TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT ($3.2M/1)

Sam Gagner signed just before his arbitration hearing this morning. One year, don’t yet have the terms but I’ll guess between $3.1 and $3.7 (update: according to Darren Dreger, it’s a one year deal for $3.2M).

I’m not certain the Oilers management group delivered what we’d hoped–value contracts from the quality RFA’s with term. The Dubnyk deal is for two years and then he’s UFA; the Petry deal is exceptional value but as speeds tweeted last night why not tack on three years to it? Gagner’s deal is one year,but why not go five years times $4M?

Gagner’s likely to have a solid year, which will make buying future free agent seasons more expensive next summer. This deal could be a severe miscalculation, and if 89 does have a career season (50+ points) then signing him in the same summer as Hall and Eberle need their 2nd contracts will be a lot for this management team to handle successfully.

I think it’s important to remember a couple of things about Samwise: he’s still just a kid despite the NHL experience. He’s clearly “one of the boys” in the group that would include Hall and Eberle, but is he one of management’s long term choices?

I think that’s the question this morning. During the RE series, we discussed Gagner’s status as a trade option:

  • That was a tremendous night against Chicago. It was a spectacular evening, one we won’t forget for a long time. 8 points is historic–tied with 99 and 7 from the Glory team–and honestly it couldn’t have come at a better time. With Darren Dreger saying the same words every 15 minutes he’s on tsn–”the Oilers aren’t offering Gagner but they badly need defenseman and that’s the name mentioned by other general managers”–the timing of the outburst bordered on perfect.

What does it all mean?

I expect it means Gagner isn’t on the “A” list for the cluster. Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Yakupov, I’d guess Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Oscar Klefbom.  Somewhere between black and white lies Sam Gagner. This might be his last contract as an Oiler. Today was a missed opportunity.

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173 Responses to "TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT ($3.2M/1)"

  1. franksterra says:

    I would say that for the Oilers brass, the contract isn’t self-castration. But it is stepping on your own wang a bit.

    Olcyzk (sp?) the cap guy maybe needs some help, or a scenery change? Petry, Dubby, this…

  2. Lowetide says:

    The only other thing I can think of is that they are hoping the new rules will take effect when the CBA is agreed to; With Gagner–who will have 6 years in–I imagine there’ll be a grandfather clause in there, though.

  3. godot10 says:

    A player is NOT going to sign a long term deal if he doesn’t think he has reached his peak performance as a player.

    This is true for both Gagner and Petry.

    Add to that the risk of a salary rollback in the new CBA, and it becomes extremely difficult to a player like Gagner or Petry to sign a long term contract.

    Next summer, Hall, Eberle, Gagner, and Smid will have to decide amongst themselves how to divide the pot. That is not a bad thing from the Oilers perspective. We’ll see if they do what the young guys in St. Louis are doing, signing relatively reasonable deals.

  4. jonrmcleod says:

    Maybe the Oilers are hoping someone will sign him to an offer sheet next summer. The Sabres haven’t made good on their threat yet. More draft picks!

  5. HBomb says:

    3.2 million is supposedly the value of the deal, says a Darren Dreger “Tweet”…

  6. Lowetide says:

    godot: Players all around are signing long term deals. I think the Oilers are less than 100% sure Gagner is their guy for the 2line C job. That’s what this contract is about imo.

  7. jonrmcleod says:

    $3.2 million (Edit: Disappointed I didn’t break the news. Congratulations, hbomb.)

  8. godot10 says:

    i.e. Next summer, the Oilers can put Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Smid, Gagner, Hemsky, and Petry all in a room, put a pile of money in the middle, and tell them to divide it amongst themselves.

    I think that is a relatively good situation to be in. Peer pressure to make sure everyone gets paid relatively fairly and stay together.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Godot10: That’s a very creative idea. Do you think the Oilers will be creative enough to sign all those fellows in one summer?

  10. cdean says:

    I was hoping for longer term, but he still remains a RFA if I remember correctly. This is a good deal for Gagner and a poor deal for the Oilers they could have upped both the amount and the term and still looked good.
    Waiting to see what happens in the new CBA could be the dumbest excuse. If that is true then they are hoping some one else helps them with their problems instead of dealing with it themselves. I said it before and I will say it again, from a management standpoint the Oilers do not look to have any balls.

  11. sliderule says:

    If the oilers are going to keep this group together they are going to be a cap team.

    I don’t think they have a plan on how they are going to be able to do this.

    They will just bumble along until they have few options.

  12. Lowetide says:

    CDean: That’s kind of how I feel. I imagine the Oilers wanted to sign him to a deal that could be easily moved if it came to that, and maybe 5 years times $4M would make it difficult. But my feeling is that he should be part of the future.

  13. matmik says:

    This is a smart deal – unless he was going to take 3M over 4/5 years this is the right move. He needs to prove he can produce as a top 6 center. He hasn’t done that yet. Take away a week from last year’s season and there’s even greater concern about his productions. He’ll still be an RFA next year and you can pay up if you need to.

    I don’t see any reason for the doom and gloom.

  14. franksterra says:

    I’m on the fence if this is meant to be Sam’s “you’ve got eight months to show us you can roll with our elite top six” season. It will be his sixth season, but as its stands, there is still a hole on his LW which will be filled by either an extremely talented rookie, a semi-struggling sophomore, or Pappy Smytty. For PMD we have an extremely talented college rookie, a sophomore, and a wonderful D-man with Slinky’s for ankles.

  15. mumbai max says:

    The common theme on this site is that bravado = a smart. move Sometimes
    some prudent dithering = a smart move. I wonder how many (ex) GM’s would
    point at things they did NOT do as the smart thing.

    Can we really believe that what Philly or Minny have done is smart? Gutsy,
    ballsy, proactive, bold or brave perhaps, but i very much doubt long term smart.

    What we forget to factor into these long term deals is human nature. Human nature
    is to get fat and lazy when you have piles of money, and the incentive to earn
    more is gone. Can we really imagine that Parise, Sutter or Weber are going
    to have the same fire in their bellies at 30? or 32? or 35?. Chances are they will
    be worrying about a new ferrari or boat, rather than busting their hump to have
    a career year. It does not make them dishonorable, just human.

    I would be very very surprised if any of those contracts are considered value
    contracts for more than five years.

    What is the one thing that will guarantee that Sam will play his guts out.
    Why? Obviously, it is a contract year. I would love to see research about relative
    output in contract years, vs. career average. Maybe I should produce that.

    Anyway, I think this is a good move all around. He is still an RFA next year, so the club gets
    another kick at the cat, and a guaranteed big effort this year. Sam gets a chance
    to prove himself, and the opportunity to see what happens with roll backs etc. (CBA)

    I am cheering for him. RE. 80 -20 -33- 53

  16. HBomb says:

    matmik: This is a smart deal – unless he was going to take 3M over 4/5 years this is the right move. He needs to prove he can produce as a top 6 center. He hasn’t done that yet. Take away a week from last year’s season and there’s even greater concern about his productions. He’ll still be an RFA next year and you can pay up if you need to.

    Take away the first 13 games, where he only scored 2 points and was clearly not 100% after suffering his pre-season injury, then look at his points per game for the rest of the season, it translates into a 60-point center over 82 games.

    Is it proof positive he’s going to produce at that level going forward? No, but it’s reason for cautious optimism. 45-50 points is average 2C production. If the Oilers had a 2C capable of 60 points consistently, I think we’d all have reason to be very happy, regardless of whether than individual was 5-10, 185 or 6-4, 220.

  17. Ring2theDing says:

    @ lowetide

    Do you think they are maybe holding off on long term deals because:

    A) None of these guys have proven to be a key piece of the puzzle. Gagner is the closest but Petry is my favourite.
    B) They are keeping themselves relatively free in regards to cap management because they may look to make a big move in the next year? Free agent or trade. If they sign these guys to long term contracts it kind of handcuffs their ability to move them if they falter or if they want tomake a move in free agency.

  18. franksterra says:

    Just to clarify, i am optimistic about Sam’s role on this team, but I hope his future, in the eyes of the brass, isn’t dependent on him having some sort of ‘breakout’ 60 pt season next year.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Ring2theDing:
    @ lowetide

    Do you think they are maybe holding off on long term deals because:

    A) None of these guys have proven to be a key piece of the puzzle. Gagner is the closest but Petry is my favourite.
    B) They are keeping themselves relatively free in regards to cap management because they may look to make a big move in the next year? Free agent or trade.If they sign these guys to long term contracts it kind of handcuffs their ability to move them if they falter or if they want tomake a move in free agency.

    All are possible. The problem Edmonton has created today is summer 2013:

    1. Hall 2nd contract
    2. Eberle 2nd contract
    3. Gagner rfa season and buying into free agent years.
    4. Ladislav Smid will be a UFA
    5..Ryan Whitney will be a UFA

    It isn’t a doom or gloom contract, but it is a “unsettled weather” contract. I am not confident the current management group can get all of it done, and do believe they are hesitant to commit to 89. And I think that is unwise.

  20. Bruce McCurdy says:

    godot10: Next summer, the Oilers can put Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Smid, Gagner, Hemsky, and Petry all in a room, put a pile of money in the middle, and tell them to divide it amongst themselves.

    You do realize the last two of those guys are signed through 2014, right?

  21. WeridAl says:

    LT how do you figure Gagner might be used as trade bait to get a D when the Oilers don’t have anyone to replace him. Horcoff is a disaster, and was painful to watch him and his stone hands last year. Pitlick needs another year, and according to Nelson he’s more suited to be a RW. If anything the Oilers need a upgrade at 2nd line C then another Dman.

  22. jonrmcleod says:

    Lowetide,

    Don’t you think the Oilers have a checklist that includes signing Hall, Eberle, and Smid during the upcoming season? I envision them signing all three of them one at a time before the season is over.

  23. Lowetide says:

    WeridAl:
    LT how do you figure Gagner might be used as trade bait to get a D when the Oilers don’t have anyone to replace him. Horcoff is a disaster, and was painful to watch him and his stone hands last year. Pitlick needs another year, and according to Nelson he’s more suited to be a RW. If anything the Oilers need a upgrade at 2nd line C then another Dman.

    Well we’re going to disagree on Horcoff. He played crazy tough circumstances and battled the dragon to a good result (see http://lowetide.ca/blog/2012/07/sledgehammer-3.html)

    Gagner played against softer competition and delivered some nice things.
    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2012/04/sam-gagner-11-12-on-the-beach.html

    I’m convinced he’ll be a quality top 6F, the Oilers are not. At least long term. Sam Gagner hasn’t shown an ability to do Shawn Horcoff’s job.

    That’s probably a reason for the 1-year deal.

