Sam William Gagner
Born August 10, 1989 (age 22) in Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Center for the Edmonton Oilers
Let’s kick off September by heading to Oil Country! After playing midget hockey in Ontario and spending a year with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, Sam was set to play for the University of Wisconsin-Madison but decided to play for the OHL’s London Knights instead. He was put on the top line with two other guys you may have heard of: Sergei Kostitsyn and Patrick Kane. In that one season of 2006-07 he had 118 points in 53 games, ranking him fifth in the league. He was picked 6th overall in the 2007 draft by the Oilers, after he saw his buddy Kaner go first overall to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Sam jumped right into the action, playing his first NHL game on October 4, 2007 in a shutout against the Sharks. Two weeks later, he scored his first goal against the Calgary Flames. He had 49 points in 79 games his rookie season and set a team record for the longest assists streak by a rookie – 9 assists in 8 games. The next season he scored his first hat trick and racked up 41 points in 76 games.
And then the worst happened this past season. In March, Ryan Jones was going over the boards and caught his skate blade on Sam’s left hand. The severed tendon that resulted was fixed with surgery, but he sat out the rest of the season, joining Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky on the Injured Reserve list.
During his rookie season, he lived with teammates Andrew Cogliano and Tom Gilbert in a house that Oilers captain Ethan Moreau gave them. Two years later Gilbert got a house, while the other boys moved into the same apartment building. I’ve been told that they were BFFs, but now that Cogs is in Anaheim, who will be Sam’s new best friend? We can only wonder…