Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Winner! Gagner!

By Dan Moser 

Finally! The most important restricted free agent in the Oiler's stable has been signed. Fans are now able to collectively breathe a sigh of relief as he is now impervious to the dreaded RFA offer sheet. That's right, Sam Gagner has signed a new 2 year contract!

Local "hero" Sam Gagner helps as his teammate
has fell ill during a practice session
At a total cost of $4.55 million over 2 years, Gagner stands to make $2.275 million a year A very nice raise for Sammy from the $875,000 he was guaranteed during his entry level contract.  

From as pure point scoring Gagner has been one of the most consistent players on the team, therefore it is safe to assume Gagner will score at least 40 points this season. I believe otherwise though, in my opinion, this will be Sam Gagner's breakout year. He will finish the season as the Oilers first line center.

Seen above, a young Gagner pulls a move that makes Khabibulin have a sip

I could dig up a whole bunch of numbers, but that's really not the way we do things on this blog (that's right I refer to myself in the plural now), and plus I have no idea what corsi means.

Based on what I saw at the end of last years season, Gagner has improved his two-way game and his skating. I never thought his skating was THAT bad, he just skates like a typical OHL hockey player. He finished the season with a modest 15 goals but in the upcoming season I expect him to score more and be at least a 20 goal centerman.

Gagner (middle), see here with friend Rowber Nilsson and possible teammate Andrew Cogliano

If I had to make a wager, I would place my bet on Gagner becoming the first line center that his draft status dictates he should. He may not start the season on the top line, but by the end of the year I fully expect to see the formation of the HGH line. Hemsky. Gagner. Hall.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Souray 4 Hartnell? Really?

By Dan Moser 

On Thursday it was reported by Dan Tencer that, at some point last season, Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini was offered Philadelphia Flyers power forward in exchange for currently upset Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray.
Souray making his 5 year "commitment" to the Oilers
Tambellini reportedly nixed the trade.

So far this sounds like the yearly Oilers rumour of a player the team almost landed. For a change though, this time the player coming back has apparently agreed to waive his no trade clause. When its said and done it doesn't really make that much of a difference, but you have to admit that it is nice for once to hear the magical "has agreed to waive" words.

Taken at face value this looks like another D'oh moment for the Edmonton Oilers. To think Oiler fans, a line featuring Dustin Penner AND Scott Hartnell; the damage they could create, the goalies they would crash into.
Scott Hartnell doing his best Ogie Oglethorpe impression
Digging a little deeper though, this is a trade that would have sent Oil Country into a frenzy last summer. Given Souray's salary, it is fair to assume that this trade was negotiated before the Flyers landed Chris Pronger at the Entry Draft in 2009.

Souray was probably viewed by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren as a much cheaper trade option than Pronger, considering that Pronger cost them Joffery Lupul, Luca Sbisa, and 2 first round draft picks. The rumoured deal for Souray was a package of Gilbert Brule, Souray, and a 2nd (Anton Lander) for Hartnell and a mid-range prospect.

Still sounds like a great trade in the present, Souray is basically dead weight to Oiler fans right now and Hartnell, coming off a Stanley Cup final appearance, is a better player than Brule.

At that point in time though Souray had yet to publicly ask for a trade,  he was coming off his best season as an Oiler. With 23 goals and 30 assists in 81 games, the defenceman had only a marginally less offensive year than the power forward Hartnell who had a 30 and 30 season and has been known for his Ethan Moreau moments.

So, would it be nice to have Scott Hartnell on the team today? No question the answer the yes. Would I have traded the teams number one defenceman, coming off a solid year, and a player with the draft pedigree of Brule for him? Absolutely not.  And if you disagree, keep in mind hindsight is 20/20.

Even though I wouldn't have made that trade either, and you and the Philadelphia Flyers are in full denial mode, I'd like to say thank you Scott Hartnell for not being afraid to play for the Edmonton Oilers.