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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Lost Rookies: 1985-86 OPC Dave Gagner

  Dave Gagner was highly touted entering the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.  The big knock against Dave was his size, 5'10".  Although ranked as the 7th or 8th best prospect, Gagner was still on the board when the New York Rangers scooped him up as the 12th overall pick.
  Before signing with the Rangers, Gagner joined the Canada National team and represented his country in the 1984 Olympics.  Gagner led Team Canada with 5 goals and 7 points.  He would go home without a medal as Canada, finishing fourth, was shutout in its final three games.

1984-85 OPC Olympians Dave Gagner

  Gagner made his debut for the Rangers season opener in 1984.  He scored his first goal, a shorthanded marker, against Pete Peeters of the Boston Bruins on October 28, 1984.  Gagner struggled to find ice-time with the Rangers during his three year tenure with the team.  Splitting time between the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL, and the Rangers of the NHL, Gagner scored 27 points in 80 NHL games over three seasons.  A change of scenery didn't jumpstart Gagner, as he was traded to the Minnesota North Stars for the 1987-88 season, netting 19 points in 51 games.  Gagner did start to find his stride as the season progressed, scoring 15 points in his last 22 games.
  Gagner did get a great start to the 1988-89 season.  Playing on a line with Stewart Gavin and Basil McRae, Gagner scored 4 points vs the Boston Bruins in the season's second game.  Gagner eventually played himself onto the top line and finished the season as the North Stars leading scorer.  Gagner led the North Stars in scoring twice and topped the 40 goal mark twice during his time as a North Star.  In 1991, the North Stars lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Gagner had 27 points, and led the team with 12 goals.  He led the team with 6 points in the finals.
  The North Stars changed their name to the Stars and moved to Dallas in 1993.  Gagner moved on in 1995, in a trade that sent him to the Toronto Maple Leafs.  In Gagner's final four seasons, he would suit up for five different teams (Stars, Leafs, Flames, Panthers and Canucks).  He retired in 1999.
  Perhaps my favourite hockey card of all-time is Dave Gagner's1991-92 Pro Set Platinum card.  There is something about that action shot that gives me the giggles.  Dave did get a rookie card in the 1988-89 OPC set after his first season in Minnesota.  He never got a New York Rangers card, so here is his Lost Rookie card, from the 1985-86 OPC set.  Also, a bonus 86-87 OPC of Dave.

1985-86 OPC #271 Dave Gagner (RC)

1985-86 OPC #217 Dave Gagner (RC)

1986-87 OPC Dave Gagner

1 comment:

  1. Great customs! I was a fan of Gagner when he was with Minnesota, but have hardly ever seen a photograph of him in a Rangers uniform.