Who is the better fantasy own – Sam Gagner or Teddy Purcell?
This week's match pits Sam Gagner (who was also featured last week in Frozen Pool Forensics) against Teddy Purcell, two players pegged to score exactly the same number of points according to the DobberHockey Fantasy Guide. But when the dust settles after the upcoming season, which one will have actually benefitted your fantasy team more? Cage Match is here to give you the answer!
With Teddy Purcell now entering his fourth full season with the Lightning, it's harder to remember his earlier days with the Kings. Although undrafted, Purcell was the AHL rookie of the year in his first professional season of 2007-08. But he followed that with two lackluster campaigns that saw him split time in the AHL and with the Kings. His commitment and skill were openly questioned, and then, after compiling a mere six points in the first 41 games of the 2009-10 campaign, he was jettisoned to the Lightning with a 3rd round pick in exchange for journeyman Jeff Halpern. Purcell has clearly realized his potential (and then some) with Tampa, and in his last two seasons has scored 101 points in 129 games.
Gagner's career trajectory has been quite different. For one, he was a blue chip prospect, drafted sixth overall in 2007 and never even tasting AHL action. But Gagner was stuck in the 40 point range for each of his first five seasons, his main highlight being an eight point game (followed by a three point tally in his next contest) in 2011-2012, with those eight points being the highest total for an NHL player in a single game since Mario Lemieux in 1988. Many wondered if Gagner would ever break out, especially after Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, both of whom are younger and were drafted in later seasons than Gagner, really hit the ground running in their early campaigns with the Oilers. But things finally seemed to have clicked for Gagner last season, with him posting 38 points in just 48 games, where those 38 points were just 11 shy of his previous career high, but in 31 fewer games.
As usual in Cage Match, I like to examine Ice Time splits over the course of the past three seasons to see if there are any key trends, whether positive or negative: