I sat down this morning with my coffee, prepared to write my game day blog. As I was writing some details about the Talbot - Stolarz deal my phone pinged.... and then I saw the Gagner acquisition.
Delete Delete Delete
Okay Talbot first.
Cam Talbot's fate was sealed the moment that Mikko Koskinen signed his bizarre 3 year deal. The deal itself is bad enough, but the timing of it continues to make absolutely no sense. Mikko was signed in the middle of a losing streak and his overall play has not truly progressed from there.
Fun fact; here are Koskinen's last 10 games total stats:
Through the last 10 games, both goalies have gotten the hook and been subbed by the other, explaining each of their records.
Both goalies have been sub-par, but through the last 10 Talbot squeaks ahead as the better goalie. Now that Talbot is gone, it falls squarely on Koskinen to be the #1. For any other team, this is where I would say how he plays through the next couple months will determine what kind of contract he will receive, but this is the Oilers where players just get stuff.
The return of Stolarz does give the Oilers everything they wanted in a Talbot trade. Stolarz only costs the Oilers 760,000 in cap space and is an RFA, giving them the option to control have past this season should they choose. The Oilers save roughly 3.4 million dollars in cap space, which will be crucial in the coming days with the return of Andrej Sekera.
Stolarz is a fairly meh goaltender with average numbers throughout his AHL career. If he comes in and proves to be a good low-cost backup that will be great, but the money saved is more important to the team right now.
GAGNER IS BACK
This is where I was prepared to get into today's game blog but then the Gagner news broke. The Oilers traded Ryan Spooner to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Sam Gagner. Now that the Oilers have Gagner and Kassian, and McDavid and Manning, I wonder which other mortal enemies the Oilers organization can pull. Dan Hamhuis once fought Ryan Nugent Hopkins...maybe the Oil should pick him up. Maybe reunite Roman Polak and Darnell Nurse. The possibilities are endless.
It's pretty easy to roll the eyes at the Oilers going back to the well once more, but honestly I like this move by Edmonton. Aside from my own thoughts on Gagner, who is an all-round great person and a well liked guy by his teammates, he should still have some NHL hockey left in him.
Gagner had most of his best seasons coming into the NHL as an 18 year old with the Edmonton Oilers. For many years, his best season was his first, putting up 49 points in 79 games. Throughout his Oilers career, he regularly put up 40+ points, and was nearly a ppg player in the shortened 2012-2013 season; with 38 points in 48 games. Of course the fondest memory most fans would have of Gagner would be his 8 point night against the Chicago Blackhawks back in 2012.
Then in 2013/2014 Gagner was hit by a high stick in pre-season, breaking his jaw. The player who hit him with that stick was of course Zack Kassian. Gagner struggled returning later that year and was eventually traded to Tampa for Teddy Purcell and immediately flipped to Arizona. He ended up having his best NHL season with the Blue Jackets, mostly due to an insane shooting percentage on their powerplay.
It is crazy how time flies, as the only two players that remain on the Oilers from when Gagner played are Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom. Ryan Spooner was a buyout candidate for Edmonton. Gagner may be able to find a place on this roster.