  24. BrazilianOil says:

    godot10:
    i.e. Next summer, the Oilers can put Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Smid, Gagner, Hemsky, and Petry all in a room, put a pile of money in the middle, and tell them to divide it amongst themselves.

    I think that is a relatively good situation to be in.Peer pressure to make sure everyone gets paid relatively fairly and stay together.

    If the next season is succesful enough the players could make that effort, but if is a disaster again, probably everybody try to find his best way.

    Another concern to do this is if the agents let their clients make this kind of deal.

  25. Lowetide says:

    jonrmcleod:
    Lowetide,

    Don’t you think the Oilers have a checklist that includes signing Hall, Eberle, and Smid during the upcoming season? I envision them signing all three ofthem one at a time before the season is over.

    I’d hope they have already talked to all three about a new deal. Maybe that’s part of the Yakupov deal? Sign them all and have a big media conference.

  26. Ring2theDing says:

    Lowetide,

    But let’s say Hall and Eberle won’t take the hometown discount next year. If you have to make a choice between Hall, eberle and gagner, it’s easy to let gagner walk.

    They could most likely sign all three and overpay hall and eberle if need be but it’s looking like it will be a good free agent class next year so why handcuff your self now?

    If Gagner has a breakout season and scores 60 points, we can still sign him for <5mil. But it gives us the freedom to choose instead of having the decision made.

    I understand the principle behind overvalueing early to undervalue when it matters but i feel it's hard when you have a plyaer like gagner who knows even if he plays like he has the last 4 years he is going to score 50+ points. I don't see why he would want to limit him self to a marginal raise over what he got for the 1 year.

  27. Bruce McCurdy says:

    No reason the Oilers can’t sign an extension with Gagner during the season as well, since he’s by definition in the last year of his deal. Not sure there’s any technical reason why they couldn’t do so tomorrow if it was just a matter of running out of time in the recent negotiations before they could iron out the wrinkles.

    Not saying that Will happen, just that it could. My primary conclusion is that they couldn’t agree on value longer-term so settled on another year for Gagner to further establish it.

  28. regwald says:

    I am not convinced there is another contract for Ryan Whitney. If his ankle is the same as last season and there is no improvement in his ability to make turns, there may be a forced injury retirement at season’s end.

    I do have the same concerns about cap management and signing players to long term deals to ensure they are locked up to prevent the Shea Webber type loss. I don’t have confidence that this management team is capable either.

    That said, since there is a new member on that team – MacT, I throw my hope behind him. I hope he can introduce a better vision and cleared line of business that we have been seeing. I don’t have faith he can do it, but it’s just hope.

  29. Traktor says:

    If Gagner plays himself into a massive raise then that’s a good thing.

    Everyone is always looking for that “steal” but teams don’t get trouble for signing players for what they are worth. They get in trouble when they gamble looking for a steal and end up with a terrible contract.

  30. gd says:

    I think this is a very prudent move by the Oil. Deferring as many big decisions until the new CBA is signed makes sense to me. As this point I don’t think anyone has a clue what the new CBA will look like, but any changes to UFA age, length of contracts, and lowering of the cap should help the Oil keep the core together.

    To me the core 4 are the only contracts worth worrying about, as long as they manage the other assets prudently. The key to this season is to show enough improvement and hope so that they can get Hall and to a lesser degree Ebs to sign a long term team friendly contract.

    If Gagner has a good enough season that he warrants a over $4Mill/yr next year that will be great news. If the team loses a Gagner, Dubnyk or even Smid in the next few years, if there are not enough cap space to go around that is acceptable as long as it is only one of them.

    My biggest hope is that Katz is making sure he has the right management in place to understand the new CBA and how to manage the core 4.

  31. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    I think there’s a bit of overreaction here. We didn’t go to arbitration, that’s a good thing. We didn’t get locked into a long-term overpayment. Another good thing.

    The jury is still out on Gagner and I don’t see how the argument can be made that he needs to be locked up for 5 years.

    This is not a missed opportunity. This is a cautious signing for a team that has a lot of moving pieces.

  32. commonfan14 says:

    Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons: This is a cautious signing for a team that has a lot of moving pieces.

    Agreed. Anything that represents the antithesis of the Vanek signing has to be a good thing, right?

  33. Beaker says:

    This contract reeks of one thing on the oilers part: Assessment

  34. russ99 says:

    Maybe this 1 year deal is due to the Oilers wanting to move him, yet the return on offers isn’t good enough. Punt the ball down the road another year and then see what shakes out.

    Also, Hall and Eberle better be re-signed well before next July. No need to start Shea Weber-like RFA games from the front office, the players and other GMs.

  35. Bar_Qu says:

    I wonder if it was Gagner’s camp who wanted the short deal for what the Oilers were offering. Take another season, get some better boxcars & then ask for bigger dollars. Better than getting Petry-Ed ina bad two-year deal.

  36. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Oilers have exactly one contract that extends beyond 2014 — Shawn Horcoff’s six-year deal that expires in 2015. That one was signed in July 2008, a couple of weeks before Tambellini came on board.

    This assures that a) the players have lots of incentive, and b) the next two summers will be verrry interesting.

  37. Rondo says:

    I’m sure if Oilers could have signed him for 2yrs at 3.2 M. Gagner obviously thinks he will be worth

    more than 3.2 M a year ( which is a good thing) . So he took 1 yr. I think Gagner made the right

    decision for himself. I expect him to work harder and be a better player this year coming up.

    However as I said before this team can’t win with 2 small centers at #1 and # 2 . Gagner knows his

    lifespan of an Oiler is short.

    At the end of the day Oilers signed a player who will be motivated to show the league he is worth

    more and Oilers know he will be traded. Good situation for both sides.

  38. striatic says:

    this is an okay signing although it sets up the possibility of losing Gagner with no return [depending on the new CBA].

    i would have been okay with a longer contract at something like 3.5 to 3.75 but at least now the oilers have an opportunity to see what they have next year and sign three big pieces in a way that fits all three under the cap in a careful way.

  39. treevojo says:

    The one reason I haven’t seen discussed with regards to Sam only getting a one year deal is Taylor hall getting a real audition at center. Maybe the one year has more to do with Taylor’s ability at center then it has to do with sam’s.

  40. uni says:

    Rondo: However as I said before this team can’t win with 2 small centers at #1 and # 2 .

    Pavel Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula say hello. Henrik Zetterberg also wanted to say hi.

  41. Ribs says:

    Rondo: However as I said before this team can’t win with 2 small centers at #1 and # 2 . Gagner knows his
    lifespan of an Oiler is short.

    Yea, that #1-2 6’3 center is bound to come around any day now……Or something.

  42. Schitzo says:

    Bruce McCurdy: No reason the Oilers can’t sign an extension with Gagner during the season as well, since he’s by definition in the last year of his deal. Not sure there’s any technical reason why they couldn’t do so tomorrow if it was just a matter of running out of time in the recent negotiations before they could iron out the wrinkles. Not saying that Will happen, just that it could. My primary conclusion is that they couldn’t agree on value longer-term so settled on another year for Gagner to further establish it.

    Can’t extend until January 1 on a one-year deal. Still leaves tons of time, in any event.

  43. boopronger says:

    Dont know about the rest of you but im getting tired of the long term deals. Let the player become the 4 or 5 million dollar player first, then pay him accordingly. Dont hope he becomes that player and pay him first.

    Getting gagner on these 1 or 2 year deals in the low 3 million range is better then paying him 4 all these years imo.

  44. godot10 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: You do realize the last two of those guys are signed through 2014, right?

    Yep.

    But they can be signed to extensions next summer if the terms of the new CBA do not change regarding when extensions can be negotiated. So Hemsky, Nugent-Hopkins, Petry, and even Dubnyk can technically sign deals next summer also.

    All those guys have to share the pot, so if you can get the almost the entire future core together at once, put a big pile of money on the floor, and ask them divide it up amongst themselves (all metaphorically speaking), it could set the team up on the ice and salary cap wise for an extended period of time.

    There will be a new CBA, and the entire core will be due contracts, with no really bad contracts left except for Horcoff’s. Maximum clarity and maximum flexibility for all the parties involved.

  45. Ducey says:

    cdean: I was hoping for longer term, but he still remains a RFA if I remember correctly. This is a good deal for Gagner and a poor deal for the Oilers they could have upped both the amount and the term and still looked good.Waiting to see what happens in the new CBA could be the dumbest excuse. If that is true then they are hoping some one else helps them with their problems instead of dealing with it themselves. I said it before and I will say it again, from a management standpoint the Oilers do not look to have any balls.

    Balls? Problems? Excuse?

    First, we don’t know what Sam was looking for. Maybe he wasn’t going to take 4 x $4 M.

    Second, a smart manager looks to minimize risk. Sam is either going to be an RFA for a year, or an RFA for a few more years. Either way, they still have the player under control, can trade him easier, and can see how he might evolve (or not). If you pay him $4.X million x 4 years you are paying for production which may or may not occur.

    If the CBA might hand you a better negotiating position, why the hell wouldn’t you take it? Because it shows you don’t have balls??

    The only downside is that he lights it up and they have to pay him more. If that looks like its happening, you can always do a deal with him during the year. Or you can pay him what he deserves – in any event you just saved $800K for this season.

    The Oilers are also likely going to consider Hall at C at some point. If that happens, and it works, there is no room for Sam. For most teams, taking on a 4 or 5 year contract for a smaller player (there is still a bias among many GM’s) that is based on projection is not going to be that attractive an option.

    For Sam, he just got a $1 M raise and knows he has to produce or his next raise might not be quite as big. Nothing wrong with lighting a fire under a player.

    I think the 1 yr deal at $3.2 M is ideal.

  46. godot10 says:

    Rondo:

    However as I said beforethis team can’t win with 2 small centers at #1 and # 2 .Gagner knows his

    lifespan of anOiler is short.

    Datsyuk and Zetterberg. It all depends on the size of the wingers.

  47. Bank Shot says:

    This seems like a perfect opportunity for the old “Pump and Dump”. If the Oilers feed Gagner prime minutes with guys like Hall and Eberle all season, he should have some pretty darn good counting numbers.

    Then next off season you can trade him for good value, and sign Mike Fisher for the second line.

    FYI, Gagne’s problem isn’t size. He’s just too slow, and not good enough defensively to be a plus two way player.

  48. Ribs says:

    I don’t think these Oilers believe in the Pump’n Dump.

  49. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Schitzo: Can’t extend until January 1 on a one-year deal.Still leaves tons of time, in any event.

    Thanks, didn’t realize that.

