Sam Gagner needs to be better. With Taylor Hall moving to center (and the 1line), it is vital that Gagner can mesh with two wingers to form a secondary scoring line. In the 3 games since the switch, Gagner is 0-0-0 -5 and frankly isn’t playing well.
Gagner has shown in the past he can play a strong game with
Pääjärvi and perhaps coach Renney will need to move Ryan Jones back onto that line. They played well against St. Louis (scored a big goal in the 3rd period of that game on Dec 4) and it’s probably worth a try.
The Desjardins numbers for qual comp are telling us an interesting story at center this season. Here are the latest numbers, I’m excluding Hall because he’s played only 3 games there:
- Cogliano .077
- Horcoff .045
- Gagner .019
- Fraser -.094
Here’s what I read from this: Although the difference between the top 3 isn’t huge, coach Renney looks to have made the decision to run Cogliano against tougher competition and Gagner against the softer opponnet since Horcoff’s injury. That doesn’t jive with my eyeballs, and I wanted to check with you. Does that chart represent the true situation? Let me know.
The relCorsi numbers (qual of competition) for that group DO jive with my eyeballs:
- Gagner .501
- Cogliano .350
- Horcoff .251
- Fraser -.799
or at least to the point where Gagner is outperforming Cogliano. Horcoff plays the toughs when healthy and was healthy when the team was playing well so I’m not certain what to make about his number.
I’ve always been fairly confident that Gagner was the keeper over Cogliano and remain convinced of same. Having said that, if Taylor Hall can play center and Shawn Horcoff remains (which he will) to play the toughs then there’s only going to be room for one of Gagner, Cogliano or Couturier.
DOES the Hall experiment bring into question Gagner’s future with the Oilers? I don’t think so, but it is probably something worth considering. Sam Gagner would get you a nice return on the trade market.
In the game thread below, poster Ducey wrote the following:
- LT, Survey says you should move Petry up in your Prospect list from 12th?! ~Why do you hate him so much?~
The last part is an inside joke going back to the days of Rob Schremp, but the first portion is an important one. My reply is “yes, I sure will and his 10-11 season has been so good he’s got a chance to be #1.”
My dividing line for prospects is 50 NHL games. At this point, all of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Pääjärvi, Theo Peckham, Linus Omark and Devan Dubnyk will have graduated from the prospect list. That represents 6 of my December top 12. Petry has played 8 games and so won’t graduate before summer. He would have to be the overwhelming favorite for #1 at this point in time, although that lottery pick is pretty stiff competition.