What Should the Oilers Do with Sam Gagner?

Rumors are swirling that Carolina might be willing to trade their first round pick (8th overall). Naturally, Sam Gagner‘s name is mentioned first when Oiler fans talk about trade scenarios. Would it be wise for the Oilers to trade Gagner for the 8th overall selection?

To get some perspective, here are the last ten players selected 8th overall: Sean Couturier (2011), Alex Burmistrov (2010), Scott Glennie (2009), Mikkel Boedker (2008), Zach Hamill (2007), Peter Mueller (2006), Devin Setoguchi (2005), Alexandre Picard (2004), Braydon Coburn (2003), and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2002). Of those ten, Coburn might be the only one I’d exchange for Gagner.

Gagner was drafted 6th overall in the 2007 draft. And let’s not forget that as the NHL’s youngest player in 2007-08, he produced 49 points (13 goals, 36 assists). However, his point totals since his rookie season have remained in the 40’s, leading many Oiler fans to become frustrated with his seeming lack of progression.

Gagner might not be a Hart Trophy candidate (as the hockey card to the right suggests), but he’s a solid forward. Will he have a breakout season in the next year or two? It’s possible. He’s only 22. I’m not ready to give up on him just yet.

Here are a few of tweets I noticed yesterday.

If it were up to me, I would probably only trade Gagner for an established top-four defenceman (unless, of course, I was blown away by another offer). Based on the last ten 8th overall picks, there’s a good chance the player drafted won’t develop into a better player than Gagner.

What do you think the Oilers should do with Sam Gagner?

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