SamGagner

 

This week's Forensics - we go in-depth on Oilers pivot Sam Gagner

 

Forensics: Sam Gagner – The Seventh Year Breakout?

Over-rated or ready to take the next step?

It is well known that most players have their breakout season in either their fourth year or fifth year, but Sam Gagner is a unique player entering a unique situation – and it is all happening as he prepares for his seventh NHL season. One of the most discussed players in Edmonton this summer, debates often emerged about Gagner and whether he should be traded in an attempt to upgrade the team’s average defense or if he should be re-signed as their number two center. With the July 22nd announcement of a three-year contractthat pays him $4.8 million per year, GM Craig MacTavish ended the speculation. Suddenly Gagner’s polarizing off-season became a promising situation.

 

 

With Ryan Nugent-Hopkin’s recovery from a shoulder injury potentially keeping him out of the line-up until November, Gagner may  get the opportunity to start the season on the first line with Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall. If history repeats itself, expect a hot start from the 24-year-old veteran. Courtesy of Frozen Pool, here is a look at the most recent sample where the Hall-Gagner-Eberle line was most utilized over the past two seasons:

 

Third Quarter Summary (2011-2012 Season)

 

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

Pace

+/-

PIM

Shots

GW

PPG

PPP

SHG

SHP

PP

TOI

%

PP

%

SH

TOI/G

%

TOI

19

9

12

21

1.11

91

8

11

48

2

3

4

0

0

02:24

50.3

1.4

18:48

30.8

 

Line Combinations

Line Production

Games between 2012-01-07 and 2012-02-21

Freq

Str

Line Combination

52.6%

EV

EBERLE,J - GAGNER,S - HALL,T

25.8%

EV

GAGNER,S - HALL,T - HEMSKY,A

7.4%

EV

EBERLE,J - GAGNER,S - SMYTH,R

Points between 2012-01-07 and 2012-02-21

Pnts

%Total

Str

Line Combination

9

50%

EV

EBERLE,J - GAGNER,S - HALL,T

4

22.2%

EV

EBERLE,J - GAGNER,S - SMYTH,R

2

11.1%

PP

GAGNER,S - HEMSKY,A - SMYTH,R

 

Gagner has past success with Hall and Eberle, and seems ready to center the first line if needed.

If Nugent-Hopkins is ready for the start of the season, then expect Gagner to center the second line with dynamic left winger Nail Yakupov and either Ales Hemsky or David Perron on the right side.

 

Even with second line duties, poolies should still expect a hot start from Gagner in 2013-2014.

A closer look at the start of 2012-2013 shows that the Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky trio had some chemistry last year, with Gagner racing out to 21 points in the first 22 games last season.

 

First Quarter Summary (2012-2013)

 

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

Pace

+/-

PIM

Shots

GW

PPG

PPP

SHG

SHP

PPTOI

%PP

%SH

TOI/G

%TOI

22

7

14

21

0.95

78

-3

19

59

3

2

10

0

1

03:23

48.9

24.5

19:22

31.4

 

Line Combinations

Line Production

Games between 2013-01-19 and 2013-03-06

Freq

Str

Line Combination

54.2%

EV

GAGNER,S - HEMSKY,A - YAKUPOV,N

12.3%

EV

GAGNER,S - HARTIKAINEN,T - HEMSKY,A

9.4%

EV

GAGNER,S - HEMSKY,A - JONES,R

Points between 2013-01-19 and 2013-03-06

Pnts

%Total

Str

Line Combination

3

27.3%

EV

GAGNER,S - HEMSKY,A - YAKUPOV,N

2

18.2%

PP

GAGNER,S - HARTIKAINEN,T - HEMSKY,A - YAKUPOV,N

2

18.2%

PP

GAGNER,S - HEMSKY,A - SMYTH,R - YAKUPOV,N


Career Evaluation

Over his career, Gagner has had a number of spurts where he has looked like a point per game player. Who could forget that magnificent eight-point-night from February 2012?

