This week’s Forensics – we go in-depth on Oilers pivot Sam Gagner
Forensics: Sam Gagner – The Seventh Year Breakout?
Over-rated or ready to take the next step?
It is well known that most players have their breakout season in either their fourth year or fifth year, but Sam Gagner is a unique player entering a unique situation – and it is all happening as he prepares for his seventh NHL season. One of the most discussed players in Edmonton this summer, debates often emerged about Gagner and whether he should be traded in an attempt to upgrade the team's average defense or if he should be re-signed as their number two center. With the July 22nd announcement of a three-year contractthat pays him $4.8 million per year, GM Craig MacTavish ended the speculation. Suddenly Gagner's polarizing off-season became a promising situation.
With Ryan Nugent-Hopkin's recovery from a shoulder injury potentially keeping him out of the line-up until November, Gagner may get the opportunity to start the season on the first line with Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall. If history repeats itself, expect a hot start from the 24-year-old veteran. Courtesy of Frozen Pool, here is a look at the most recent sample where the Hall-Gagner-Eberle line was most utilized over the past two seasons:
Third Quarter Summary (2011-2012 Season)