Gilmour I remember, especially in his prime (Calgary/Toronto):

    88-89: 26-59-85
    89-90: 24-67-91
    90-91: 20-61-81
    91-92: 26-61-87
    92-93: 32-95-127
    93-94: 27-84-111

    He was a bigger goal scorer when in St. Louis — which I'll grant you is the portion of the career that we can currently compare to Gagner — but always had more assists than goals. On his career Gilmour scored 2.14 assists for every goal.

  28. spOILer says:

    Agreed, LT, I checked that out when I read the Weight comp above… and it seems to me Gagner is tracking past Weight offensively too.

  29. spOILer says:

    Yes, Bruce, and for the relevant portion he got 42% of his points as goals…

    Which may show he was a goal-scorer that developed his play-making as his career went on (or linemates/role were having a massive effect).

    Gagner seems like the opposite–more like a natural play maker whose goal scoring could use some development.

    I doubt the Sakic comp offered above too, for the same reason.

    It's the relevant portion that seems to be important here, given that it wouldn't make sense to use Weight as a comp since he was in college for the comparable two years.

  30. Bruce says:

    spOILer: Well if you really want to be a stickler, for the relevant part of his career Gilmour was putting up huge numbers for the Cornwall Royals.

    As for linemates/role, my recollection is that he was thrown to the wolves right off the bat in St. Loo. Bernie Federko got the cherry minutes and the finishers on the wings (Joe Mullen, Brian Sutter). Gilmour was more likely to play with guys like Greg Paslawski, and against guys like Denis Savard. He was also more likely to spend time on the PK than the PP.

    So the comparison of his 20-21 y.o. seasons is not close to what we've seen out of Gagner in his underage years. As to whether Gagner will mature into a Gilmour type, I have my doubts.

  31. Ben says:

    OT: But this might be the most gloriously oblivous quote ever. I laughed when I read it.

    While Burke stated that he has no problem with players requesting a trade, he was unhappy with Heatley's decision to go public with his request, thus making Senators' general manager Bryan Murray's chances of moving the sniper extremely difficult.

    "For a player to pop off and say he wants out or leak it (to the media), in my mind you are now no longer interested in your team. If you've done that you've handicapped them, you've handcuffed your GM."

    While Burke admitted that the Leafs planned to be very active in the off-season and had plenty of money and cap space at their disposal, the 2002 Calder Trophy winner would not be welcome in Toronto under his tenure.

    "As long as you are on that team, you owe them to maximize the asset, and once you've taken that step, sorry I don't accept that."

  32. Alice says:

    Murray should do what Lowe should have done: let buddy cool his heels until the March trade deadline. Not only a little pushback, but you've also got more motivated buyers. In the summer everyone likes the rosters they're putting together, optimism (2nd in Conference, Book it!) is rampant. After Christmas, when the underachievers are exposed, or the injury bug hits – now your Dany Heatley asset looks a lot more tempting. Not to mention every GM should have access to a fund (can you spell "Collusion"?) that would make it easier to teach guys this little lesson. I'll side with players any day, but hanging your GM and your team out with a public Trade-me request should get you watching some hockey from the press box for a while.

  33. PDO says:

    So, is Burkie going to lay tampering charges on himself?

  34. jon k says:

    If Murray had said something similar about a player that Burke was shopping we'd never hear the end of it. Within 24 hours Burke would be crying bloody murder to the media about how Murray was tampering and lowering the value of an asset he was trying to shop by publicly criticizing him.

    What a clown.

  35. PDO says:

    The Edmonton Oilers are rumored willing to part with defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky ($5.6 million per season against the cap until 2012-13) or Sheldon Souray (cap hit of $5.4 million per season until 2011-12) in hopes of landing offensive depth.

    Please not Lubo….

  36. gogliano says:

    As much as I think Lubo is our best defenseman, I think it is a good sign if the older, big ticket items are on the block. The core of this team is (tie in!) Gagner and Hemsky, with the latter's contract being the organizations best asset at this point. Best to wait for the right kids to mature.

    So I'd rather see Lubo go than Grebeshkov or Gilbert.

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