Name: Sam Gagner, #89
Birthplace: London, ON
Age: 27, born 8/10/89
Height/Weight: 5 ft 11 in/ 202 lbs
What he has going for him:
A fresh start with a new club. The sixth overall pick in the 2007 entry draft has played with both the Edmonton Oilers (drafted), Arizona (one year), and Philadelphia (last season). Last year he spent time out with a concussion, time in the AHL, but was able to come back and contribute to the Flyers in the playoffs. He has averaged 35 points over the last five season and averaged 64 games played over that same period. Perhaps the steal of the summer at the $650,000 price tag, the Blue Jackets need centers and Gagner needed a place to reboot his career. This may be a match made in heaven.
What he has going against him:
Gagner has not been especially strong in the face-off circle throughout his career. It’s an area the Blue Jackets are looking to improve this year, which means Gagner is going to have to be better than years past. You have to like his chances of success on the CBJ, but make no mistake, if he cannot make use of the skills that made him a first round pick – Columbus will be the last stop of his NHL career.
Prediction for this season:
I love a good underdog story. Gagner had the opportunity over the summer to sign with other clubs for a potentially larger pay, but chose the Jackets as his best opportunity for success. I see him being a playmaker for Columbus and I think he will be happy to have joined a team that will see him back above the 40 point mark for the season.
’16-’17 Jackets Rant stat line prediction: Goals: 12, Assists: 34, Total Points: 46