Sam I am

By , August 31, 2010 8:31 pm
Clearly, my photoshop skills have gone to absolute shit.

Clearly, my photoshop skills have gone to absolute shit.

Amidst all the Khabi-disaster, Sam Gagner was recently interviewed by Jason Gregor (check out the article on Oilersnation.com), and Steve Tambellini also spoke about him a bit.

Gagner mentioned he worked hard to lose a bit of weight in the off-season (yes, I said lose weight… I guess he wanted to lose some of the “baby fat” that he felt only slowed him down.. go figure). Jason Gregor noted that you could see it in Gagner’s face even that he lost that baby fat, and also that he appeared to be quicker on ice. Seems weird to comment on, but Gagner felt that by shedding the extra weight it would help him gain a bit of speed, and it does look like that may be the case. In addition, Gagner has been working on his shot and his conditioning. Jason Gregor also asked him if he had been working on his faceoffs, to which he said it was difficult to work on something like that, but he had been working on his strength (which he commented would assist in faceoff ability).

Steve Tambellini spoke about Gagner and threw out the best “morsels” of info on Gagner, such as how he looks in better shape and leaner (due to his change in training to more cardio/endurance training). The biggest morsel was that he’d have a “prominent role and prominent ice time”. To me that means he’s going to get a good look at #1C this year. Now before people get too excited, that doesn’t mean that he’ll get it and have to do nothing to keep it (i.e. not earn it). But, it’s good to hear that we can expect that the guy I consider to be our #1C of the future to be given the chance to take that spot if he wants it enough.

The journal also had a good interview with Gagner, which I’ll quote here:

“Obviously, I have a lot to learn to be a first-line centre, but I want to be a guy who’s looked upon to play in all situations,” said Gagner.

“I’m willing to take the steps to be that guy and I’ve always been taught if you put the work in you’ll be rewarded.”

He’s had one clear goal this summer: trim down a bit to get even quicker.

“My main focus this summer was getting faster and I’ve dropped weight,” said Gagner, who played at just under 200 pounds last season, is currently 193 and would like to get closer to his rookie weight of 190. “When you’re coming into this league, everyone’s telling you to put on weight … you get caught up in it, but I’ve worked this summer to lose pounds, to work on my fast-twitch, work on my speed with my trainer. I hope to see dividends from that.”

Three pounds to go.

“If I get to 190, I won’t get knocked around at that size and I think I can get in and out of places quicker.”

Now all this stuff could sound just like the usual unfounded buzz we hear around this time, but I think Gagner was had a decent end half to his season despite battling a hip injury (he stated it would flare up from time to time because he never gave it time to heal). There are also still some concerns in the defensive zone, but I think playing with a guy like Penner will help though, in that regard. I honestly think this is Sam Gagner’s big year (OK, not THAT big, so settle down… I mean, it’s the start of where people think – “Oh yah, I’m seeing the #1C now..”) IF he gets the top center role (more so on the powerplay). I said my prediction below earlier this week to a friend of mine, and he thought I was crazy, but I’m thinking he should get significant ice time on the top line as well as power play.

So behind all the Khabibulin hoopla and the hype surrounding the rookies (Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, in particular), Gagner has been quietly working hard to be come a better player, and I think we’re going to see that this year if he gets top billing. If he’s put at center for a couple of rookies, I think that changes things (although granted, I think he’ll still get top PP time and that will help keep the numbers up). Anyways, without further ado…

Prediction: 60 points – 20 goals, 40 assists (if he plays close to a full season).

11 Responses to “Sam I am”

  1. Racki says:

    Just pointing out that a new article is up.. btw, my numbers aren’t based on the hype that Tambellini/Gagner are spreading.. I just have felt it for a while that we’re on the verge of seeing Gagner’s coming-out party.. and I just think this year will be the start of that.

    I do have to wonder though if the coaching staff are going to breed a new trio in MPS/Hall, Gagner, Eberle starting this year though.

  2. gr8one says:

    Totally agree with your thoughts on Gagner. There are still going to be some growing pains, but we all forget just how young he still is(including me)

    To put things in a little perspective:

    At 20(Sam just turned 21), Zach Parise had served one season in the AHL with Albany scoring 18g and 58 points. His first NHL season he scored 14g 32 points.

    Mike Richards at 20 entered his first NHL season scoring 11g and 34 points.

    I picked those two players because they’re pretty close to the same size as Gagner and still pretty young.

