The Oilers and Canucks have swapped underachieving forwards with Edmonton acquiring center Sam Gagner from Vancouver in exchange for forward Ryan Spooner. Both teams have announced the move. It’s the second trade in less than 24 hours for interim Oilers GM Keith Gretzky after shipping goalie Cam Talbot to Philadelphia.
Despite playing a regular role with Vancouver last year that saw him record a respectable 31 points in 74 games, Gagner was somewhat surprisingly waived at the beginning of the season and has spent the majority of 2018-19 at the minor league level on loan with Toronto’s AHL affiliate. The 29-year-old has been productive with the Marlies, posting 12 goals and 25 assists in just 43 games and didn’t fare particularly poorly in a seven-game stint with the Canucks earlier in the year where he picked up three points while averaging over 18 minutes per night.
Meanwhile, this season has been a disastrous one for Spooner. He was able to parlay a strong showing the Rangers last season into a two-year, $8MM deal but things went off the rails early. After being largely a non-factor in New York through 16 games, he was dealt to Edmonton in a one-for-one swap for Ryan Strome where he proceeded to struggle even more. Eventually, the Oilers had enough, sending him through waivers late last month. On the season, he has just five points in 41 NHL games but has been better with AHL Bakersfield, picking up six points in seven contests.
Gagner is also signed through next season and the cap hits are nearly identical. Gagner’s cap hit is at $3.15MM while Spooner is costing Edmonton $3.1MM with the Rangers kicking in the other $900K so if a deal is done, the effects on the salary cap for both teams will be negligible. TSN’s Bob McKenzie adds (Twitter link) that there is no salary retention on either side. Both players could certainly benefit from a change of scenery and now will be getting that opportunity. Notably, Gagner could be in the lineup for Edmonton tonight against the Islanders.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (Twitter links) was the first to report the trade.
Edmonton is trying to adjust around the edges thinking that will save their season
He updated and said spooner may be going back the other way.
So basically the Oilers traded Jordan Eberle and two years later ended up with Sam Gagner.
I’m not really aware of the situation in Vancouver, but does anybody know why Gagner hasn’t played much for the big-league club this year? Was he just in the way of players with higher upside?
They had too many overpaid vets. He got buried when they signed Beagle and Roussel to do the same thing. That’s the impression I got, but I’m not a Vancouver fan.
I like this for Edmonton. Gagner has more NHL potential at this point. Spooner has upside but the Oilers might have a chance if someone can find actual chemistry with McDavid instead of just putting up points by leeching off of his success.
You would think a franchise would have enough foresight to not have to bury a guy in the minors on a one-way deal making 3+ million dollars a year after signing the deal. I like the deal for the Oilers as well, because it seems like Gagner is still capable of producing. It never made sense to me that they got rid of him for Purcell in the first place.
I wonder if the Canucks are more comfortable taking a chance on Spooner because of Jim Benning. If that’s the case, I don’t expect it to turn out any different than it did for the Oilers earlier this year, who I would guess traded for Spooner largely because of Chiarelli’s familiarity with him.