Sam Gagner would still be considered a young pup on most NHL teams. He just turned 24 in August, but already has six NHL seasons under his belt. That makes him one of the more experienced players on Edmonton’s roster. Gagner is also one of the more essential members of Edmonton’s roster.
With the Oilers getting kicked around and buried on a nightly basis, they need all the help that they can get and will receive a jump start from Gagner’s impending return to the lineup.
Should be a big boost for the Oilers tonight as Sam Gagner is expected to play.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 29, 2013
Edmonton is in last place in the Western Conference right now, and if they don’t turn things around soon the season may already be lost for them. They’re already seven points behind the eight-place Minnesota Wild, and another week of losing could put them down for good.
That could start a changing of the guard for the Oilers, who are long in talent but short in intangibles. There have been rumors about Nail Yakupov being available all season long, and with Edmonton looking to shore up an atrocious defensive core it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see them move one of their younger stars for help in that area.
Gagner could be all that stands between the Oilers and a fire sale. That’s a lot of pressure to heap onto one guy, but if anyone is used to that by now it’s Gagner.
He was viewed as the savior in Edmonton before the Oilers were able to make several consecutive high draft picks, assembling an embarrassing amount of young firepower.
Those high picks haven’t resulted in a turnaround though. Some folks were dreaming of seeing Edmonton return to the glorious days of the ’80s with the collection of talent they’d put together. Now just making the playoffs seems like a fantasy.