Sam Gagner’s tenure with the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t even last the night. Less than two hours after being traded by the Edmonton Oilers to Tampa Bay, Gagner is being sent to the Arizona Coyotes in a separate deal, according to Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press.
Earlier on Sunday, the Lightning acquired Gagner from the Oilers in a two-player deal that shipped out right winger Teddy Purcell. Immediately after the deal, rumors circulated that Gagner would be bought out or traded, but the team refused to confirm anything but the initial move with Edmonton.
However, it didn’t long for Tampa Bay to find Gagner a new home. And while we don’t know what the Lightning are receiving from Arizona, Gagner probably fits better with the Coyotes than he ever would’ve in Tampa.
With Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula filling the top two center spots on the depth chart, a move to winger would’ve been likely for Gagner had he stayed with the Lightning. Instead, he’ll likely stay at center, where he’s played his entire career, and help replace Mike Ribeiro, who recently had his contract bought out by the Coyotes.
So rather than get his change of scenery in Tampa Bay, Gagner will look to re-ignite his stagnating career in the desert heat of Arizona. Given his $4.8 million salary cap hit over the next two seasons, it’s likely the biggest thing Tampa gets out of the deal is salary relief. As for Gagner, after two deals in less than two hours, he’s probably ready to settle in.