However, Edmonton’s 1st pick (6th overall) in 2007 has experienced his share of struggles as well. Here is a look at Gagner’s career statistics. With the exception of last season’s 38 points in 48 games (a 65 point pace) over the lockout shortened season, Gagner appears to be an overhyped 45 to 50 point player. In fact, it may be surprising to some, but Gagner has never surpassed the 50 point plateau in his career.

 

Year

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

+/-

PIM

Hits

BkS

FW

FL

FO%

PPG

PPA

SHG

SHA

GW

SOG

Pct

 

 2007-08

EDM

79

13

36

49

-21

23

N/A

N/A

125

174

.418

4

12

0

0

1

135

.096

 

 2008-09

EDM

76

16

25

41

-1

51

N/A

N/A

290

400

.420

6

5

0

0

1

156

.103

 

 2009-10

EDM

68

15

26

41

-8

33

30

16

336

373

.474

6

11

0

0

1

170

.088

 

 2010-11

EDM

68

15

27

42

-17

37

24

29

410

525

.439

3

6

1

0

2

138

.109

 

 2011-12

EDM

75

18

29

47

5

36

21

23

334

367

.476

6

6

0

0

0

149

.121

 

 2012-13

EDM

48

14

24

38

-6

23

35

22

325

416

.439

4

11

0

2

1

113

.124

 

 Career

 

414

91

167

258

-48

203

110

90

1820

2255

.447

29

51

1

2

6

861

.106

 

 

 

Future Value

 

 

 

So how should poolies treat Gagner in terms of fantasy value going forward? Is Gagner ready to take the next step, or is it time to accept that he will be a 45-55 point second line center with average peripheral stats. Looking at the past two seasons there are some reasons to be optimistic.

Gagner’s TOI/G increased from 17:11 per game in 2011-12 to 19:25 per game last season.  His PP TOI/G increased from 2:28 per game in 2011-12 to 2:56 per game last season. With the increase in ice time, Gagner increased his production significantly. After finishing 113th overall in NHL scoring in 2011-12, he jumped up to 37th in NHL scoring last season and was 19th in scoring amongst all NHL centers in 2012-13.

With a new contract in place, Gagner will be given every opportunity to succeed. New coach Dallas Eakins is likely to continue the trend former coach Ralph Krueger implemented and Gagner should continue to receive ample power play time and 18 to 19 minutes per game of ice time.

Gagner is a six-year veteran who is only twenty-four-years old. His prime is still a few years away. It is important to remember that there were few offensive options to complement Gagner in Edmonton during the first half of his career. Gagner showed he can be a solid option with his improved production last season and poolies should expect a steady increase in Gagner’s numbers over the next three seasons. As Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Hall, and Yakupov progress - so should Gagner’s relevance to most poolies.

 

Final Forensics Note:

History does show that Gagner has been inconsistent during his career. Be careful with Gagner in cap leagues. At $4.8 million per year, he needs to establish himself further before becoming a more attractive option.

Treat Gagner as a 60-point player this year with an upside of 70 points, and keep in mind he is dependent on the supreme talent surrounding him. For this season, expect 20 points in the first 20 games from Gagner before he slows down and finishes with 76 games played, 19 goals, 45 assists, 48% FOW, 35 PIM, 170 SOG, and an even plus/minus that should improve with Eakins at the helm.

 

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Comments (3)add comment

Havanablast21 said:

Havanablast21
... Dynamic LW Yakupov? When did he shift over from RW?
September 21, 2013
Votes: +0

MolsonX said:

MolsonX
... LOL, well said.

The fact he went on a nice run (19 points in 21 games) two seasons ago centering Eberle and Hall didn't shock me.

His start last year (21 points in 22 games) mainly playing with Yakupov/Hemsky surprised more.


Definitely a sell high if he comes out flying and you can get a more consistent 65pt center in return.

September 07, 2013
Votes: +0

aleco83 said:

aleco83
... Same old Gagner only now he is not under pressure to be the franchise guy and his linemates have improved dramatically. I think 60 will happen without too much difficulty, heck most of his linemates can bounce the puck off his head and score.
September 07, 2013
Votes: +0
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