Edmonton Oilers Jordan Eberle celebrates his second goal of the game with teammate Sam Gagner, left, against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period in Toronto, Feb. 6, 2012. Mark Blinch/Reuters
EDMONTON - For Sam Gagner, it’s always been about growing as a player.
Heading into his sixth season with the Edmonton Oilers, Gagner is still looking to match the totals he put up as a rookie.
It’s unlikely to happen this year in a shortened campaign, but heading into the season healthy and in game shape, the Oilers winger is looking to take an even bigger step in his development.
“I think this is a big year for me either way; I want to continue to make steps,” Gagner said.
“I felt like I made big steps last year, but I’m nowhere near to being the player that I want to be. I have to continue to make those steps and be sharp every night. In a 48-game season that’s magnified a little bit, but my thought process doesn’t change.”
Gagner has been around for so long, it’s easy to forget the London, Ont., product is still only 23 years old.
He set the bar high with a strong rookie season back in 2007-08, scoring 13 goals and adding 36 assists for 49 points.