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Oil Patch

Oilers Winning with Gagner

With three first overall picks, who would have thought that it would be a veteran player leading the Edmonton Oilers in scoring. Yes, 23 year old Sam Gagner with a total of 375 NHL games under his belt has 10 points in 9 games, good enough for the best point streak in the NHL to this point this season.

At this time last year, Gagner was making headlines for his 8 point game against the Chicago Blackhawks, a feat so great that it tied the record held by Paul Coffey and Wayne Gretzky. With 4 goals and 4 assists in a single game, Gagner looked to have found his stride after not scoring a goal for 11 games before hand that fateful day.

But not everyone saw point production like this, even in bursts, coming from Gagner. I have felt for years that Gagner was a player that should be traded; the Oilers had talented young players in the system who I thought would have better point production and reliability. While it's too early to say that I've been completely wrong, I'm willing to admit that I may have been wrong.

Because Gagner was drafted 6th overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft, and was supposed to be an up and coming centreman, I was disappointed by his low faceoff win percentages. But the we all had the opportunity to watch Ryan Nugent-Hopkins break into the NHL, and the small measure of success that he saw in the faceoff dot. 

And Gagner's struggles continue to this day:

2013 GP 9 10P 37.5%

2011-12 75GP 47P 47.6%

2010-11 68GP 42P 43.8%

2009-10 68GP 41P 47.4%

2008-09 76GP 41P 42.0%

2007-08 79GP 49P 41.8%

Looking at Gagner's past seasons, it's impossible to believe that he will be able to maintain his point per game scoring. But perhaps highly skilled linemates will give Gagner a valuable boost.

But again considering Gagner's past seasons, you have to see the patience that the Oilers have had with Gagner, expecting that his season and the goals would come. Given this season's start, this could be the year. But, we've said that before.

Gagner is off to a great start. If he has his career year, it will have been well worth it for the Oilers to have stuck with him all of these years. If the Oilers still don't see what they expect of him, it may have been enough to raise his trade value in order to help facilitate a trade to fill in holes on the depth chart. And right now, the Oilers don't appear to have near enough depth to withstand the injuries sustained so far.

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About Oil Patch

Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.

Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.

Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.

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