Sam's seeing stars

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

Summit Series MVP, sixth overall pick in the NHL draft, highlight reel shootout goals, and now a trip to the Young Stars game.

The last few months should be enough to make Sam Gagner's head spin.

Or swell to the size of a beach ball.

But it isn't.

The rookie's helmet still fits, and it seems as though his noggin is still screwed on right, despite a growing list of reasons why an 18-year-old who's done as much as he has could lose all perspective.

"I'm just trying to cross every bridge as I come to it," the Oilers forward said yesterday after finding out he's been added to the All-Star festivities in Atlanta.

"I'm just having fun with it and trying to get better every day. When these things pop up it's a lot of fun for me.

"It's pretty exciting and a great opportunity. I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully it'll be a confidence-builder going forward."

Gagner made the Young Stars team on the strength of 16 points (which ties him for 10th among rookie scorers) and a handful of show-stopping shootout goals.

He becomes the seventh Oiler to play in the game.

"You realize you're on the right track when you're in a game like this," he said. "There's a lot of great players who have been through it before. It's pretty exciting for me."

He's also expanding his repertoire with a recent focus on defence, having been moved to a checking line with Jarret Stoll and Marty Reasoner.

"I think he's a special player, and that's just a further example of that," said head coach Craig MacTavish.

Gagner wasn't the only candidate from the Oilers. Andrew Cogliano actually has better numbers (19 points and a better plus-minus).

"It must have been a tough decision between the two," said MacTavish.

"They're both deserving from our perspective. They (NHL)couldn't make a bad decision there."


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