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Gagner’s goal in Arizona: prove people wrong

Jul 3, 2014, 7:32 PM EDT

Frank Corrado, Sam Gagner. AP

In what amounted to a three-team trade, the rumors finally came true, as Sam Gagner was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to (eventually) the Arizona Coyotes. It’s actually kind of hard to believe Gagner is only 24, as it seems like he’s been criticized – and dangled in hypothetical trades – for years.

The Arizona Republic reports that those criticisms serve as a driving force for Gagner:

“It’s not about what people say or what I say about my game,” Gagner said. “It’s about going out there and proving it on a consistent basis. I’m excited to prove some people wrong next year, and I feel like I have a great opportunity to do that in Phoenix and it should be a lot of fun.”

Coyotes GM Don Maloney didn’t really spurn or encourage Gagner’s critics. If anything, he indicated that the franchise believes they (or maybe more precisely, renowned head coach Dave Tippett) can “fix” his problems.

“Really, if you ask me how is he on his defensive-zone coverage, don’t ask me,” Maloney said. “We got him for his offensive instincts and creativity. Players can learn to play better defense. It’s very difficult to learn to be more intelligent and more creative.”

The Coyotes can certainly use that creativity after losing Radim Vrbata to free agency and buying out Mike Ribeiro.

After years of being lost in the shuffle with all the No. 1 picks in Edmonton, Gagner is now one of the most explosive offensive players on the Coyotes roster. From the sound of things, Arizona will give him every chance to prove his critics wrong next season.

  1. nflnhlrulznbasux - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    good, he’s out of Edmonton, now I can cheer for him. Be nice to see a couple magical 8 point games next year.

  2. roblo76 - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    Thankfully he was finally traded, so we don’t have to read any more ridiculous “trade proposals” involving him from delusional Oiler fans. “Gagner and a 2nd for Shea Weber!!1!”

  3. luz56 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    I hope so… Being a Flames and Coyote fan I liked the talent hated the jersey…. Grossly misused in the City of Excuses… Welcome to Phoenix

  4. blomfeld - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    “Any NHL hockey team based in the land of scorpions and 100 degree temperatures, probably has even worse odds of survival than some bunch of ‘drunk’ yahoos trying to take on the Earp brothers in a ‘head to head’ fight” … US Senator John McCain

    executive summary: like it or not, Gagner will be playing in the Emerald City within 2 years max …

  5. purpleguy - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Hasn’t he said this exact same thing for 2-3 years now?

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