  50. Beaker says:

    I dont see the fascination with size in the center position. Size in the top 6 or top top 9 is totally different. Really though, if you want size in our top 6 (lofty goal atm) then the two candidates for replacement are Gagner and Hemsky. There is no way Gags should be playing under 2C on this roster so the only way to get size as center is through trade atm. You could have Hemsky with Smyth and Horcoff and put Harsky or Paajarvi on your top 6 but I dont know if thats what everyone means when they say size right now.

  51. Rondo says:

    uni,

    That was so 5 yrs ago.

    Datsyuk was the best player in the world and Ztter was a top 10 two way player in the league. That was a special team also given the had 3 of the best players in the world.

    Can’t win with 2 small centers.

  52. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Ribs:
    I don’t think these Oilers believe in the Pump’n Dump.

    The trouble with “pump and dump” is that during the “pump” stage the fan base gets sold on how essential the guy is going forward.

  53. bookje says:

    The only ‘fail’ here would have been if they ended up in arbitration.

    This contact is reasonable, it would have been better perhaps to have a 5 or 6 year deal, but we don’t know what the demands of the player were for that to happen, so all we can say now is that the Oilers did fine on this.

    I think its meaningful that Hemsky, Smyth, Dubnyk, Petry, and Samwise have all been signed without any drama (other than the imagined drama in the mind of many bloggers/commentors). Drama used to run the show in Edmonton and I think we are seeing a more mature management group these days. It doesn’t mean all of the problems are solved, but at least it is an improvement.

    Next up – fix the holes.

  54. bookje says:

    Bruce McCurdy: The trouble with “pump and dump” is that during the “pump” stage the fan base gets sold on how essential the guy is going forward.

    When you only have one guy on your team that is a bigger issue. When you have Nail, RNH, Hall, Eberle, etc, the loss of a player like Gagner is more palatable.

  55. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Give RNH & Gagner a couple wingers like Franzen / Holmstrom and some of that “small centres” talk dries up.

  56. Beaker says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    How about giving them wingers like Hall, Eberle, Yakapov and Hemsky? :)

  57. Traktor says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Give RNH & Gagner a couple wingers like Franzen / Holmstrom and some of that “small centres” talk dries up.

    I usually agree with you Bruce but come on. Gagner is closer to an AHL player than on the same level as Datsyuk and Zetterberg.

    With Edmonton building around Hall, Eberle, Yak, and probably Hemsky there isn’t any room for Franzen even if he was available for free unless Edmonton made roster room. That’s why long-term commitments to B-grade players makes no sense.

  58. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Traktor,

    Key word “some”. The issue with size is small centres and small wingers. Detroit solved it with guys like the hugely-underrated Franzen, Holmstrom and even Bertuzzi on the wings. Oilers need to solve it.

  59. Beaker says:

    Winnik Signed with ANA.*

    *Sad Trombone for LT

  60. Traktor says:

    Beaker:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    How about giving them wingers like Hall, Eberle, Yakapov and Hemsky?

    Exactly.

    We know two things:

    1. Edmonton is building around Hall, Eberle, RNH, and Yakupov.
    2. Edmonton would like to get bigger, and stronger.

    Everyone agrees that adding big players that play 5 minutes a night does not address Edmonton’s need to get bigger.

    In the end you are left with Gagner and Hemsky as the only two options if Edmonton wants to get bigger in the top 6.

    The only other option would be to add a big, strong 3rd line C that plays 20 min/night but Horcoff’s contract tells us that is not possible.

  61. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Traktor,

    Traktor: That’s why long-term commitments to B-grade players makes no sense.

    What long-term commitment?

  62. Truth says:

    What if they try Hall at center this year and it’s a success? Gagner with a good year on top of that would allow the Oilers to trade him for a solid D man and allow the team getting him to sign him the contract they want. The added motivation of a contract year should boost his play and therefore trade value.

    If they don’t do the Hall experiment or it doesn’t work, then Gagner gets resigned. If he has a good year the Oil will have no problem signing him to longer term and bigger $$. If he has a bad year, they can keep him at a low cost or trade and attempt to upgrade through trade/free agency.

    I see little risk in this deal, if he went UFA next year it would be completely different.

  63. Traktor says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Traktor,

    Key word “some”. The issue with size is small centres and small wingers. Detroit solved it with guys like the hugely-underrated Franzen, Holmstrom and even Bertuzzi on the wings. Oilers need to solve it.

    Which one of Hall, Eberle, Yakupov, or Hemsky are you moving to bring in a Franzen type?

    And if you need two big wingers like your previous post insinuated which one of kids gets moved?

    You assume we can make things work with bigger wingers but I don’t see any available spot to bring in a hulking winger. Do you?

    So we are right back where we started.

  64. Traktor says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Traktor,

    What long-term commitment?

    Edmonton avoided a long-term commitment with Gagner.

  65. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Traktor,

    I don’t know. That’s why Oilers need to solve it.

    I do know putting three 6’4, 230 pound guys on the fourth line will NOT solve it.

  66. Jonathan Willis says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    So does management. See Gilbert Brule.

  67. franksterra says:

    Why can’t big new skilled guy X play 2nd line LW, with Ebs, Hemmer and Yak all staying and playing on the starboard side? Deal with ‘is Hemmer going to have another contract and crowd things?’ later. Let MP and Harski simmer in the A, or play a goodly amount of bottom 6 minutes. This would be getting dangerously close to three scoring lines, with 2 and 3 having a mix of defensive acumen, grit and skill. Sounds too good to be considered…

  68. Jonathan Willis says:

    Also, let’s try to remember that Nugent-Hopkins is 6’1″. At some point he’ll fill out and all this “small” talk will go away.

  69. Traktor says:

    Hall RNH Eberle
    Yakupov Gags Hemsky

    If we want to get bigger in the top 6 we have only two options: Gags or Hemmer

    Lets assume though that we are comfortable with that top 6 then where is the best position to upgrade and address some grit?

    Hall RNH Eberle
    Yakupov Gas Hemsky
    Smyth Horcoff Jones

    Smyth isn’t going anywhere and Jones finished near 1st in hits, blocked shots, PK minutes and he scored 35 goals the last two years. Apparently some advanced stats are catching up to reality as well.

    IMO the best move would be to package Hemsky and Gagner for a legit top 6 player with size and grit and then promote either MPS and Harty.

    You can point out the Detroit model from 5 years ago but the thing is everyone in the Oilers org from Lowe to Tambellini to Stu are all talking about the need to be a “heavier” team. Its only a matter of time.

    I know Hemsky, Gagner, and Horcoff are 3 favorites around here but one of them needs to go.. not because they can’t play hockey but because they occupy a position that will need to be used to address a need.

  70. spoiler says:

    Nice to see someone backed up a Razor and a winch and finally dragged HBomb’s ass out of the muskeg. I was beginning to worry… About my Seagram’s stox, that is.

  71. gcw_rocks says:

    I like this deal. While I would have been fine with a longer term deal for up to $4M per season, if management and Sam had a different perspective on his upside, then this deal works for both parties.

    After this season, Sam will have SIX NHL seasons under his belt. Regardless of age, 6 seasons for a forward is an eternity. After six NHL seasons, forwards pretty much are what they are. I would rather they gamble on the upside of a Hall or RNH on long term deals than gamble on the upside of Gagner.

  72. nathan says:

    LOWETIDE: “godot: Players all around are signing long term deals. I think the Oilers are less than 100% sure Gagner is their guy for the 2line C job. That’s what this contract is about imo”.

    Lowetide,

    Players [at the peak of their careers] all around are signing long term deals. FIXED.

    A player who has not peaked would be nuts to go long term without bonuses to avoid potential rollbacks in the new CBA. The team would be nuts to protect his cap hit from rollback. By all accounts he took a number very close to the team’s arbitration offer. This contract might be about setting him up as a candidate for core discounts next year imo.

  73. jonrmcleod says:

    Jonathan Willis,

    However, there are a few guys who never “fill out.” It would seem there’s a possibility that RNH is one of those guys. The Gretzky body type?

  74. matmik says:

    matmik,

    please ignore – rights can’t be traded

  75. commonfan14 says:

    Traktor: You can point out the Detroit model from 5 years ago but the thing is everyone in the Oilers org from Lowe to Tambellini to Stu are all talking about the need to be a “heavier” team. Its only a matter of time.

    Agreed that they’ve signaled it’s a direction they want to go, but it might turn out to be a big mistake down the line. Concussion issues aren’t going anywhere, and sooner or later the NHL will have to deal with them in ways that could make big bodies a lot less valuable than they are now.

    I would hate to see them give up skill for size just to see the game’s evolution go the other way on them.

  76. Rondo says:

    Really no room for Gagner as a #2 center , with RNH and possibly Hall. He is just too small.

    He could be # 3 center if he changed his game with the Oilers.

    Best thing that could happen to the Oilers is he signed a 1 yr contract he will be motivated, and eventually be worth more than he is today.

    Hopefully there will be a season coming up.

  77. Henry says:

    At this point everyone is signed and they have 10M of cap to spare. Despite some hope-for-the-best being attached to the defense, this team may compete this year with enough young talent, picks and cap to poach from others in a playoff drive next year. It’s almost like management learned on the job.

    Next summer, they’ll have 16M (todays cap, I know) to spread for raises to 12 players and getting a new backup goalie. I hope they don’t save everything to the last minute.

  78. ashley says:

    We Oiler fans fancy ourselves as amateur GM’s sometimes considering ourselves more clever than real GM’s.

    As a group, we tend towards a unifying single “need” that drifts from one thing to another, usually modelled after the recent Stanley winner. Some years ago around the turn of the milennium, I remember a “kid” line being critical like we had in ’90 with Graves, Gelinas, Murphy. We HAD to find a way to reproduce that. Then our problems would be solved.

    I recall a “puck-moving defenceman” was a prolonged fetish in the mid 2000′s. It seems the Oilers management listened and brought in Pitkanen, but left me questioning the wisdom of listening to the fanbase. ;)

    A “big tough winger with crust” was a focus point for a while.

    “Tough stay at home dman” was in vogue a few years ago which was quickly followed by “a true 1D”.

    Now we have moved on to “size up the middle”. We can’t win without it. 6’3″+ centerman or bust.

    Next year’s champion will change our focus again. It’s keeps things interesting around here in the dog days of summer.

  79. "Steve Smith" says:

    ashley: I recall a “puck-moving defenceman” was a prolonged fetish in the mid 2000′s.It seems the Oilers management listened and brought in Pitkanen, but left me questioning the wisdom of listening to the fanbase.

    Wait – you question management’s wisdom in bringing in Pitkanen?

  80. Kris11 says:

    Remember what my friend the Hulk says:

    OILERS FORWARD IS GOOD. DEFENSEMEN BAD. GOALIE NO SURE.

