Oilers vs. Blackhawks: Sam Gagner Has the Performance of a Lifetime in 8-4 Win

Riley KuftaContributor IIIFebruary 3, 2012

EDMONTON, CANADA - NOVEMBER 17: Sam Gagner #89 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Chicago Black Hawks on November 17, 2010 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

A game in Edmonton just wrapped up that saw the struggling Edmonton Oilers embarrass the Chicago Blackhawks in an 8-4 win—a game that will be remembered forever for Oilers forward Sam Gagner.  

Gagner contributed on every Oilers goal in the game, picking up four goals and four assists, the best regular-season performance from an NHL player in more than 23 years—Mario Lemieux had eight points for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the New Jersey Devils on December 31, 1988. 

The young center is in the fifth season of his career; one that showed early promise but hasn't seemed to develop. Gagner was drafted sixth overall in the 2007 draft, and tonight he showed us why. 

For a player who's never scored more than 49 points, tonight's game could be what was needed to spark the amazing career we all expected. 

Whether or not he'll be able to capitalize on this momentum is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Tonight will spark interest as the trade deadline approaches. 

As an upcoming restricted free agent on a team whose playoff hopes look grim, Sam Gagner could find himself on the trading block in the upcoming weeks.

Most of the trade talks have revolved around fellow forward Ales Hemsky, but a player who is capable of an eight-point game would be an asset to any team.  

After tonight's display, I'm sure the Oilers would love to keep Gagner, but with other young stars like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, there might not be room for Sam on the roster.