This was a close one, and not in a good way.
In a week which saw the Edmonton Oilers get blanked twice (including 6-0 at the hands of the offensively-challenged Nashville Predators), lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets and almost blow a 4-0 lead to the Chicago Blackhawks before hanging on to win, there wasn’t much that anyone on this team did right this week.
The two who stood out were Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner, and Gagner beats Paajarvi because he did more than simply not cost his team goals.
Paajarvi had a goal and an assist, and was a +1 while averaging almost 16 minutes a night, so he had a decent week; but Gagner had two goals, an assist, and helped give the Oilers the spark they needed to defeat the Blackhawks last night. So, despite his being a -2 for the week, he did more to lead this team to victory and therefore gets the nod for Player of the Week for the Oilers in Week 7.
Gagner’s breakout season with the Oilers has been a revelation. Given his history and the compacted nature of this season, you keep expecting him to break down or for opposing defenses to figure him out, but it hasn’t really happened. With 23 points in 25 games, not only is he averaging almost enough points per game to break his career-high of 49 (set in his rookie season in 2007), but he might do it during a lockout-shortened season too.
In a year full of disappointments for the Oilers, Gagner has been one of the few bright spots, and his performance this past week helped the Oilers end it on a winning note. Here’s hoping he can help the Oilers have more of those notes in the future.