    GAGNER REALLY GOOD PLAYER. SAME SIZE AS SOME OF BEST CENTERS IN LEAGUE WHO NOT CALLED SMALL CENTERS. SIZE NO PROBLEM FOR GAGNER. GRITTY TOO. EVEN FIGHTS, JUST LIKE HULK. ONLY 22. MOST FORWARDS GET BETTER 23 OR 24.

  81. Rondo says:

    Kris11,

    Take a look at Stanley Cup winners in the last 6 yrs . How many had small centers at #1 and #2?

    Crosby and Datsuk are in a class by themselves you could also add Toews

  82. serum114 says:

    Not Gagner related, but Josh Green signed an AHL deal in OKC today. Very beneficial to get a quality vet on the farm who doesn’t take up a 50-man spot. Underrated and likely to be mostly overlooked today, but a nice little signing for the organization.

  83. DSF says:

    Rondo:
    Kris11,

    Take a look at Stanley Cup winners in the last 6 yrs. How many had small centers at #1 and #2?

    Crosby and Datsukare in a classby themselves you could also add Toews

    Toews is 6’2″ 210.

  84. Ducey says:

    Rondo: Really no room for Gagner as a #2 center , with RNH and possibly Hall. He is just too small.He could be # 3 center if he changed his game with the Oilers.Best thing that could happen to the Oilers is he signed a 1 yr contract he will be motivated, and eventually be worth more than he is today. Hopefully there will be a season coming up.

    Repeating the same bald statment that Gagner is too small makes me wonder whether your brain is too small.

    I find it tough to understand why the Oilers will never be able to make the playoffs with RNH (6ft1″ 175 lbs) and Gagner (5’11″ 195 lbs) as their top 2 centers. Please explain.

    Along the way, please explain how NJ was able to get to the finals with Elias (6’1″ 195 lbs) and Adam Henrique (6′ 195 lbs) as their top 2 C’s or how PHI won all those regular season games with Briere (5’10″ 181 lbs) Giroux (5’11” 172 lbs) Matt Read (5’10″ 185lbs) and Maxine Talbot (5’10″ 190 lbs) in their lineup.

    I would especially like to know how if Sam had an extra 2″ in height the Oilers would be good to go, but because he doesn’t they are destined to always be out of the playoffs.

    Does it hurt less to get hit by a 5 ft 11″ 195 lb guy comapred to a 6’1″ 195 lb guy? Does the extra 1/2″ reach make a difference? What is it? I’d like to know.

  85. Henry says:

    serum114:
    Not Gagner related, but Josh Green signed an AHL deal in OKC today. Very beneficial to get a quality vet on the farm who doesn’t take up a 50-man spot. Underrated and likely to be mostly overlooked today, but a nice little signing for the organization.

    You’re right. Josh Green is a real pro.

  86. Ribs says:

    Gagner the same size as Mike Richards or Sid Crosby. I think maybe they’d still be in good shape without monsters Kopitar and Malkin talking care of them..

  87. stevezie says:

    Traktor:

    I know Hemsky, Gagner, and Horcoff are 3 favorites around here but one of them needs to go.. not because they can’t play hockey but because they occupy a position that will need to be used to address a need.

    Those are three of my favourites but it is hard to argue with that logic. I can at least argue that the move needn’t be imminent.

    As Captain Obvious is fond of pointing out, it’smore important that you’re good than big. Having more goodness than the other team will get you throught the regular season just fine. I think out top 9 is good. Having more goodness than the other team will get us throught the regular season just fine.

    The problem comes in the playoffs when you meet a team perfectly designed to stop whatever it is you do. Successsful playoff teams are usually able play a couple of different styles- they have no kryptonite.

    So yeah, the Oil could use some size to give them mroe variety if they want to win in the playoffs. Call me three a.m Stevezie because maybe my standards are low, but right now I’d take even making the playoffs. We can fine tune as we go.

  88. Traktor says:

    Gagner at 6’1 still wouldn’t be a great fit because he has a limit range of skills.

    If someone has as a limited range of skills you hope the skills they do have are high end. Eberle, Hall, Yakupov and RNH are all elite skilled players even if they lack a wide range of skills. Those are players you can build around but you need to surround them with players that can hit 2 birds with 1 stone. Gagner can barley hit 1 bird.

    The solution is obvious which makes the Oiler fans that can’t see the problem incredibly stupid.

  89. bookje says:

    “Steve Smith”: Wait – you question management’s wisdom in bringing in Pitkanen?

    I think it has something to do with anti-matter, the tails side of coins, and B-sides of singles (I don’t know what that last one is). These are things that have to exist simply because the other, more popular or common side, exists. You don’t see them as often, but the laws of physics require them.

  90. Traktor says:

    Ribs:
    Gagner the same size as Mike Richards or Sid Crosby.

    Does he play like them? Then who cares.

  91. Traktor says:

    stevezie:
    As Captain Obvious is fond of pointing out, it’smore important that you’re good than big.

    If you are starting a team from scratch then always go for for the skill.

    There is going to be a certain point in time though when you have enough skill and a 30 point player that brings other things is more valuable than a 50 point player. Especially when that player needs PP time and not every player can play on the PP.

    I think we are getting close to that point and with MPS and Harty in the mix we can probably pay Paul without robbing Peter.

  92. DBO says:

    Back to the world of internet and TV. hello telus.

    Not sure if it’s been mentioned, but LT your crush, Daniel Winnick, signed a 2 yr deal in Anaheim for $1.8 per. Solid deal, would have been nice on this team. I really do wonder if we are in on any of these or does management really think we have a playoff calibre forward group.

  93. gogliano says:

    Even if Gagner beats his best season next year and puts up 65 points for one season is he really going to be that expensive to sign? He’ll be relying on one season out of 6 in the negotiations. And he’ll be coming off a 3.2 million contract. I’ll feel a lot better giving term if he has that breakout season than if he doesn’t, but I don’t he’ll get that much even with improvement.

    I’m ok with Gagner as the #2 center but his game does have holes. I don’t see the need to gamble on him by giving him term when he likely was asking for pretty decent dollars for his UFA years. This team can’t afford bad contracts if it is going to keep the core together.

    I also like that Gagner wanted the year to prove himself. Hopefully he shows some improvement this year and gets that bigger contract.

  94. nathan says:

    Off topic, but reaching the cap floor is going to be pricy for Nashville due to that a good chunk of Weber’s salary not counting to cap. What they really need is to pick up someone at the tail end of one of those ultra longer term contract with little cash and lots of cap.

  95. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Traktor: Eberle, Hall, Yakupov and RNH are all elite skilled players even if they lack a wide range of skills.

    Wait, Hall & RNH lack a wide range of skills?

    bookje: think it has something to do with anti-matter, the tails side of coins, and B-sides of singles

    Don’t forget the underside of the Flat Earth.

  96. Traktor says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Wait, Hall & RNH lack a wide range of skills?

    I would say they are pure offensive players and there is nothing wrong with that because they are elite skilled.

    Hall has some edge to his game though and RNH is good defensively for his age.

  97. ashley says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    No, I question management’s wisdom in listening to the fanbase although I remain hopeful that Matheson and the average fan’s passionate opinion on the team’s needs and the decision to acquire a player addressing that need was merely a coincidence.

    Pitkanen was a great move. It was a shame to let him go so quickly.

  98. jonrmcleod says:

    Interesting Twitter tidbit from Stauffer:

    “Shea Weber’s agent Jarrett Bousquet confirmed that Steve Tambellini had significant discussions with his partner Kevin Epp about Weber”

  99. ashley says:

    This size thing is really quite perplexing. The simplicity of the argument…that the measurement of a player’s height and weight are one of the most important characteristics in determining his value.

    Seemingly, a watershed statistic whereby no one below a threshold has any value and merits no further discussion.

    It’s like sitting at the airport watching people go by where every young man over 6′ is deemed a solid hockey player and every guy under 6′ is a smurf with little value as a hockey player.

    It’s like looking at any statistic in isolation. +/-. Boxcars. Except worse since physical dimensions don’t tell us anything at all about whether a kid might be a good hockey player or might make out better as a tall librarian.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir since I come here for the highly intelligent, thoughtful and insightful discussions which is why I’m surprised to find such a primitive concept extolled on LT’s blog comments.

    The absurdity of it makes me think that it is more trolling than argument.

  100. Ribs says:

    Traktor: Does he play like them? Then who cares.

    That’s just it. His size is not very relevant.

  101. jonrmcleod says:

    Ribs: That’s just it. His size is not very relevant.

    Good point. Time for Traktor to tweak his original point about size.

  102. godot10 says:

    Traktor:
    Gagner at 6’1 still wouldn’t be a great fit because he has a limit range of skills.

    If someone has as a limited range of skills you hope the skills they do have are high end. Eberle, Hall, Yakupov and RNH are all elite skilled players even if they lack a wide range of skills. Those are players you can build around but you need to surround them with players that can hit 2 birds with 1 stone. Gagner can barley hit 1 bird.

    The solution is obvious which makes the Oiler fans that can’t see the problem incredibly stupid.

    Doug Gilmour also had a limited range of skills, and was undersized. The guy went undrafted. A really big brain though. Didn’t break out offensively till 23 or 24 though. Didn’t go supernova tilll about 27 or 28.

  103. Traktor says:

    godot10: Doug Gilmour also had a limited range of skills, and was undersized.

    I have an uncle that smoked his entire life and didn’t get cancer.

  104. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Traktor,

    I don’t think “wide range of skills” means what one of us thinks it means.

  105. fuzzy muppet says:

    Rondo,

    All this talk that size is what won the kings the championship is a bunch of hooey. The kings won becuase they had ZERO injuries. The first team in like 25 years to play the same six defensemen in every game. That’s an unbelievable amount of luck that ANY team will have a hard time replicating in the future.

    Good players matter. Goaltending matters. Luck with Injury matters. Size matters MUCH less than those factors

  106. Traktor says:

    I’m sure if someone tried hard enough and had enough stats to cherry pick they can make an argument that Gagner, Horcoff, and Belanger are all individually good hockey players.

    As a unit though, and factoring in everything that the F group does and doesn’t have that unit is a complete fail. Terrible.

    That’s what it comes down to.

    You’re sold on Gagner? Fine.

    Then find a better 3C.

  107. DSF says:

    godot10: Doug Gilmour also had a limited range of skills, and was undersized.The guy went undrafted.A really big brain though.Didn’t break out offensively till 23 or 24 though.Didn’t go supernova tilll about 27 or 28.

    Glimour scored 25 goals and 53 points as a rookie.

    In his 4th season in the NHL he scored 42 goals and 105 points.

    I would call that “going supernova” at the age of 23.

