Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sam Gagner

It's hard to be anything but positive when talking about Sam Gagner. I liked him the first time I saw him, well before he was on the radar of most Oiler fans, and he hasn't failed to impress since. Beat the odds to make the team one year ago and did enough during that 11 game tryout period to make himself stick throughout the rest of the year.

What sorts of skills does Gagner have? Reads the play well, great positioning instincts, above average hands. What type of skills doesn't he have? Well, you're not going to see Gagner dominate with his physicality, he's certainly not blazingly fast (although he is quick) and he's probably not going to be given a lot of defence first assignments by his coach.

Before I get into the desjardins numbers, I just want to make the note that Gagner did just about as well as can be expected as an 18 year old in the NHL.

The most obvious thing we can take note of here is that Gagner played with pretty much the best linemates on the team and also against some of the softest competition. With that in mind, I think it's fair to say that if he treads water in terms of his counting numbers this year we can call it a win. With the departure of both Marty Reasoner and Jarret Stoll, both of whom were carrying the heaviest loads competition wise, I think it's fair to expect Gagner will have to face tougher competition, at least some of the time.

His offensive categories were relatively pedestrian although that had mostly to do with his lack of goals - making great passes is definitely is definitely his strength.

Finally, one more note - MacT was playing Gagner 4th most of all forwards- the coach has confidence in his rookie, no?

Projection: 2nd line
Key Stat: 1st in quality of teammates

1 comment:

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