Will Edmonton Trade Sam Gagner?
Sam Gagner has had something of a rough start to the 2013/14 season.
He missed the first 13 games of the season with a broken jaw, following Zack Kassian’s bizarre spin-o-rama hit in the pre-season, and the Oilers forward is on pace for his worst season since breaking in to the league in 2007.
The London, Ontario native is now rumoured to be ‘in play’, as Edmonton starts talking trades in a bid to (again) right their decidedly wobbly ship.
TSN’s Darren Dreger summed up the situation in yesterday’s Insider Trading column.
We will also continue to 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.
Note the word speculation – but, as the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire.
Gagner’s no movement clause does not come in to play until next season; though Oilers GM Craig MacTavish has previously said he would not move Gagner this season.
By the same token, MacTavish was also willing to consider moving the Oilers 1st round pick earlier in the season. But the franchise’s dismal showing (again) this season means it could well be a lottery pick (again), and so plans seem to be changing.
Earlier in the year MacTavish was quoted as saying “We don’t need another teenager, another 18-year-old kid coming in here next year”; but with Edmonton bottom of the Pacific (29th overall) the tune has changed.
“When you’re drafting in the top seven picks, you can’t pass up those opportunities” MacTavish told the Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones in a recent interview.
MacTavish also referred to ‘opportunities’ regarding the 7th overall pick at the 2013 draft (which Edmonton ultimately used to get Darnell Nurse), adding “You can’t pass them up unless it makes sense and nothing we were offered last year made sense”
One can only assume it would take a significant offer for MacTavish to think trading a potential draft pick would ‘make sense’ this year.
And so we come back to Gagner.
The struggle centre, selected 6th overall in 2007, is yet to break 50 points or 20 goals in Alberta. But he’s played 447 games on a pretty god awful team.
Not many 24-year olds have that many NHL games under their belt, and it isn’t hard to envisage Gagner breaking the 20 goals barrier or even recording 60 (or more) points on a better team. He had 14 goals and 38 points in 48 games last season after all. With a better supporting cast, Gagner’s ability began to truly shine through.
Unsurprisingly, Gagner is not the only Oiler who could be moved though.
Edmonton Journal reporter Jim Mathieson said Ilya Bryzgalov, Devan Dubnyk, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Smyth Ryan Jones, Nick Schultz and Corey Potter could all be available in his ‘Ask Matty‘ segment.
But of all the names mentioned, Gagner is the most likely to garner the sort of return Dreger hinted at. Hemsky could be of interest to a contender when the deadline approaches, but is unlikely to garner more than picks and prospects.
Gagner on the other hand…
Well, it may take some extra sweeteners to get the top 6 forward, top 4 D or starting goalie Edmonton are apparently looking for; but it’s hard to imagine there are not a few General Manager’s whose ears have not perked up at the idea of being able to add the former London Knight to their ranks.