  108. serum114 says:

    From the end of Matheson’s most recent EJ blog (http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/07/20/oilers-were-definitely-interested-in-weber/):

    ‘Yakupov, by the way, will be signed very shortly. While other teams are signing their first-rounders and people are getting antsy for the Oilers to sign the Russian-born winger, who is back in his homeland, it’s going to get done. Likely early next week. It’s a boiler-plate, entry-level contract with a big bonus structure as the Hall and RNH deals were.’

    So there’s that. Exhale.

  109. rickithebear says:

    DSF: Glimour scored 25 goals and 53 points as a rookie.

    In his 4th season in the NHL he scored 42 goals and 105 points.

    I would call that “going supernova” at the age of 23.

    You do Know he was #2C for most of his career.

  110. DSF says:

    rickithebear: You do Know he was#2C for most of his career.

    Yes. A very, very good one.

  111. godot10 says:

    DSF: Glimour scored 25 goals and 53 points as a rookie.

    In his 4th season in the NHL he scored 42 goals and 105 points.

    I would call that “going supernova” at the age of 23.

    That was the live puck era. Normalize by league average points (G&A) handed out per game.

    I think Sam Gagner is tracking a lot like his dad. “Dave Gagner” is still pretty good.

    My point is that it is foolish to give up on player with average physical skills, but a big brain, too early. Once such a player figures out how to play, they can play for a long time.

    Gagner is certainly good enough for now. The Oilers need to be adding a proven defenseman more than worrying about whether Gagner is the perfect second centre.

    Gagner or not Gagner is a question for a future date.

  112. Kris11 says:

    If Gagner socres 70 points and RNH gets 90, will they still be too small to win the Stanley Cup? (Lots of great centets and lots and lots of good aren’t particularly big -5’11-6’1″ and 180-205 pounds- which fits Gagner and RNH to a tee.) If so, then its not their size, but their production and defensive play that is the problem. (BTW, by my eye both RNH and Gagner play more gritty than they are sometimes described. Gagner is fairly strong winning puck battles along the boards and he fights a bit. RNH hits a bit and with any luck will be awesome at winning puck battles as he rounds into form.)

    You can argue that RNH and Gagner aren’t good enough to win. That’san interesting argument, But you can’t argue that they’re too small.

  113. Ducey says:

    Traktor: I’m sure if someone tried hard enough and had enough stats to cherry pick they can make an argument that Gagner, Horcoff, and Belanger are all individually good hockey players.As a unit though, and factoring in everything that the F group does and doesn’t have that unit is a complete fail. Terrible.That’s what it comes down to. You’re sold on Gagner? Fine.Then find a better 3C.

    It always comes back to Horcoff…

  114. Kris11 says:

    Traktor has found a sorites paradox. All of Horcoff, Belanger, Gagner, and RNH are good, but when you add one and the another and another, they are bad.

    Maybe together they are good and the D is the problem. Sometimes apparent paradoxes are easily resolved.

    FORWARD GOOD. DEFENSE BAD. GOALTENDING NOT SURE,

  115. DSF says:

    godot10: That was the live puck era.Normalize by league average points (G&A) handed out per game.

    I think Sam Gagner is tracking a lot like his dad.“Dave Gagner” is still pretty good.

    My point is that it is foolish to give up on player with average physical skills, but a big brain, too early.Once such a player figures out how to play, they can play for a long time.

    Gagner is certainly good enough for now.The Oilers need to be adding a proven defenseman more than worrying about whether Gagner is the perfect second centre.

    Gagner or not Gagner is a question for a future date.

    One gets a little tired of the excuses.

    Cut Gilmour’s production in half and you get Sam Gagner.

    Dave Gagner, who played in the same era (drafted one year after Gilmour) topped out at 82 points so I guess you would have to adjust his stats downward too.

    The date when you need to decide on Gagner is likely a lot closer than you think as the kids start to get paid next season.

  116. Kris11 says:

    How the hell hasn’t Semin signed here or the KHL by now?

    I get that he’s controversial and wants big monney and so some teams are a no go.. (I think he’s dominant and the personality issues are overblown, but that’s not what I’m asking about.)

    The KHL must surely want him a ton more than Radulov. Semin is fun to watch and would be the biggest draw in the league, maybe the second or third biggest possible behinf Malkin and Ovechkin. So if he wants big money and the NHL teams said no, why hasn’t he gone to the K?

    If somebody in the NHl were going to offer him 6.5 MM or even 5.5 MM why not do it by now? Even if you prefer Nash, at least Semin is free of cost, except cap space.Amd surely, by now, at least some of Nash’s suitors know they’re not going to get Nash without giving up more than they want to.

  117. Kris11 says:

    DSF,

    DSF: One gets a little tired of the excuses.

    Cut Gilmour’s production in half and you get Sam Gagner.

    Dave Gagner, who played in the same era (drafted one year after Gilmour) topped out at 82 points so I guess you would have to adjust his stats downward too.

    The date when you need to decide on Gagner is likely a lot closer than you think as thekids start to get paid next season.

    Not excuses. Reasonable projections based on the fact that he’s 22 and the fact that scoring needs to be adjusted for era.

    Being reasonable isn’t “making excuses” unless you’re a crazy person.

  118. gcw_rocks says:

    godot10,

    You also don’t wed yourself to those players either, because not all of them do figure it out.

    Gagner is not the problem. But if a better option comes long you don’t think twice about replacing him either.

    the other thing to consider, if we subscribe that forwards are (a) more predictable to draft and (b) have a shorter learning curve, then if the opportunity comes along to trade Gagner for a controlable #2 or #3 defenseman then you make the deal, because Gagner is easier to replace than the defenceman.

  119. Traktor says:

    Ducey: It always comes back to Horcoff…

    It always comes down to strength down the middle. I’ve been saying the same thing since before the cup run.

    I have nothing against Shawn Horcoff. He got where he is today the hard way. BCHL, NCAA, AHL. NHL4C, 3C ect…

    I think the difference between me and some other fans is I look at what pieces we have and what pieces we will need to win a Stanley Cup. Others are just happy to watch Hemsky dandle or Gagner’s 8 point game or Smyth’s return, and that’s great. I love all those things too, but I want to win a Stanley Cup so when I look at the team I’m looking at it like an artist carving a sculpture. You need to add a little here and take bit away over there.

    Some fans don’t even watch other teams play. They just watch the Oilers and a few playoff games
    and then they act like they know what Edmonton needs to do.

  120. gcw_rocks says:

    Kris11,

    It is also reasonable to to expect a breakout from Gagner. If you normalize his stats to an 82 game season for his 5 seasons you get: 51pts – 44pts – 49pts – 51pts – 51pts.

    I would like to see any comparable that had FIVE absolutely flat seasons of point production and then suddenly saw a jump in production. I highly highy doubt anyone can find one, live or dead puck era.

    So I can see why some folks aren’t overally excited about Gagner’s “upside”. There is ZERO evidence that upside will come on the offensive side of his game and so we are left to beleive that the other aspects (grit, puck posession, defensive play) are where this upside is supposed to come from? I just can’t get too excited about that.

  121. Kris11 says:

    GCW,

    A huge breakout is not that likely, (its somewhat plausible) but a large improvement is more plausible. Lots of players develop from AHL’er to NHL’er around 22, 23, 24. Lots of great players saw big offensive improvements during those years, too. Past experience with lots of players suggests Gagner should still improve offensively and defensively. The only question, then, is how much, but going from 50 points per 82 games to 60 points per 82 games is a fairly likely progression as Gagner goes from kid to player in his prime.

    If he hits 70 per season, it won’t look that unlikley in hindsight. He had an awesome junior career. He produced well in the NHL in his post draft year, which is a very good predictor of future offensive success (even if Gagner was lucky with percentages that year) and then he had some middling seasons as a young player. That’s not an uncommon resume for offensive stars. They don’t all kill the league consistently from 18-22.

  122. Ducey says:

    Traktor: It always comes down to strength down the middle. I’ve been saying the same thing since before the cup run.I have nothing against Shawn Horcoff. He got where he is today the hard way. BCHL, NCAA, AHL. NHL4C, 3C ect…I think the difference between me and some other fans is I look at what pieces we have and what pieces we will need to win a Stanley Cup. Others are just happy to watch Hemsky dandle or Gagner’s 8 point game or Smyth’s return, and that’s great. I love all those things too, but I want to win a Stanley Cup so when I look at the team I’m looking at it like an artist carving a sculpture. You need to add a little here and take bit away over there.Some fans don’t even watch other teams play. They just watch the Oilers and a few playoff gamesand then they act like they know what Edmonton needs to do.

    Well looking around the league, I’d say Horcoff is a damn good third C. If Smyth settles in on the third line, and they get someone who can handle the toughs on the other wing, that should be a strong unit.

  123. Kris11 says:

    GCW,

    Henrik Sedins first four seasons were 29, 36, 39, 42.

    Gagner’s numbers look better (not that Gagner will be as good. I’m just saying that players can improve from 4 years of blah production) than Henrik’s in those years,

    Gagner’s production is flat pver the years largely because of statistical noise. He should’ve had worse years boxcars-wise early in his career, but got lucky in percentages and was used in easier situations. Later in his career he’s had some bad percentages and has faced some tougher situations. But the fluctuations that make his production look flat look like noise, not signal. IMO.

    He really should’ve gone back to junior, then the AHL for a bit. If so, we’d be talking about his great contract and how much potential he has coming off strong seasons. But he’s played a lot and so people expect him to be better than they would if he had seen more junior and AHL time. That’s crazy, crazy stuff, IMO.

  124. commonfan14 says:

    Kris11: The KHL must surely want him a ton more than Radulov. Semin is fun to watch and would be the biggest draw in the league, maybe the second or third biggest possible behinf Malkin and Ovechkin.

    Keeping in mind SERUM114′s post above… you forgot to put Yakupov on that list.

    Shudder.

  125. Kris11 says:

    We reallyshould’ve seen this:

    2007-2008: 135 Junior Points, London Knights
    2008-2009: 90 Points, AHL
    2009-2010: 10 points NHL, 75 points AHL in limited time, or something
    2010-2011: 42 NHL points in 68 games, a bit overmatched at ES
    2011-2012: 47 NHL points in 75 games, good play at ES leading to +5, with no unreasonable SH%.

    How does that career look to you? Same player, but managed correclty. Doesn’t that player have a chance at a 60 point season following his 47 points? Maybe 55 over 82 games is the most likely, small improvement, but 60 wouldn’t seem crazy. Hell, you’d hold out reasonable hope that this player could be dominant,

    Wouldn’t that be the kind of young player you’d be crazy to give up on?

  126. Ducey says:

    gcw_rocks,

    Oli Jokinen

    21,21,16,29, 65

    Henrik Sedin’s 5th season was also wiped out by the strike. Who knows how he would have done that year.

