In 2002-03, Aaron Gagnon broke into major junior hockey with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. He was a pleasant surprise even though jumped around all four lines. This was due to injuries or absences of other veteran players.
During his 2003-04 sophomore crusade, he missed the first nine games with a broken wrist. Injured and playing with a brace, he found his way back onto the roster a lot earlier than he expected. He ended up being the teams fourth leading scorer and lead all Thunderbird players in plus/minus. Gagnon also played for the Canadian Under-18 team at the 2004 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Minsk, Belarus.
8th round, 240th overall, 2004 Entry Draft, by Phoenix
2006-07: Gagnon exploded in his final year with Seattle (WHL). Despite playing in just 59 games, Gagnon blew away his teammates in goals (42) and points (80). Only one other player on the team scored 20 goals and that was Bud Holloway with 27, Holloway was also the only player to score more than 50 points on the team. Gagnon was named the WHL’s most sportsmanlike player, the Western Conference nominee for WHL Player of the Year and was a Western Conference First Team All-Star. After he was not signed by the Coyotes, the Stars signed the Thunderbirds’ captain to a three-year entry-level deal in February 2007.
2007-08: Gagnon split the year between Iowa (AHL) and Idaho (ECHL) after returning from an ankle injury. He was nearly point-per-game in Idaho in 22 games. However, he notched just a single assist in 25 AHL contests.
Gagnon is a very aggressive player. He is very strong on his feet and is a swift skater. He is speedy and energetic with a respectable slap shot. He responds to change and finds way to make things happen. A smart player that makes good reads. What he lacks in size, he makes up in determination. He has a great attitude and is willing to accept bigger roles and responsibility.
Gagnon also chips in away from the puck. He was counted on to be a penalty killer and a top faceoff man with Seattle. He is a leader and sets a good example for players around to him to follow.
Third line, two-way forward, like a less talented, less polished and smaller version of Ryan Kesler; or like Niko Kapanen.