Sam Gagner wants to play another year in the NHL

Edmonton Oilers Sam Gagner
Photo credit:Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
17 days ago
Many thought that the 2023-24 season would be the swan song for Sam Gagner’s NHL career.
But it turns out that might not be the case.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who is in Edmonton for the Oilers Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Stars, caught up with Gagner and the pair spoke about his future in the NHL. On Wednesday’s edition of the 32 Thoughts podcast, Friedman detailed how Gagner is looking to play another season in the league.
“I saw him today in the room and just asked him how he was doing. He had a big smile, he was working up a sweat. He told me he wants to play again next year, and he does not want to retire. He wants to play. He is determined to play. Gagner will be 35 in August and if you take a look at his game total, he’s up over 1000. Some guys, when they get to 1000, they’re like ‘Ok, I hit that number, I’m good. He’s not like that. He wants to play. He said ‘Look, I still love hockey.’ He said his wife is still understanding if you want to keep going then you can keep going.”
Drafted by the Oilers sixth overall in the 2007 draft, the veteran of 1043 games returned to Edmonton coming off off-season hip surgery. He worked his way back slowly, joining the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors in late October for three games, where he looked spry as ever scoring a goal and five points.
He then joined the Oilers, appearing in 28 games over the year and scoring five goals and 10 points. Ahead of the NHL’s Trade Deadline, he found himself in and out of the lineup, eventually getting assigned to the Condors for salary cap management purposes. He’d appear in 15 games in the American League over the course of the season, scoring three goals and nine points.
Despite 10 of his 17 years in the NHL coming in Edmonton, Gagner’s also had a plethora of stops along the way, including ones with the Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets.
Gagner is a pending unrestricted free agent this summer. He is coming off a deal that paid him $775,000, the league minimum.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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