It appears that struggling centre Sam Gagner is on his way out of town whether it’s before this years N.H.L. deadline or sometime before the start of the 2014-2015 season. I have always been a supporter of Gagner as he was an average second line centre who gave it his all and even dropped the flippers a few times coming to the defence of teammates. His warts are obvious and easily found… He’s small and terrible in his own end and doesn’t seem to be improving at all without the puck. Gagner has had a terrible 2013-2014 campaign which started off with a broken jaw and root canals thanks to a nasty stick to the face so trading Gagner today is going to be tough for rookie GM Craig MacTavish.
Elliot Friedman in his 30 Thoughts: Sam Gagner: He was not eligible for a no-trade clause when he signed his three-year extension last summer (It kicks-in next season). Craig MacTavish graciously promised to honour it this season, but as Edmonton searches for answers, it sounds like both sides believe it is time for a change, not that anyone is commenting. Should a deal happen, no doubt MacTavish will try to make it a soft landing.
Dreger: We will also continue watch the speculation around the Edmonton Oilers and Sam Gagner, there is no question the Oilers would consider moving him. The expected rate of return would be a top-six forward, a top-four defenceman or a starting goalie.
Seeing that HNIC and TSN have both discussed the possibility of moving Gagner makes me believe it is happening as those are two of the most credible sources in the business. I am on the fence about moving Gagner though… On the one hand the Oilers have holes that need filled in other areas so moving an asset seems like a necessity. On the other hand, the team is already thin enough at centre and if they traded Gagner for a defenceman… then who is going to replace him? Nugent-Hopkins, Arcobello, Gordon and Lander has to be the worst collective group of centres in the league doesn’t it? Long term I am ok with moving Gagner as I don’t believe they can compete with Nuge and Gagner as their one, two punch down the middle. They obviously need someone with size in one of those spots.
The other option, which Craig Simpson has been preaching for a couple years, is moving Gagner to the wing. Simpson, who I have great respect for other than his hair, knows that Gagner is too small to compete in the western conference and thinks a better fit for him is at wing. I don’t mind that idea at all and Eakins actually had Gagner on right wing this morning with Hall and Nugent-Hopkins. The biggest issue here is finding a legit second line centre with size to replace Gagner. Arcobello obviously is NOT the answer.
I guess time will tell what happens with Gagner but Mact is certainly in a tough spot should he decide to move him.
MACTAVISH GETS ANGRY
Speaking of Mactavish, Terry Jones reported early this morning that MacT got into a shouting match with a fan the other night while entering the Oilers dressing room. Fans, players and management are all pissed at yet another dismal year for the Oilers and this season has to be the most disappointing for everyone. It doesn’t help when the manager states before the year starts how he’s confident that he’s going to be able to make improvements and how the team will be better. Clearly he was wrong. He was also wrong when he got into it with the fan. He is the leader and leaders shouldn’t be showing the fact that they’re flustered with what is happening. It’s pretty hard to beak when he’s got the 29th place team in the N.H.L. He should have kept his mouth shut and carried on. I’m positive MacT knows that and regrets his actions. I actually find it kind of funny myself. MacT is obviously trying as he’s been involved in four of this years twelve deals. I do have faith in MacT and I hope that it’s sooner rather than later but MAN is it frustrating to be an Oiler fan.
THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS INVADE REXALL PLACE
The mighty Penguins come to town tomorrow night after a long road trip and playing a rested Oiler team. We all know that this doesn’t matter and that the Penguins will easily handle the Oilers tomorrow night. It won’t be pretty either that is unless you like watching Crosby and Malkin skate cirles around Rexall Place and the team in blue. The Oilers literally have no chance at victory but at least we will get to watch two of the games greatest players tomorrow night. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but we all know it’s true.