Despite the Edmonton Oilers not being in the playoffs there is still plenty of news, rumors and updates coming out of Oil Country. The latest has newly appointed GM Craig MacTavish discussing a new contract with potential restricted free agent Sam Gagner according to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal.
Gagner has been the subject of potential trade talks over the past two seasons in Edmonton despite having a successful year in this lockout shortened campaign, scoring 14 goals and adding 24 assists, good for 38 points in all 48 games.
When MacTavish addressed the media on Monday he was adamant on many points about his plans with this club and that included touching on Gagner, courtesy of the Edmonton Journal.
“Sam had an unbelievable year (38 points in 48 games) and has developed into a leader here by all regards. In the limited discussions with the group (of players) in there, he’s got the type of character we want.”
It’s hard to believe that Gagner is only 23-years old and already a veteran of six years. The argument could still be had about whether or not the Oilers rushed him into the NHL at the ripe age of 18 but that feels like so along ago that it’s not worth re-hashing something best left to rest.
Looking ahead MacTavish said the core group of players that are all but untouchable include Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz. No mention of Gagner, leading some to believe that the Oilers could look at trading number 89.
Should the Oilers sign and them trade him? Or flat out trade him before free agency hits on July 5th? Or should they re-sign him and make him a group of the core players that the Oilers plan to build around? We’ll take a closer look at the options and what the best path forward is for Gagner and the Oilers tomorrow.