The Edmonton Oilers continue to trim their pre-season roster as the start of the regular season nears. Today, they placed two veteran players on waivers with the purpose of sending them down to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL, Sam Gagner and Brandon Manning, along with William Lagesson being assigned directly to the Condors.
Gagner and Manning to waivers.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) September 30, 2019
William Lagesson has been assigned to #Condorstown by Edmonton.
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) September 30, 2019
These moves surely must be viewed as a result of preseason play by both players, and being passed on the depth chart by younger, quicker players like Tomas Jurco and Joakim Nygard, but there is also a financial incentive here. The two players carry a combined $5.4mil cap hit but the team will save only $1,075,00 million on each in the minors, aiding a roster that is already tight to the cap.
The Oilers acquired Gagner on February 16th last season from the Vancouver Canucks on exchange for Ryan Spooner. The second go-around for Gagner was embraced widely by many fans as he got off to good start, scoring two goals in his first four games back with the Oilers, and finished the season with 5 goals and 5 assists in 25 games. It seemed that Gagner did struggle with the speed of the game at times last season, and the $3.15mil cap hit likely just became too pricey for Ken Holland to justify earmarking for a bottom six player who might not be able to find his way into the lineup every game.
Manning’s arrival wasn’t quite as celebrated when he and Robin Norell arrived in Edmonton from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Drake Caggiula and Jason Garrison. It was seen as a last ditch effort by former General Manager Peter Chiarelli to add some defensive depth to the lineup, but depleted the little bit of secondary scoring that the team had with The Drake. Manning of course too was notorious in Edmonton even before the trade as he was involved in the end-boards collision that ended Connor McDavid’s rookie season after 45 games.
Lagesson was considered to be in the running to remain with the big club as the 7th defensemen, so his assignment comes as a bit of surprise to some as this leaves only six defensemen on the main roster.
There will surely be more moves ahead before the puck officially drops to start the regular season on Wednesday against the Canucks as there are still 15 forwards on the roster. So there may be some more waiver action for a couple of players who were hoping to crack the bottom six and earn an NHL job.