Trade Sam Gagner to the Chicago Blackhawks? Are you nuts?
Sam Gagner is hot as a pistol right now … finally.
Rumours have been spoken aloud by reporters and commentators who cover the NHL that the Chicago Blackhawks are interested in Oilers forward Sam Gagner.
This makes sense, given that Gagner’s now feeling better and is also playing better, much better. But it makes no sense for the Oilers to move Gagner, certainly not right now.
Gagner, 22, doesn’t have great stats for the young season. Coming of two injuries, one to his hand that sidelined him last spring, another to his ankle that sidelined him in late September and early October, Gagner has just one goal and 8 points in 20 games this year.
But, as the Journal’s Joanne Ireland reported today, Gagner told his teammate Ryan Whitney — who is recovering from a knee injury — that he didn’t really feel good on the ice until he had played 15 games this year.
Gagner’s contention is backed up by the numbers. In his first 14 games of the year, in 160 even strength minutes, Gagner’s numbers were bad.
He looked like he was playing hurt and his two-way play suffered. In those games, he made some play that contributed to 25 scoring chances, but made mistakes on 16 against. That’s a weak ratio of contributions to chances for as compared to mistakes on chances against. If an NHL winger is doing his job, he’ll contribute at the very least to twice as many chances as he makes mistakes on. If he’s a dangerous threat on the attack, while holding his own on defence, that ratio will be more like 2.5 or 3 chances for every chance he makes a mistake on.
Gagner was clearly struggling in the first quarter.
But in the six games since then, in 90 even strength minutes, Gagner has been playing outstanding two-way hockey. He’s made contributions to 22 scoring chances and made a defensive mistake on just one.