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Oilers' Sam Gagner hopes to play once more after hip surgical procedures

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In an ideal world, it might be hip, hip hooray for Sam Gagner after his two surgical procedures, again with the Edmonton Oilers on his PTO and attempting to make an impression as a full-bore coaching camp competitor.

However Gagner gained’t be enjoying in any of the group’s eight exhibition video games.

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He’ll solely practise, in keeping with physician’s directions, which suggests his possibilities of making it as one of many 12 forwards are diminished. Nevertheless, he appears resigned to that and would haven’t any bother beginning on the farm in Bakersfield if want be, with a contract, to see how issues go in his third kick on the can within the Oilers group.

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Gagner, as soon as the shiny new Oiler penny as an 18-year-old first-round decide in 2007, now has three youngsters and has performed 1,015 NHL video games. At 34, he nonetheless feels he has some gasoline within the tank as a task participant, with a job in participant improvement or one thing else in administration, actually a down-the-road risk.

He’s a wise man, however he desires to play.

“The hips really feel good, actually lots higher than at the moment final 12 months,” mentioned Gagner. ‘However there’s sure hurdles I’ve to cross earlier than I can play video games. It’s been an extended summer time of rehab, numerous tedious work, nonetheless some work to be finished.”

“I’m 5 months right into a six-month rehab course of and whereas I’m most likely forward of the six-month timeline, I need to give myself the very best alternative. Which means being totally wholesome,” mentioned Gagner, who knew enjoying pre-season video games was iffy after the surgical procedures and after agreeing to the camp tryout along with his former negotiator Jeff Jackson, now the Oilers’ CEO of hockey operations.

“Positively bizarre seeing him round right here, not as my agent, however he’ll do nice on this function. He’s received a ton of information,” mentioned Gagner.

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Gagner has lots of data about hips too.

“I had the one surgical procedure, then the opposite 5 weeks later, and was on crutches for 2 months. I used to be getting pushed into the pool and swam away in there, for what appeared like hours the primary little bit,” mentioned Gagner, whose hip points had been weighing on him for 2 or three years.

“I missed a number of video games in Detroit with it, then final 12 months in Winnipeg, it received worse and worse. I needed it fastened and I nonetheless really feel fairly younger. I haven’t misplaced any ardour for the sport.”

“Clearly I’ve a gentle spot for Edmonton. My spouse’s household is from right here and I like the place the group is of their life cycle. I’ve stayed in contact with Connor (McDavid) and Leon (Draisaitl), Clouder (Ryan McLeod) and Bouch (Evan Bouchard) all through the summer time in Ontario,” mentioned Gagner.

Gagner goes a good methods again with McDavid.

“I keep in mind skating in the summertime with Connor. I used to be 19 and he was 12. One in every of my trainers had requested if he might come on the ice and I mentioned positive. He was higher than me in most the drills and I’d performed a few years within the NHL,” he recalled.

Now, he hopes to be a teammate, once more. “I felt this was the appropriate match for me and I’m grateful the group did too (camp supply),” mentioned Gagner, who has developed into a wonderful penalty-killer in Detroit, which has rounded out his sport for all to see.

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It felt just like the door had closed on Gagner as an Oiler when he was traded to Detroit for Andreas Athanasiou in 2020, but it surely’s cracked open. And David Perron performed three completely different occasions with St. Louis, so why not Gagner right here?

However, the AHL awaits. If he goes there, he can deal with it.

He has performed within the minors earlier than (56 video games), and handled adversity.

“I don’t need to rush this. If this implies beginning in Bakersfield, I’m open to it and I’ll assist that group down there,” mentioned Gagner, who might nearly be a player-coach.

“The second (hip surgical procedure) is the one holding him again from being a full participant so we’re holding him again. We’re not speeding this,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft mentioned. “Sam has performed on this league a very long time and gone by way of completely different phases in his profession. He’s discovered a method the previous few years to be a stable, veteran participant you’ll be able to depend on in 200-foot of the rink. He’s received nice management qualities, he’s a shiny man.”


The Oilers have employed Michael Parkatti to be senior director of knowledge and analytics as a significant a part of their hockey ops division. He has been working for Suncor in Calgary, however was additionally an Oilers guide from 2013-2015 after profitable the Oilers-sponsored Analytics Hackathon … McLeod wasn’t on the ice for the primary observe. “He has a little bit soft-tissue tweak, only a precaution holding him, each day,” mentioned Woodcroft. Similar with Mattias Ekholm (hip-flexor tightness), who gained’t be on the ice for a number of days because the group takes it simple with their 23-minute-a-night defenceman … Brandon Sutter was usually on the ice attempting to maintain McDavid in verify when he was with the Canucks. What was that like? “A nightmare,” mentioned Brent Sutter’s son … Fascinating that the battle for a fourth-line centre spot may effectively come right down to Sutter, on a PTO, vs. Lane Pederson, who has a two-year $775,000 NHL deal. Pederson, who centered a line with Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan on the first observe, performed junior for Brent in Crimson Deer and now he’s attempting to beat out Brent’s son. Sutter performed the center with Mattias Janmark and Dylan Holloway on the first skate … Connor Brown had an OHL-leading 125 factors in his final season of junior in Erie, greater than McDavid’s 99. “Not too many individuals can say that,” admitted Brown, who was 19 on the time, two years older than McDavid … Jesse Puljujarvi, who completed final season with Carolina, has no contract or PTO as a result of he had double hip surgical procedure on the finish of June. He was seen on the ice capturing pucks over the summer time, although … Janmark (26) has assumed Puljujarvi’s former No. 13 right here. The Swede wore No. 13 in Dallas and Chicago earlier than this … Farm goalie Ryan Fanti is on the town however he had hip surgical procedure and gained’t be practising. “He’s months away,” mentioned Woodcroft. Fanti, who completed final season with the Fort Wayne Komets, had a goalie combat with Brad Barone of the Wheeling Nailers and in addition scored a purpose in opposition to the Speedy Metropolis Rush … Jujhar Khaira’s one-year contract in Minnesota is a two-way, with the league minimal $775,000 if enjoying for the Wild and $300,000 if enjoying within the AHL in Iowa … Former Oilers farmhand Brendan Perlini, who lit it up within the 2021 pre-season with six objectives, has a PTO with Carolina. He performed 26 video games final season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL (10 objectives, 15 factors).

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