Coach Knoblauch doing media questions
Photo credit: NHL.com

Oilers Coach Knoblauch under fire for making questionable decision

Published February 11, 2024 at 12:45
BY LIAM
     
For the last four games and since Corey Perry entered the lineup, Oilers veteran Sam Gagner has found himself in the press box despite continuously being a great contributor on the fourth line. Now Coach Knoblauch is taking some heat from fans and the media for scratching the effective veteran in favour of Connor Brown or Mattias Janmark, who aren't producing anything.

On OilersNation this morning, Zach Laing highlighted that depth scoring is still an issue with the Oilers, which was especially evident against better teams like the Kings and Golden Knights. Despite not getting much offence from the bottom six, Knoblauch is continuing to bench Gagner, who's been one of the most productive fourth liners in the NHL.

There's no good reason for both Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown to continue to cannibalize ice time. The former is as quiet as a church mouse in the offensive zone, and we might see robots on the ice before the latter scores a goal.

Sam Gagner, at the very least, has provided an offensive punch virtually every time he's stepped foot on the ice this season, with his 2.58 5v5 points per hour rate second among all Oilers forwards to only Connor McDavid.




While Janmark and Brown do bring value to the penalty kill, Gagner can also fill that role while producing significantly more offence than the other two players. For them to be in the lineup consistently, and not even rotating in Gagner, is a big oversight and mistake from Knoblauch. In 22 games played this year, Gagner has scored 5 goals and 5 assists, which is enough for a 37 point pace - incredibly impressive considering his limited ice time.

Gagner clearly deserves another rotation in the lineup, and doesn't deserve to be say for this extended period of time. Hopefully in the next game against Detroit, Gagner can get into a game against his former team.
POLL
February 11   |   466 answers
Oilers Coach Knoblauch under fire for making questionable decision

Should Gagner be in the lineup regularly?

Yes, should be a regular player30264.8 %
He should swap in and out12727.3 %
He's fine as an extra, not good anymore377.9 %
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