Before the start of this season, Sam Gagner could have been considered the most disappointing player out of the plethora of young talent that the futility of the Edmonton Oilers has allowed them to draft over the last several years.
Sure, Gagner had never posted less than 40 points in a season, but he never produced quite at the level at which he was expected. This season, though, Gagner has completely turned a corner and looked more like a guy who looks like a building block, rather than someone who could be the odd man out.
In 33 games this year, Gagner has 31 points. That is the highest scoring rate of his career, by a mile. His point total is tied with Taylor Hall for the team lead and his 13 goals are tops on the club. He’s also been key on the power play, with 12 points so far with the man advantage.
Gagner’s season started with a 10-game point streak. Since that streak came to an end, he’s since added an additional streak of five games. He also has six multi-point games on the year.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Gagner is locked into this lineup for the future. But it certainly has made his outlook with the Oilers franchise much more favorable than it once was. However, he’s still a restricted free agent which means that the Oilers could look to move him prior to the deadline.
Given what we’ve seen from Gagner this season, though, that doesn’t seem like the right move. He’s the guy in the middle of that second line, which should eventually see the Oilers boast the best group of top six forwards in the entire league. Though while the Oilers should look at signing him to a new deal this summer, rather than trading him, that doesn’t mean that they will.