  127. Kris11 says:

    Oh yeah, and he fights and is almost 6′ and 200 pounds.

  128. OilClog says:

    The oilers top 6 is fine, Hall isn’t a huge size improvement on what we already have, it makes no sense to move him to the middle just to get bigger. The teams 4th line needs to be stronger, the defense needs to be nastier, and the team needs to learn how to protect a lead. If these things happen, only people left crying about the size issues and if we can win a cup will be DSF.

    If Gagner had to go for a size upgrade, Getzlaf is my target.

  129. Woodguy says:

    I think the Oiler’s press release is actually the most balanced thing I’ve read about the Gagner signing:

    Since cracking the squad in 2007, Gagner has collected 220 points in 366 career NHL games. He’s yet to surpass the 49-point total he racked up in his rookie season, however, leaving some wondering where he stacks up development-wise against his peers in orange and blue.

    Given that he doesn’t reach UFA status until the summer of 2014, the one-year agreement is a suitable audition for a longer-term deal (or otherwise) next summer.

    “I think it was good,” Gagner said of his 2011-12 campaign in which he notched a career-best 18 goals and +5 rating. “There were some real high times; I still need to continue to work on ironing out the low times and making sure they’re not happening as often.

    “There’s still an opportunity to stay in Edmonton long-term. I need to have another good year and continue to solidify myself as a good NHL player and reach new levels. I’m excited about that opportunity and excited to get going next year.”

    Entering his sixth pro season, Gagner’s greatest challenge to this point has been producing at a consistent level. Last season’s highlight was memorable eight-point night vs. Chicago. Within a week afterward, he’d collected another six.

    But those 14 points scored in only four games accounted for nearly 30% of his total production last season.

    “I’m working on balancing that consistency and helping the team reach another level,” Gagner said. “If I’m at the top of my game all year, it’s going to help our group.”

    “Consistency is something he wants to improve on and it’s something we’d like to see,” added Assistant General Manager Ricky Olczyk, who was on location in Toronto to be the Oilers’ eyes and ears during the negotiation and possible arbitration process. “We saw glimpses of it last year and he had several stretches where he was really hot, but we want him to be more productive throughout the season. I think he’s capable of doing that and I know he knows he’s capable of doing that. We’re anxious to see him accomplish it.”

    Gagner will head into the 2012-13 season as the club’s second-line centre behind soon-to-be-sophomore Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. As a veteran (even at such a young age), the London, Ontario native sees the experience he’s gained as valuable asset both on and off the ice.

    “It’s something that not a lot of players get a chance to do,” he said about stepping into the league at 18. “I can help out the younger players because of that and I feel like I’ve learned a lot — and I’m going to continue to learn and probably learn a lot from them, too.

    “It’s an exciting time to be an Oiler. It’s important for us to grow together and learn how to win together.”

    Gagner was still playing for the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers the last time the Oilers appeared in the post-season (2006). Without question, he’s earmarked 2012-13 as an opportunity to crack his pro-playoff goose egg. When asked if it adds any extra pressure, Gagner said it’s a necessary component to growing a winning culture.

    “There has to be some extra pressure on everyone,” he explained. “We haven’t done as well as we would have liked in the past couple years, so we have to add that internal pressure where we’re trying to get better and push each other to new heights. We need to be pushing for a playoff spot and getting back to that level that we should be at.

    “That has to be our goal. We can’t be in a situation where if things go wrong this year where saying, ‘There’s always next year.’ It’s happened too much and it has to be a case where we put pressure on ourselves every day to avoid it.”

    If Gagner can, indeed, stake claim to a pivotal role as one of the Oilers’ offensive cornerstones, 2012-13 will have been the reason. And it’s the experience and leadership he’s gained to this point that will have helped him push through to break out.

    “He’s only 22 years old and he’s got plenty of good days ahead of him,” Olczyk said. “It’s a good thing for Sam and it’s a great opportunity to take [his career] to a whole new level.

    “That’s the key word, ‘opportunity.’”

    Full release here: http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=638338

  130. "Steve Smith" says:

    I agree that that’s very balanced – more so than you’d expect from a press release. I don’t know how I’d feel if my firm issued one with a frank assessment of my weaknesses.

    (Comparison is obviously not perfect, because nobody would read the press release in my example.)

  131. "Steve Smith" says:

    Traktor: I have an uncle that smoked his entire life and didn’t get cancer.

    The distinction is that people are making the claim “You can’t win with small centres on both of your top two lines”. When the claim is an absolute like that, it can be rebutted by a single counter-example. If the claim was something more like “Size up the middle is helpful in winning,” then I agree that citing a couple of counter-examples wouldn’t be terribly persuasive. But if the claim is that we need to jettison Gagner and replace him with somebody bigger if we want to win, then Datsyuk and Zetterberg are totally relevant. It’s like if somebody claimed that if you smoke your whole life, you’re going to die of cancer, your uncle would be relevant.

  132. VOR says:

    Just a curious little fact. Sam Gagner was 18th in EV scoring among centers in the NHL (based on points). Seems to me, given there are 30 1Cs in the NHL that a 2C who is 18th in EV scoring is getting the job done.

  133. DSF says:

    Kris11:
    DSF,

    Not excuses. Reasonable projections based on the fact that he’s 22 and the fact that scoring needs to be adjusted for era.

    Being reasonable isn’t “making excuses” unless you’re a crazy person.

    They are excuses as they relate to Doug Glimour.

    In Gilmour’s 4th season in the league (23 years old) he scored 42 goals and 105 points and finished 5th in league scoring…2 points behind HHOF members Mario Lemieux and Mark Messier and 3 points behind Jari Kurri.

    This past season, Ilya Kovalchuk finished 5th in league scoring with 37 goals and 84 points.

    Sam Gagner finished last season 115th in league scoring so, unless you think he can more than double his goals scored and whack up another 35 points next season, let’s dispense with the Gilmour talk.

    Gagner isn’t in the same area code.

  134. Lowetide says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    I agree that that’s very balanced – more so than you’d expect from a press release.I don’t know how I’d feel if my firm issued one with a frank assessment of my weaknesses.

    (Comparison is obviously not perfect, because nobody would read the press release in my example.)

    You beat me to it. Look, I admit to being a Sam Gagner fan (actually, it’s his Mom I scouted) but holy hell that’s kind of a bass ackwards release for a guy you’ve just spent $3.2M on.

    Which was my original point. I’m more convinced of Gagner than the Oilers are. I guess they expect more #1 overalls to come down the pipe, because from where I’m looking he’s easily inside the top 6 on this team and there’s no reason to believe he can’t make music with those wonderful wingers who he’ll play with this season.

  135. DSF says:

    VOR:
    Just a curious little fact. Sam Gagner was 18th in EV scoring among centers in the NHL (based on points). Seems to me, given there are 30 1Cs in the NHL that a 2C who is 18th in EV scoring is getting the job done.

    Gagner was 32nd in EV P/60 last last season.

    He finished behind such notable scorers as David Desharnais, Mike Fischer, Chris Kelly, Benoit Puliot, Mikhail Grabovksi and, of course, Kyle Wellwood.

    By your crude definition, all of those individuals would be first line centres…thing is…none of them are.

  136. TheOtherJohn says:

    I now know we have nothing to worry about RNH and Ganer’s size because they are just like Datsyuk and Zetterburg. Except they don’t need sheltering and Datsyuk might be one of the strongest guys with and without the puck in the NHL. With that small difference, very similar players

    Ashley the reason everybody keeps talking about specific skillsets: big face off winning 2C, RH puck moving D, big body hard to play against wingers, is that we have repeatedly been told we are building a dynasty. We ain’t playing to make the playoffs we are assembling a roster to compte year after year after year in the WCF/SCF. That is really easy to say, very very tough to do.

    But all of the perennial contenders do not have holes or gaps in their roster. The SC winning Chicago Black Hawks would not have been troubled by the size of the current SC champion LAK. They had lots of big bodies to play against LAK’s size. We, on the other hand, have an unbalanced roster. It took us 4 years to replace Stoll. If we trade Gagner for a top 4 D, we have another hole to fill at 2C. If our prospects develop, they will fill in holes but if we are going to compete with the big boys,, we cannot ice the small team we did last year. St Louis, Vanouver, SJS or LAK would simply win too many puck battles in the playoffs

    We may get thir but the right mix is necessary to truly compete. I think Gagner will out score Martin Hanzal. But if RNH is our 1C, Hanzal would be more valuable to us than Gagner

  137. Lowetide says:

    And of course when Datsyuk was 22 he was in Russia.

  138. VOR says:

    Hey DSF,

    Thing is you don’t have another definition. If you are beating your opposition, ie. outscoring the, playing 2C minutes, in the top 18 EV strength scoring centers in the NHL on points and in the top 32 scorers EV per 60 exactly what else is a 2C supposed to do? Look pretty, sell programs, be big? Well find me a big, pretty 2C who is 22 or younger and has more than 220 points. Please, I challenge all the the Gagner haters feel free. All I ask is they are the same age, bigger, outscore, play at least as tough minutes, win at least the same % of faceoffs, and play the same quality competition with the same quality teammates. Otherwise shut up. Oh and as of today he has to be playing for $3.2 M a year or less.

    Lets set the rules, none of these oh they would if they had the same linemates or minutes as Gagner since you have not a clue if they could. Also spare me the oh he had one great year artists.

  139. TheOtherJohn says:

    Where he was a 95 lb weakling!! He only learned to be strong on puck (and in upper left quadrant(big blue bubble)) at age 33. Expect Datsyuk was strong on the puck at age 10 but that does not fit with the Sam will stronger, harder on puck etc narrative. Have no difficulty with the argument that RNH will grow, get bigger and stronger. Expect Sam is pretty close to where’s he’s gonna be physically.

    Gretzky was RNH ‘s size grew, got stronger and NEVER got physical. Nothing wrong in that.

    I just do not think the Oilers are competing for it all perennially if our top 2 centers re RNH & Gagner. Think by reading the Oilers press release today that Oiler management agree with me. The last sentence terrifies me and gives me serious pause in my arguments

    Vor

    Sam Gagner has 220 pts because, in part, he has played on an incredibly shitty team. If he was drafted this year at age 18 he would not make the team, would probably make the team at age 20 and would get little or no PP. at the same stage in his career (drafted now) he would currently have 140 pts this far into his career.

  140. Lowetide says:

    TOJ: I agree with you, the Oilers don’t think they can win with Gagner as their #2 C.

