The Edmonton Oilers will go to arbitration with their 23 year old center Sam Gagner. We all remember Gagner in Chicago for putting up 8 points against our Blackhawks on February 2nd, last season. The Oilers have been a bit disappointed with Gagner’s production after drafting him 6th overall in the 2007 entry draft. Gagne had his best output in his rookie season of 2007-2008 when he finished the year with 49 points (13 G, 36 A). He scored a career high 18 goals this past season, but has never shown the scoring ability he had when he scored 35 goals and added 83 assists with the London Knights of the OHL. Gagner’s name was flying around the trade rumor sites at the deadline last year but was not moved. Sam struggled down the stretch scoring just seven points in the Oilers last 23 games of the season. There have been many reports since January that Edmonton wants to move Gagner, including after his arbitration hearing.
I think Gagner would be a perfect fit for the Blackhawks and could fill the need for the elusive 2nd line center. My guess is Gagner will be awarded a salary between 3 and 3.5 million dollars. That would be a fairly affordable contract for a 23 year center. If the Oilers are serious about moving him the Hawks are an ideal trading partner. The Oilers have loaded up on young scorers like Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but are lacking on the blue line. The Hawks have a young defenseman in Niklas Hjalmarsson that can make an immediate impact in Edmonton. I think Gagner can reach his full potential centering a line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp on either side of him. This would be a win/win trade for both sides. Both teams would be filling a need while moving a player that has disappointed them in the past.
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