Edmonton Oilers: Did Sam Gagner Sell His Soul to the Devil?

Nicholas DiFrancoContributor IIIFebruary 9, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 16:  Sam Gagner #89 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on January 16, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The question is in the title: Did Sam Gagner sell his soul to the devil?

Not the ones from New Jersey, I mean the real one. The one with the pitch fork, hooves, and pointed tail.

At 22 years old, Sam Gagner is already in his fifth NHL season—which stands testament to the skill level expected out of him from the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers drafted Gagner with their first pick—sixth overall before the start of the 2007-08 season.

In his first four seasons, Gagner, much like his team—had not amounted to anything spectacular. His best season thus far has been his rookie year, where he accumulated forty nine points with thirteen goals and thirty six assists. With nearly two-thirds of the 2011-12 season gone, it did not look like Gagner would fair any better. As of January 31, Gagner racked up twenty one points with five goals and sixteen assists.

Two days later on February 2, in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks—Sam Gagner did do something spectacular. He scored four goals and four assists in a single game, putting him in the same company with Paul Coffey and Wayne Gretzky—two other Oilers that accomplished the same feat.

While Gagner’s eight-point night creates a three-way tie within his organization, the fact that his team did not score a point without him that night—ties an NHL record previously only held by Mario Lemieux.

Following that historic night, Gagner was able to put up the next three points for his team against the Detroit Red Wings—giving him a point in each of his team’s past eleven. He would finish that night with a shootout goal that will not appear on his stat sheet, but helped his team win the game.

Over the next two games Gagner would post an assist and two goals. He may have only tallied for twenty one points over the first three and a half months of the season, but he has earned fourteen in the past week.  

What caused such a drastic turn around in Sam Gagner’s game?

It is no secret the Oilers are not doing well this season with a 22-22-8 record. They were looking to make big changes before the trade deadline, and Gagner’s name is being tossed around with an uncomfortable ease.

Maybe he wants to increase his trade value?

Maybe it is just good old fashioned luck?

Maybe he met a man at the crossroads?

Either way he has had one H.E. double hockey sticks of a spectacular week. I for one wish him the best in this life, and the next.