June 29 2014 08:16PM
Sam Gagner is no longer a member of the Edmonton Oilers. Gagner was dealt to Tampa Bay for Teddy Purcell. ***Update. Tampa just traded him to Arizona.**
Gagner has two years left on a deal that pays him $4.8 million/year.
Purcell has two years left on his $4.5 million/year cap hit.
Gagner has played 481 games and scored 101-194-295.
Purcell has played 401 games and tallied 75-153-228.
Purcell is four years older, however, he has produced 51 and 65 point seasons.
Craig MacTavish had mentioned numerous times over the past few weeks that the Oilers planned on using Gagner on the wing next season, so trading him for a winger suggests they'd didn't want to wait and see how Gagner would adapt moving to the wing.
Purcell has a bigger frame, but don't expect him to be play with an edge. He is not a physical player, but he is much better defensively than Gagner.
Purcell was 2nd best on the Lightning last season with a 53% CF, but I don't see him as a guy who will face the tough minutes on a nightly basis.
To me this trade signifies the Oilers didn't want to wait and see if Gagner could take the next step in his development.
It is an interesting trade from Tampa Bay's perspective. They add a younger player, but Gagner hasn't produced more recently and they don't need him to play centre. Purcell is a big body and better possession player, so part of me wonders if they make another move. They could buy out Gagner at 1/3 of his contract if they wanted to. It looks like they need to clear some cap space.
***EDIT...Turns out they did make another move. They just traded Gagner and BJ Crombeen to the Arizona Coyotes for a draft pick according to Bob McKenzie***
Regardless of what the Lightning do, the Oilers have added an older player, who is a better possession player, but don't expect him to me more than a complementary player in Edmonton. That is fine, because teams need solid complementary players to win, but people shouldn't expect Purcell to be an offensive leader.
I always enjoyed dealing with Gagner. The past few seasons weren't easy for him. He was aware of how he was perceived by some fans, and he understood their disappointment. Gagner was always a professional and he never hid from the media, unlike some other players.
I have a lot of respect for Gagner, and I hope a change of address gives his career a jumpstart. While he didn't produce as much as he or the fans wanted, he always cared. The losing bothered him, and this year was the more frustrating of his career.
Good luck Sam.
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