As the Edmonton Oilers continue to struggle and the playoffs look like they might be in jeopardy early in the season, there is chatter in the background as it pertains to management and executive changes within the organization. Specifically, when it comes to the general manager’s position, current GM Ken Holland is taking a lot of heat for the team he built and some of the moves he made that have cost the franchise. He’s on the final year of his deal and it’s likely he won’t be back.
If accurate, in a quest to find a new general manager, the job will be left up to new CEO Jeff Jackson. So far, in his limited run with the team, a patter has emerged in that he likes to hire people he knows. New head coach Kris Knoblach was brought in (potentially prematurely for Jay Woodcroft) and Paul Coffey was made an assistant coach with no NHL coaching experience. This new GM might be a well-known name, but one that keeps with the pattern Jackson is demonstrating.
The Oilers are rumored to be eyeing Dave Gagner, according to insights from the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons. Gagner, the father of current Oilers forward Sam Gagner. Simmons writes:
GM Ken Holland will be gone at the end of the season — his call — and I wouldn’t be surprised if Dave Gagner, whose son plays for the Oilers and is another former McDavid associate and a close Jackson friend, is brought in to be Oilers GM …
Dave Gagner Has Links to Oilers Already
The potential candidacy of Dave Gagner holds intriguing connections, as he is not only a former associate of Oilers CEO Jeff Jackson, but star Connor McDavid. Gagner, currently associated with Wasserman Group, has worked alongside Jackson for an extended period. His representation of 25 players with active contracts, including Oilers players Greg McKegg, Connor Brown, and Evan Bouchard, adds further depth to his profile.
Despite Gagner’s extensive experience in various roles within the hockey realm, including player, coach, and front-office employee, he’s an interesting candidate. While his established list of connections could be useful, as would his ability to negotiate, doubts persist about the effectiveness of his potential appointment. He’s never been a GM of NHL club before.
The Oilers haven’t made any public statements about this and it was believed they were grooming Steve Staios before he jumped to Ottawa. If so, they weren’t shy about hiring a rookie GM. The only difference is, Gagner would be Jackson’s guy, whereas Staios was Holland’s.
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