from Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now,
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” Gagner said of playing for the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s an original six team, a lot of history. When I was growing up and when I was starting in the league, they were the team.
“I look back to my first couple of years in the league. Coming into Joe Louis Arena was always kind of a nightmare because of some of the guys you had to go up against.”
Selected sixth overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2007 NHL entry draft, Gagner spent his first seven seasons with the Oilers as they rebuilt from the ground floor. He’s seen that process from the point of view of an incoming NHLer. Now that he’s a veteran skating in a similar scenario in Detroit, Gagner is drawing upon those lessons as he seeks to mentor young Red Wings through the same situation.
“It allows me to see it from a different perspective and kind of help our young group coming up,” Gagner said. “A lot of the things they’re going to go through early in their careers I’ve been through.
“I was a high pick in Edmonton, one of the guys that was kind of expected to help turn things around. You learn a lot about yourself and there’s a lot of growth that comes with that.