The Edmonton Oilers’ Sam Gagner stunned the NHL hockey world last week when he scored eight points in the team’s lopsided win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The feat was significant since Gagner tied an Oilers record of eight points in one game with Oiler Hall of Famers Paul Coffey and Wayne Gretzky, and came within two points of the league record of 10 points in a single game set by Darryl Sittler.
What’s even more amazing is that Gagner was involved in every Oiler goal on the night and before the hockey world could stop buzzing, followed up that performance with three points in the first period of the Oilers next game – a 5-4 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings in which Gagner also scored in the shootout.
Heady stuff for the former first round pick who has struggled after a breakout rookie season and whose star has lost much of its luster thanks in large part to the emergence of a handful of new Oiler superstars in the making in Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Prior to this offensive outburst, Gagner was mired in another mediocre season and was constantly popping up in trade rumours around the league.
The Slapsticks crew might be right on this one, since many a young player has been written off by the so-called experts long before they’ve had a chance to prove their worth in the NHL. Let’s hope Gagner can use last week’s heroics to help him find success in the NHL over the longterm.