Sam Gagner and Stuart Skinner after morning skate
Photo credit: Reddit

Sam Gagner makes incredible personal gesture to Stuart Skinner

Published May 14, 2024 at 5:48 PM

On any successful team, you have to have so many moving parts. You have to have players who fill many different roles, with different kinds of players meshing together to create perfect team chemistry. Viewers seem to forget how much the human and mental elements of hockey are actually important to the game. Hockey players are sometimes idolized as legends and stars, but at the end of the day they are still people. Hockey is a game about physical and mental toughness, and especially during the playoffs players can get very down on themselves for poor performance.

This seems to be the issue with Stuart Skinner, as he has all the makings to be a great goaltender. Skinner is only 25 and doesn't have the mental toughness built up to shake off poor play, which has been a theme throughout the whole year. In a scenario where a goalie has gotten too much into their head, they have to find a way to put past performances aside and get their confidence back up. The Oilers are all trying to get Skinner to get his confidence back, because if he doesn't it could be a very bad ending to the playoffs.

These are the intangibles that some players like Sam Gagner can offer, things like being able to mentor other players. Gagner has been in the league for a very long time and knows what it means to have a long and successful career. At this point in his career his focus is mostly on teaching younger players how to handle the pressures of the sport and how to respond to criticism. If he can help Stuart Skinner develop a tougher mentality that can increase his performance, that could be an amazing thing for the Oilers.

This is something Ken Holland has focused a decent amount on recently, giving the Oilers players who have Stanley cup winning caliber or have veteran leadership. Guys like Perry, Gagner and Ekholm have all been recent additions that have helped the team strengthen their mentality for playoff hockey. The Oilers have an amazing roster and have what it takes to win, they just need to be able to capitalize on the opportunities they're given. Gagner has always been a locker room favourite for things like this, going out of his way to help another teammate try and get over his mental issues. If Skinner can turn around his mindset and stop his poor play, the Oilers could do some serious damage in the postseason and have a great chance to contend for the cup.
May 14   |   258 answers
Sam Gagner makes incredible personal gesture to Stuart Skinner

Would you be happy to see Gagner return next year?

Yea, he's earned another contract13853.5 %
No, he takes up a roster spot6123.6 %
No, he'll retire an Oiler5922.9 %
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