Oilers trade Sam Gagner to Lightning for Teddy Purcell

Jun 29, 9:08 PM

In the words of commissioner Gary Bettman: "We have a trade to announce."

The Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning made a deal Sunday night: 

Gagner, a center who'll turn 25 in August, is under contract through 2015-16 at a cap hit of $4.8 million. He scored 10 goals and added 27 assists in 67 games last year. He has 295 points in 481 career games, all with the Oilers. He may move to the wing in Tampa. 

Purcell, a winger who'll turn 29 in September, scored 12 goals and added 30 assists in 81 games last year with Tampa Bay. He has 228 points in 401 career games, and is under contract through 2015-16 at a $4.5-million cap hit. 

"But what about the possession stats?" we hear you asking. Here you go: 

Gagner's Corsi-for percentage was 44.2 percent last year, but keep in mind that he did play for the Oilers, one of the worst possession teams in the league last year, better than only the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres. 

Reports were flying around on Twitter shortly after the deal was announced that Gagner would be bought out by the Lightning, but we'll let NHL.com's Dan Rosen clear that up for us: 

Thanks, Dan. 

Aug 30, 6:58 PM

Gagner on fresh start with Coyotes: 'The last couple years in Edmonton haven't been great'

Aug 30, 6:58 PM

In seven NHL seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, Sam Gagner had his most successful year in his first as the youngest player in the NHL during the 2007-08 season, scoring 49 points. That slump is what led the Oilers to deal Gagner to the Arizona Coyotes in a three-team trade.

"Obviously the last couple years in Edmonton haven't been great, so I'm excited for a fresh start," Gagner told NHL.com.

"I think [their system] really fits well, and it's just a matter of making the most of it," he concluded when speaking of the Coyotes' two-way game.

"It's always a calculated risk," head coach Dave Tippett said. "We hope the change of scenery will do Sam good."

Feature photo courtesy of Jerome Miron / USA TODAY Sports

Jul 25, 8:47 PM

Coyotes' Tippett on Sam Gagner: 'We're hoping a change of scenery will do him good'

Jul 25, 8:47 PM

Sam Gagner may be better served by a jolt to his ego, but the Arizona Coyotes are hoping a new city will suffice in steadying his reclamation project. 

Head coach Dave Tippett believes that despite being discarded twice within a matter of hours last month, the Coyotes were left with a talent. 

"He's obviously a skilled player. He had a tough year, a couple of tough years, and we're hoping a change of scenery will do him good," Tippett told the Coyotes website

"He's got to come in and hopefully will establish himself as a real good NHL player, to use his skills to the best of his ability and play a real tight-checking game."

The 25-year-old will be playing for his sixth different NHL coach this season, but an entirely different one in Tippett. If he can acclimate to Arizona's check-first style, Gagner may be able to re-discover his scoring touch - much like the diminutive Ray Whitney did after being let go by the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Jul 3, 8:04 PM

Gagner on trade to Coyotes: 'I'm excited to prove some people wrong next year'

Jul 3, 8:04 PM

Sam Gagner is only 24-years-old but is an NHL veteran with seven years experience under his belt. He played a full schedule from the age of 18 after being drafted by the Edmonton Oilers sixth overall in 2007.

His name was on the trading block for many seasons, and Craig MacTavish pulled the trigger sending him to Tampa Bay. He was then flipped to the Arizona Coyotes by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

He was part of a salary dump and that didn't sit well with Gagner, who knows he's a better player than that.

"It’s about going out there and proving it on a consistent basis. I’m excited to prove some people wrong next year, and I feel like I have a great opportunity to do that in Phoenix and it should be a lot of fun."

Coyotes general manager Don Maloney was happy to acquire a forward that hasn't hit his peak yet.

"We got him for his offensive instincts and creativity. Players can learn to play better defense. It's very difficult to learn to be more intelligent and more creative."

Feature photo courtesy of Tom Szczerboowski / US PRESSWIRE

Jun 30, 1:59 PM

Lightning GM Yzerman on Gagner trades: 'It gives us some options'

Jun 30, 1:59 PM

Like an archetypal Lothario, Steve Yzerman is the master of the three-way.

The Lightning general manager pulled off a three-way deal on Sunday night that baffled the hockey world, acquiring Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner in exchange for Teddy Purcell, then short-selling the skilled forward to the Phoenix Coyotes (while retaining a third of his salary) in exchange for a late round draft pick. In the process, Yzerman dumped the one-way contract of enforcer B.J. Crombeen. 

So what angle was Yzerman playing at? To hear him tell it, the major asset he acquired on Sunday night wasn't the late round draft pick, it was flexibility under the upper limit of the NHL's salary cap.

"It gives us some options," Yzerman told ESPN's Pierre LeBrun on Monday. "Really, prior to yesterday, other than trying to sign a backup goaltender, we really weren’t in a position to do anything at all. And we may end up doing nothing [Tuesday] other than signing a backup goaltender, but we’d like to explore [the free-agent market].