  141. VOR says:

    Thing is, whatever reasons you offer up for his performance, Gagner made an NHL team at 18, yes a bad one, but the NHL. So find me a 22 year old 2C with 220 points. There are only something like 8 centers Gagner’s age or younger who outscored him last year, most appear well established as 1Cs. A couple of the 1Cs have more points and also broke in on bad team, Tavares anyone.

  142. VOR says:

    LT,

    My question is do you?

  143. Lowetide says:

    VOR: No, don’t agree. I think he’s a gem.

  144. TheOtherJohn says:

    Vor

    He made a very offensively challenged team at 18. Would not make 12/13 Oilers, maybe not 13/14 and if he did he would walk up roster much more slowly. He may be able to replace Hemsky as a 2RW on a very good team. I just don’t think it will be at 2C but we have no alternative here, or in the pipeline coming so he’s what we have barring a trade

    I also did not think Gilbert and Smid would develop into an exceptional 2nd pairing and they most certainly did in their mid-later 20′s. So I could be wrong re Samise

  145. "Steve Smith" says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    I also did not think Gilbert and Smid would develop into an exceptional 2nd pairing and they most certainly did in their mid-later 20′s. So I could be wrong re Samise

    My recollection could be off, but I thought Gilbert was a passable second pairing guy from the moment he stepped into the NHL.

    Smid…less so.

  146. stevezie says:

    If you think Gagner is too small, you’re wrong and dumb. If you think he’s not good enough you have a case, though I would argue against it. Traktor, however, has a decent point.

    You don’t have to think that Hemsky, Gagner and Horcoff (admittedly three of my favourites) are bad to think that they aren’t what we need right now. I am a Gager believer, but if we could move him for a Martin Hanzel, I’d be inclined to do that kind of deal. Like Derek Zoolander, our top-9 forwards are beautiful, and like Derek Zoolander, we’ve only got one look.

    Still, like I said earlier, it is much more important to get Gagner signed than it is to get him traded. It’s not like he, or anyone else, needs to go. We could just use some variety- which means trading him for D is stupid because of your standard Peter-Paul metaphor. I;m fine going into the season with the forwards as-is, but if the right oppurtunity comes along, we’ve got to do what we’[ve got to do.

  147. VOR says:

    TOJ,

    My problem is nobody has been able to tell me why Gagner isn’t a perfectly good 2C right now. He was 18th amongst centers in EV strength points, 32nd in points per 60, a plus 5, good relative corsi and he clearly cares about winning.

    I think our expectations for Samwise are wrong. He is an out player, not a superstar. We keep wanting him to be a superstar. There is a place for those guys who can outplay their positional expectation which he can. When we go to trade him maybe we should think about a guy who in some ways is very comparable.

    He was a 2C, he got 42 points the year he was 22. While he got a bit better as he aged there wasn’t that much improvement. He was 5’11″ and 185, but he was crafty, good defensively, (though his team’s 3 and 4 C did the heavy lifting). He could consistently out score the other teams second line center all season long. He was determined. He fought for every inch of ice.

    Then one day Santa came to say, “I have a struggling #1OV and an odd duck who doesn’t click with anyone else. How would you like to center them?”

    That is how a 2C ends up a 1C and in the Hall of Fame.

    I think the Oilers management just made a horrible mistake. If by any chance Hall and Hemsky stay healthy and Gagner gets to center them for a full year playing sheltered minutes they will have the same effect on Gagner’s career that Lafleur and Shutt had on Jacques Lemaire’s.

    Think of the price tag fpr young Samwise then.

  148. Traktor says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    I think Gagner will out score Martin Hanzal. But if RNH is our 1C, Hanzal would be more valuable to us than Gagner

    Winner!

  149. stevezie says:

    VOR,

    He is a perfectly good 2C, imo. I think even Traktor seems to agree. The question is is he the right 2C for Edmonton? I like him, so I hope so, but I have a hard time arguing that.

  150. VOR says:

    So you guys who want Hanzal get that this past season playing with great line mates he scored 34 points. He was, admittedly plus 12 and has a good corsi for the quality of his team. But that is his best season (well he did have 35 points as a rookie). He is also doing that as a 1C with outstanding linemates. Are you sure the fact he played with OEL and Vrbata and Whitney and only got 34 points doesn’t concern you? No of course not, he is big. Are you sure his history of injury doesn’t concern you? No of course not, he is big. Are you sure that playing with one of the best defensive forwards in hockey doesn’t make his +/- and corsi just a little suspect? Well I am sure that doesn’t matter, he is big.

  151. TheOtherJohn says:

    SS

    You, LT and 27 other pinko commie sympathizers all loved Gilbert, early. Too soft for me, not engaged enough, last guy he hit was a mistake,etc. Then one day Gilbert just got better. To misquote George Costanza, “it’s not me, it’s you.” He simply quit being so sucky and just became a correct arrow pointing offensive D man. Thank God, one day he magically got it because I had the tar and feathers cooked & ready to go. Initial pot of tar had cooled off a bit.

    So could I be wrong about Gagner. Absolutely. Do not think so, but everyone makes mistakes.

    Vor

    It’s not that anyone dislikes Gagner (I think???) it’s that he is ok at what he does. Decent scorer. We just have guys that do what he does. Just better than he does. My comments about Gagner are that when Kopitar jumps over the boards I am praying that Krueger is NEVER forced to call Gagners name because we lose that game. Similarly if Ralph calls RNH…… Worse things happen. Now i expect you say…..but we have Horcoff? Agree completely. Then Mike Richards eats up Gagner.

    Expect Hanzal fights Kopitar to standstill. Whereupon Richards has to out score RNH, Ebrle and X. I like that matchup. Lots. Especially if we have less smurfs.

    If Gretzky had to play Joel Otto who was a very good defensive player, night after night, it would be a very long and very very tiring night. He never had to. Messier and Otto beat the crap out of each other so bad, they still do not speak to each other 25 years later

    Have to admit Oiler management agreeing with me re Gagner is troubling though

  152. Lowetide says:

    I liked Gilbert from the start. And Smid. You guys were terrible about Smid. Not me. Kept defending him over and over. That’s how I remember it.

  153. DSF says:

    VOR:
    Hey DSF,

    Thing is you don’t have another definition. If you are beating your opposition, ie. outscoring the, playing 2C minutes, in the top 18 EV strength scoring centers in the NHL on points and in the top 32 scorers EV per 60 exactly what else is a 2C supposed to do? Look pretty, sell programs, be big? Well find me a big, pretty 2C who is 22 or younger and has more than 220 points. Please, I challenge all the the Gagner haters feel free. All I ask is they are the same age, bigger, outscore, play at least as tough minutes, win at least the same % of faceoffs, and play the same quality competition with the same quality teammates. Otherwise shut up. Oh and as of today he has to be playing for $3.2 M a year or less.

    Lets set the rules, none of these oh they would if they had the same linemates or minutes as Gagner since you have not a clue if they could. Also spare me the oh he had one great year artists.

    Counting Gagner’s points since he was 18 is pretty much a non starter.

    The only reason he accumulated that total is that he was playing on the worst team in the league and being force fed prime sheltered minutes and PP TOI.

    He would not have gotten that opportunity if he had been drafted by a good team.

    The sensible thing to do is to see how he stacks up against the good (playoff ) teams in the WC where the Oilers will have to be better than some team or teams to make the playoffs.

    Here are the second line centres in the WC based on their finish in the regular season:

    VCR – Kesler: 6’2″ 205. Former 41 goal scorer and Selke winner

    STL – Berglund: 6’4″ 220 Former 22 goal scorer

    PHX – Hanzal: 6’6″ 225. Elite defensive centre

    NSH – Fisher: 6’1″ 210. 5 time 20+ goal scorer Great defensively

    DET – Fillpulla: 6’0 195. 66 points +18

    CHI – Kane: 5″11″ 180. Blows Gagner away in every aspect of the game. Career high 88 points.

    SJS – Couture: 6’1″ 200. Has surpassed Gagner’s career high in points both full seasons in the NHL

    LAK – Richards: 5’11″ 195. 2 time 30 goal scorer. World Champion and Olympic gold medalist.

    Is there a player in that group that you would NOT trade Gagner for in a heartbeat?

    You might get an argument on Berglund, but the rest are in another time zone from Gagner.

    Sure, he works fine on a bad team and he might get a push by playing with elite wingers but put any of those players above with elite wingers and they’ll blow Sam away.

    Worth noting as well that these second line centres in training will be coming to an arena near you in the very near future.

    CGY: Jiri Hudler 2 time 20+ goal scorer Career high 57 points

    DAL: Radek Faksa 6’3″ 200

    COL: Duchene Already has a career high of 27 goals and 67 points

    MINN: Granlund, Coyle, Phillips

    ANA: Peter Holland 6’4″ 200 6 PTS in 3 GP in the AHL

    Well, at least Sam is better than the second line centre for Columbus.

    Looks to me like Gagner may be the 13th or 14th best #2C in the WC.

  154. Lowetide says:

    DSF: When you combine Gagner and “looks to me” we know the answer. I assume the 15th 2C in the west has one leg.

  155. VOR says:

    Ah poor DSF, only you could manage to respond to a post like mine with such total garbage. One guy on your list of current NHLers is 22 or younger. He also has more career poinrs than Sam, you found one example. That would be mister Kane. Who was it centered him in junior? I forget. Hanzal is a 1C not a 2C. How many of these guys outscored Gagner at even strength this year?

  156. VOR says:

    How many of your guys outscored Gagner at EVs last year? 5 that are actual 2Cs so that makes him the 6 best 2C in the west. How many were 22 or younger? 1. So I guess Gagner is the 2nd most promising 2C in the west. Why does 22 matter? Because center is a tough position to learn NHL centers often get better at it as they age.

  157. TheOtherJohn says:

    Vor

    Either you do not know what is a 1C centre or I don’t. Hanzal is not a 1C. Not now, not ever. But it does make for a good story. As to which straw was stirring the London Knights success, I do not think anyone, anywhere thinks it was Gagner. Another good try though

    We can agree on this (I hope), if playoff games are played exactly like regular season games Gagner may be adequate offensively. Defensively not so much. But, unless i am mistaken, the playoffs are much more intense with less “easy” scoring. Or are we assembling a roster to have a good regular season record

  158. VOR says:

    Lets try it this way TOJ, what center played the most minutes in Phoenix? Hanzal. What center played with the best team mates? Hanzal? Exactly what is your definition of 1C if not the guy who plays the most minutes with the best team mates?

    Have you seen Gagner play in the playoffs? I certainly haven’t. See my earlier reference to Jacques Lemaire. Didn’t bring much offence in some of those early years, until the playoffs. Then he lit it up. So you are going to say Gagner can’t be a good playoff performer without seeing him play an NHL playoff game?

