Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The case for trading Gagner
Sam Gagner's time on the Oilers may be fast coming to a close. With the addition of RNH there is once again too many small forwards on this team and considering a smart team should be building each line with a power forward, a playmaker and a shooter I dont see where Gagner fits for too much longer. This is compounded with the centers that are coming up. Pitlick comes to mind, Lander, RNH etc... there are centers there that fill roles much better than Gagner has shown HE can.
Now I have had conversations where it was put forth that Gagner could be placed on the wing, but I have my doubts as to how effective he would be long term when the sophmores are bigger, more skilled and already tuned to play the wing.
If they are going to keep with the idea that there can only be one playmaker on any line, then there will eventualy be a decision made between keeping Hemsky and Gagner. There are plenty of arguments for keeping both/either but the thing that stands out the most for me is that Hemsky is simply a better fit due to his speed and experience. He isnt all that old and in theory have plenty still left in the tank.
Somewhere in the short term that Gagner has been an Oiler, he has lost his ability to think on the fly and react to any given situation. That was his biggest asset coming out of junior so if he doesnt have that, what does he really have that compliments the Oilers? His faceoffs are horrible, he cannot play on the third line as a shutdown forward, too small to play on the fourth line and honestly he is being passed on the depth chart by upcoming centers simply because they have the tools that are going to fit long term with the young core they are building right now.
Now of course this is all useless if Hemsky cannot get healthy again. If that is the case they will have no choice but to move him when his value is the highest and at least for the moment Gagner has a place on the wing. I still think that there will be better options in the long term but it would buy him more time to find a niche in which to define his game.
I personally think that Hemsky is going to win this battle over the long haul simply due to his flashy play and ability to simply make crazy insane plays that nobody see's coming.
Until next time.