Former Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner has reportedly signed a contract with the team’s AHL affiliate the Bakersfield Condors and will join the team. The veteran of over 1,000 NHL games was on a tryout with the Oilers but was unable to dress for any preseason games during training camp after signing his PTO in late August.
The 34-year-old has suited up for seven different NHL teams over the course of his 16-year NHL career and will return to the AHL for the first time since 2019-20 when he coincidently also played for the Condors.
This is Gagner’s third run with the Oilers organization after they drafted him in the first round, sixth overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft. Although he never lived up to the promise he showed as an 18-year-old when he posted 13 goals and 36 assists in 79 games, he has a solid career with 519 points in 1,015 games.
Gagner is trying to get back to the NHL after undergoing double hip surgery in March of this year which led to him missing the end of last year as well as the preseason. He was a decent depth option with the Winnipeg Jets last year posting eight goals and six assists in 48 games while playing just 12 minutes a night. But, if he can perform anywhere close to his 2021-22 numbers in which he posted 31 points in 81 games with the Detroit Red Wings, he could give himself a real shot to earn a pro-rated NHL deal this season. Especially with the Oilers, who have struggled to find any kind of depth to start the season.
Gagner will take some time to work himself into game shape, but this isn’t unchartered waters for the London, Ontario native as he has been down the AHL road before on three separate occasions. As mentioned earlier, Gagner spent part of the 2019-20 season in the AHL, as well as 43 games with the Toronto Marlies in 2018-19 and a nine-game stint with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the 2015-16 season.