Sam Gagner made the switch from centre to wing this week and drew top line duty with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the responsibility of playing against Pittsburgh’s top line for most of the night, Friday night. Gagner finished the game with 19:03 of ice time, logging an assist with two shots and two hits.
Despite a slow start, Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins says Gagner turned things around mid-game and grew comfortable in his new role.
“Early, I thought he was trying to find his way, get his feel and I thought as the game went on, I thought he played better and better,” said Eakins. “He made some plays tonight over on that wing with Nuge and Hallsy that were impressive. I knew he was feeling good kind of halfway through, with his body language on the bench and coming off the ice. He was making eye contact with me a lot. When players are feeling good, there’s a lot of looking at the coach and there’s no words and it’s like, ‘I’m feeling good and I know you see me, get me back out there.’ That was encouraging as well.”