"We’d like to get potentially a center or maybe a winger," continued Yzerman. "And then, we have seven defensemen signed and we’d like to carry eight. Depending on fit and contract, whether it’s a really expensive guy or a low-end one-way, we’ll try to add one more defenseman."

Yzerman also indicated that the club's preference was to find a right-handed shooting blue-liner, which seems sensible with Sami Salo headed to free agency. 

Whether the Lightning target Matt Niskanen, or former Lightning great Dan Boyle, or top unrestricted free agent Paul Stastny - the decks are now cleared for the Lightning to pursue a top of the roster piece on the open market. Purcell and Gagner are useful players, but they're not first liners. 

It sure seems like Yzerman is looking to add something major, and to do that, he needed cap space and cost certainty. This is also possibly why, in contrast with his colleagues, Yzerman spent the month of June locking up restricted free agents like Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn.

At the risk of mixing metaphors: it's always risky to jump off the cliff and look to make a splash, but that risk can be mitigated somewhat if you've got your house in order first.

Feature photo courtesy of Bill Streicher / USA TODAY Sports

Jun 30, 12:54 AM

Gagner traded from Oilers to Lightning to Coyotes: 'It's been a roller coaster of emotions'

Jun 30, 12:54 AM

The Arizona Coyotes announced the acquisition of Sam Gagner and B.J. Crombeen on Sunday night, the club sending a 2015 sixth-round pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for the forwards. 

Sunday was the culmination of months - years, even - of trade rumors focusing on Gagner's name, and, in the end, he was traded twice in a matter of hours: from the Edmonton Oilers to the Lightning for Teddy Purcell, and then to Arizona. Gagner has a no-movement clause that would have kicked in on July 1. 

"It's been a roller coaster of emotions," the 24-year-old said. "I'm certainly excited to prove some people wrong this year," he added

Gagner said that while he expected to eventually be dealt from Edmonton, he didn't expect to be traded twice in one day. 

Coyotes general manager Don Maloney is excited about what Gagner brings to the club:

We are very pleased to acquire a talented, young center like Sam Gagner. He has the intelligence, character and skill set we were looking for and we believe he has further growth in his game. We look forward to welcoming Sam to Arizona.

The Coyotes had a hole in the middle of their lineup after they bought out center Mike Ribeiro, and talks of Gagner potentially moving to the wing after he was acquired by the Lightning will now likely be put to rest.

Regardless of what you think about Gagner's game, and his contract (he's on the books through 2015-16 at $4.8 million), the Coyotes acquired a soon-to-be 25-year-old center with 481 games under his belt, and who averages 0.61 points-per-game, for a sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft. That's some good general managing. 

Maloney said about Crombeen: 

B.J. is a great fit for us. He is a big, strong, character player who will be a leader on the ice and in our locker room.

Check out the posts below for more on what turned out to be a three-team trade between the Coyotes, Lightning, and Oilers. Edmonton ended up with Purcell, the Lightning with a sixth-round pick in 2015 (they also reportedly retained a third of Gagner's salary), and the Coyotes with Gagner and Crombeen. 

Feature photo courtesy of Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 29, 10:45 PM

Report: Lightning trade Gagner, Crombeen to Coyotes for 2015 6th-round draft pick

Jun 29, 10:45 PM

What began as a simple one-for-one trade ballooned into a three-team, multi-stage deal revolving around Sam Gagner on Sunday.

Gagner was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Teddy Purcell. A few hours later, Gagner was on his way to the Arizona Coyotes along with B.J. Crombeen in exchange for a draft pick.

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reports the draft pick is a sixth-rounder in 2015, which appears to confirm the notion that this was really an elaborate salary dump by the Lightning, who are desperate to clear cap space. Gagner and Crombeen carry a combined cap hit just shy of $6 million, so if clearing salary is what Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman set out to do, mission accomplished.

The Lightning will reportedly retain salary in the deal: 

Jun 29, 10:23 PM

Report: Lightning trade Sam Gagner to Coyotes

Jun 29, 10:23 PM

That didn't take long.

Hours after being dealt from the Edmonton Oilers to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sam Gagner is now apparently a member of the Arizona Coyotes.

No word yet on the return from the trade, but Tampa Bay fans should not expect much back in the way of roster players since this has the look of a salary dump.

Feature photo courtesy of Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 29, 10:21 PM

Report: Sam Gagner could be moved again after trade to Lightning

Jun 29, 10:21 PM

Sam Gagner's tenure with the Tampa Bay Lightning could be short-lived.

The Lightning already had at least three centers penciled into their lineup before Gagner's arrival, leading to speculation he could be traded again or - according to TSN inside Bob McKenzie - bought out.

McKenzie adds that the Arizona Coyotes are apparently interested in Gagner's services after buying out Mike Ribeiro.