    I’m not saying I expect him to become as good as either of those, but it does seem like there are a lot of Oiler fans out there that already seem to be writing Gagner off as a high end player when it is still far too young to tell. It could even take him a couple more seasons to REALLY find his way, and if he doesn’t have a great year I think we should still be patient as long as we see growth.

    I too suspect a breakout year though, maybe not a massive leap like Stamkos took last year, but like Racki said “I honestly think this is Sam Gagner’s big year (OK, not THAT big, so settle down… I mean, it’s the start of where people think – “Oh yah, I’m seeing the #1C now..”)”

  3. Racki says:

    Interesting about those two players. It’s obviously too late, but I wish we could have given Sam some time in the AHL.. although mind you, that team was a bit of a shit show as well too, so who knows how that would have been for his development. At any rate, it bothers me too when people completely write him off, or at least say that he doesn’t have ability to be a #1C because he hasn’t exploded with a Stamkos like season. It can take time. Good things come to those who wait.

    Last year was Penner’s break out season, and I just think this is the year for Gagner. Speaking of Penner, I actually hope Gagner gets to play with Penner, even if Hemsky isn’t on the wing.. I think those two are actually a pretty good pair whose skills complement each other well.

  4. Sheldon Oilers Fan for Life!!! says:

    #89 has a lot to learn yet and HE is the first to say it. I expect he will have a breakout year this or next and reward our faith in him. He will be the captain some day and that will be awesome. He is all about TEAM and HARD WORK!

  5. Racki says:

    Agreed, I’m happy to say that looking up and down this roster, we seem to have trimmed away those guys that seem a bit complacent when it comes to putting the extra effort in.

  6. chucker says:

    I saw an interview with him on global yesterday. He looks like he’s lost some of the flab. Good to see. I think you’re correct on him having a bit of a break out year this year. There are a lot more quality players to boost the numbers here now, even though they are rookies.

    Heck, LeCalvalier took almost 6 years before he did what he was supposed to. Gags will be fine.

  7. RyanB says:

    Gagner has always struck me as fairly mature. He is the first to admit that his game can be better and he wants to do whatever he can to be better. Maybe that his dad was an NHLer helps him know exactly what kind of dedication is needed to have a long career in this league.

    20 and 40 would be one hell of a year for Gagner. To be honest I’ll be happy if he gets 50 points.

  8. Racki says:

    I’d be happy with 50 too.. I’m pretty much happy with the Oil no matter how bad they stink though ;)

    So, 60 points isn’t a minimum number where I’d be happy with Gagner’s production or anything.. just a number I think he can reach this year if fully healthy and getting PP#1 minutes.

  9. victoriaoilerfan says:

    chucker: I saw an interview with him on global yesterday. He looks like he’s lost some of the flab. Good to see. I think you’re correct on him having a bit of a break out year this year. There are a lot more quality players to boost the numbers here now, even though they are rookies.Heck, LeCalvalier took almost 6 years before he did what he was supposed to. Gags will be fine.

    He does look leaner. Tambi in his interview mentioned he has changed his workout routine. He also mentioned that many of the OIlers have also gone to the new regime. I always thought (wrongly perhaps) that Cagner isn’t very fast on his skates which is why I don’t share some other posters (*cough *Racki)thoughts that he will become a #1 center. Perhaps this conditioning will help that *perceived foot speed slowness.

  10. victoriaoilerfan says:

    Racki: Interesting about those two players. It’s obviously too late, but I wish we could have given Sam some time in the AHL.. although mind you, that team was a bit of a shit show as well too, so who knows how that would have been for his development. At any rate, it bothers me too when people completely write him off, or at least say that he doesn’t have ability to be a #1C because he hasn’t exploded with a Stamkos like season. It can take time. Good things come to those who wait. Last year was Penner’s break out season, and I just think this is the year for Gagner. Speaking of Penner, I actually hope Gagner gets to play with Penner, even if Hemsky isn’t on the wing.. I think those two are actually a pretty good pair whose skills complement each other well.

    I agree with your thoughts about AHL time. Lets keep that in mind when we are looking at this years rookies. Other than HAll is there anyone else that CAN’T be send down?
    We have to show patience, damn we are all tired of patience but this time it is truly warranted IMO.

  11. Racki says:

    Really, I don’t think there is anyone else that can’t be sent down to OKC (other than waiver issues, or players that have no business being in the NHL).

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