Sam Gagner has been a regular in the NHL trade rumor mill. As a young, underachieving center on an Edmonton Oilers team full of young, underachieving centers, Gagner is constantly rumored to be on the move for blue line help that GM Craig MacTavish desperately wants.
The latest such talk has come from a familiar source on trade rumors. TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted the following about Sam Gagner.
Wouldn’t be Draft week without Sam Gagner as trade bait. 2 more years at $5 mil (4.8 cap)…coming off brutal injury. Bounce back yr ahead.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 24, 2014
The two-year term and mid-range cap hit of Gagner’s contract make him an easier move for both the Oilers and their prospective trade partner. The Oilers could trade Gagner to a contender in need of depth with his reasonable cap hit, or they could trade him to a bottom feeder in exchange for a package of prospects.
Given that the Penguins are rumored to be interested in trading their first round pick, it might be a natural fit for the Oilers to move Gagner for a pick and a roster player.
Of course, if the Penguins can make an offer, so can a handful of other teams looking for added offense. St. Louis and San Jose come to mind as other teams that could use a boost. Gagner will be 25 at the beginning of next season so this isn’t a play for a team needing veteran leadership. This is a move a team would make for the future as much as for the present. There are few teams that couldn’t use a young center who may rejuvenate his career with a change of scenery.
If Gagner is moved this year, it will likely happen at the NHL draft. The first round begins at 7PM on Friday on NBC Sports Network and the NHL Network with subsequent rounds on Saturday.