  159. DSF says:

    VOR:
    How many of your guys outscored Gagner at EVs last year? 5 that are actual 2Cs so that makes him the 6 best 2C in the west. How many were 22 or younger? 1. So I guess Gagner is the 2nd most promising 2C in the west. Why does 22 matter? Because center is a tough position to learn NHL centers often get better at it as they age.

    Hockey is about much more than scoring, something that Gagner is “adequate” at.

    How many of the players I listed killed penalties for example?

    How many of them play tough opposition while Gagner was being sheltered?

    You can go on and on about Gagner being 22 but it means absolutely nothing in regards to winning hockey games.

    Which of the players I listed would you NOT trade Gagner for?

  160. VOR says:

    TOJ, Martin Hanzal 19:30, 18.62 TOI per game the last two seasons. Played with Whitney and Vrbata on the top line. How is he not a 1C?

    VOR,

    Quite a huge number actually. For various reasons. Hanzal is an outplayer when he plays with Whitney. He plays great defence with OEL and Vrbata. I am not sure he will ever be better than he is right now. He managed 1.60 pts/60 while playing with two guys who were over 2.0. For a center that indicates a profound lack of offence. Do we really want a 20 point 2C?

    Holland would be absurd. Maybe I’d do Charlie Coyle, kid keeps flashing an amazing range of skills but still, Gagner is as Lowetide says, a real NHL player. So no way Jose to any of the guys not playing in the NHL. No to Duchene, no to Hanzal, no to Fisher (too old), I would say no to Couture because the underlying math says it would be a very bad idea, I admire Hudler’s skill but he is likely to be exposed defensively in Calgary where by the way he will be the 1C, Berglund not a chance (he has lost his offence). I think Flip is a fluke, so I’ll pass. So yes to Richards, Kane, and Kesler, maybe to Duchene. Poor kid is having some serious growing pains.

    But you haven’t shown me a single 2C other than Patrick Kane who is 22 or younger and playing 2C and has more points to date in the NHL.

  161. VOR says:

    Wait, now I am confusing myself with DSF! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  162. Lowetide says:

    lol.

  163. TheOtherJohn says:

    TOJ

    I think you are right.

    I also disagree with Vor.

    Hanzal is such a mediocre player that he is playing 19 minutes a night on the WCF finalist Phx Coyotes. Realize you think scoring is everything. It’s why I agree with TOJ and disagree with you. Big body, hard to play against 50+% in FO dot and if you had a superlative 1C you could afford Hanzal’s mediocre offensive on your second line

    Could we also trade for Boyd Gordon. Superlative centre but, Vor, Gordon doesn’t score either

  164. fuzzy muppet says:

    DSF is completely ignoring the fact that most of the players he suggested were allowed to develop properly.

    Gagner was rushed like crazy by a futile management group. This year is the make or break season for him: hence the 1 year deal. Gagner himself inferred he needs to step up.

    Mike Richards is a whopping 5 pounds heavier than Gagner.

    Fisher didn’t score 20 goals until he was 25.

    Holland has accomplished NOTHING.

    Kane isn’t a center.

    Kesler’s breakout season was when he was 24. Likewise Hudler.

    Maybe, just maybe, it’s possible that Gagner figures it out defensively at the old age of 22. It’s hard learning to play defense in the NHL on a terrible team.

  165. stevezie says:

    VOR,

    You are DSFing it: cherry picking stats. Hanzal’s 34 points came in 64 games, and had a very respectable 6 points in 12 playoff games. Yes I am concerned about his injury history, but 70 games a season is not a horrifying career average, comparable to Gagner in fact.

    It’s not that he’s big, it’s that he plays big. He wins draws against people who try to out-muscle him, he is one of the league leaders in hits per game, he is a great penalty killer and while his point production is only modest, he’s good enough to keep up with skill and AI think it is realistic to predict that if he were to be playing on a more offensive team he would be in the 40 to 50 point range. He’s a Joel Otto type.

    Again, it’s not that he’s big. I am a big Gagner fan. I think Gagner is a better player, but Gagner brings things we have from other people. We do not have what Hanzal provides.

    Also that Hanzal is just so hot right now.

  166. Bruce McCurdy says:

    DSF: In Gilmour’s 4th season in the league (23 years old) he scored 42 goals and 105 points and finished 5th in league scoring…2 points behind HHOF members Mario Lemieux and Mark Messier and 3 points behind Jari Kurri.

    … and a mere 78 behind Wayne Gretzky.

    Those were special times.

  167. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide: I liked Gilbert from the start. And Smid. You guys were terrible about Smid. Not me. Kept defending him over and over. That’s how I remember it.

    Oh that’s right, now I remember. I kept bashing Smid and trying to trade him and stuff, and you kept telling me “patience is key”. I guess you were right. ;)

  168. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Oh that’s right, now I remember. I kept bashing Smid and trying to trade him and stuff, and you kept telling me “patience is key”. I guess you were right. ;)

    Bruce, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Well done! :-)

  169. DSF says:

    Bruce McCurdy: … and a mere 78 behind Wayne Gretzky.

    Those were special times.

    Yes they were…just incredible how dominant he was.

  170. DSF says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    DSF is completely ignoring the fact that most of the players he suggested were allowed to develop properly.

    Gagner was rushed like crazy bya futile management group.This year is the make or break season for him: hence the 1 year deal.Gagner himself inferred he needs to step up.

    Mike Richards is a whopping 5 pounds heavier than Gagner.

    Fisher didn’t score 20 goals until he was 25.

    Holland has accomplished NOTHING.

    Kane isn’t a center.

    Kesler’s breakout season was when he was 24.Likewise Hudler.

    Maybe, just maybe, it’s possible that Gagner figures it out defensively at the old age of 22.It’s hard learning to play defense in the NHL on a terrible team.

    Oh, I agree completely that Gagner’s development was rushed but Vor and others keep using his point totals from that period as proof that he’s an excellent player.

    You have to pick one.

    Mike Richards is certainly not big but he has all kinds of other things he brings to the game.

    Fisher is an elite defensive player.

    Kane DID play centre last season and in fact is listed on the Blackhawks website as a centre.

    http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/stats.htm?season=20112012

    If you have a problem with that, take it up with Bowman.

    While Kesler may have blossomed a little later due to going the college route, Sam would have to learn to be an elite defensive player this offseason to be in the same conversation.
    You may recall there was this thing called a lockout where Kesler’s entry ion the NHL was delayed so he was forced to play in the AHL….managing 30G 57P +22.

    Just for the record, Gagner will be 23 when the season starts.

  171. TheOtherJohn says:

    Only thing Bruce consistently tries to railroad out of town is that Dbag Dustin Brown and bad refereeing. LOL

    Seriously have no clue how Smid so vividly turned the corner this past season, big,always a good skater, making the right reads time after time after time and he’s hard to play against. Incredible jump in value. At least or this past year he made it easy for Petry to flourish. Not knock on Petry, just that Smids steadiness gave Petry tremendous confidence!

  172. DSF says:

    VOR:
    TOJ, Martin Hanzal 19:30, 18.62 TOI per game the last two seasons. Played with Whitney and Vrbata on the top line. How is he not a 1C?

    VOR,

    Quite a huge number actually. For various reasons. Hanzal is an outplayer when he plays with Whitney. He plays great defence with OEL and Vrbata. I am not sure he will ever be better than he is right now. He managed 1.60 pts/60 while playing with two guys who were over 2.0. For a center that indicates a profound lack of offence. Do we really want a 20 point 2C?

    Holland would be absurd. Maybe I’d do Charlie Coyle, kid keeps flashing an amazing range of skills but still, Gagner is as Lowetide says, a real NHL player. So no way Jose to any of the guys not playing in the NHL. No to Duchene, no to Hanzal, no to Fisher (too old), I would say no to Couture because the underlying math says it would be a very bad idea, I admire Hudler’s skill but he is likely to be exposed defensively in Calgary where by the way he will be the 1C, Berglund not a chance (he has lost his offence). I think Flip is a fluke, so I’ll pass. So yes to Richards, Kane, and Kesler, maybe to Duchene. Poor kid is having some serious growing pains.

    But you haven’t shown me a single 2C other than Patrick Kane who is 22 or younger and playing 2C and has more points to date in the NHL.

    Does this show and tell have to happen on cloudy days between 3 and 4 pm or would you like to discuss theplthora of young players who have exceeded Sam’;s out put between the ages of 18 and 22?

    It’s quite a long list.

  173. VOR says:

    DSF,

    You picked the argument saying Gagner was a shit 2C. I asked you to find another 2C as good so young. I have not ever, by the way, argued his Gagner’s development was mishandled. Patrick Kane is the only one, there are of course a handful of 1Cs who’d meet the requirement but Gagner is a 2C. Patrick Kane barely plays center, he was fourth this year in draws. He only took 14 draws the previous year. Thus, the only better 22 or younger 2C is not even a center. Every time anybody asks who the Gagner haters would replace him with we get nonsense like Peter Holland or Radek Faska.

    Or only slightly more credibly Martin Hanzal. Lets start with all this stuff about Hanzal killing penalties, he used to, last three years his numbers have been going down, this past year Boyd Gordon did the heavy penalty killing and Fiddler before that. Yes Hanzal hits a lot of people, didn’t always but as he has grown stronger it has become a big part of his game. So there is research that hitting people leads to wins? Oh wait, it doesn’t work that way. Offensively per minute played he is a disaster for a 1C, presumably his production wouldn’t be helped by being a 2C. By the way 2 years in a row Hanzal was the 1C on Phoenix’s power play and yet look at the point total. Once again his points are going to drop from their current lofty height playing 2C. More concerning to me is that his defensive prowess, which is quite a big part of his reputation didn’t appear until he was paired with Radim Vrbata, until then he is no great shakes. Vrbata is a tremendous outplayer and checker with some considerable offensive upside. If Hanzal was such a great penalty killer why did one of the smartest coaches in hockey use him on the PP not the PK? He certainly isn’t statistically producing on the PP. I’m guessing he is the screen in front of the net. He is a better face off man than Gagner but not elite.

    I continue to think the big attraction of Hanzal to people is he is big, oh and he hits people. So now we are penalizing Gagner for not being big and not hitting people. That is what all the hate for Gagner comes down to, people who want the Oilers to play smashmouth hockey. I get you all think it is winning hockey. I respectfully submit that you can’t fix your 1L problem by changing your 2C. One Clark Gilles would be of more help than a dozen Martin Hanzal’s. Then our lines go

    Gillies Clone, RNH, Eberle
    Hall Gagner Hemsky
    Smyth Horcoff Jones
    Hartikainen Belanger Eager

    Somebody goons up RNH or Eberle and Gillies goes psycho nuts and kills somebody. The rest of the guys can stand up for themselves.

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