After finishing last season with the Philadelphia Flyers, free agent Sam Gagner is headed to his fifth NHL team while only 25. The center signed a one-year/$650,000 deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gagner has also been with the Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Arizona Coyotes during his nine seasons in the league.
— ColumbusBlueJackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) August 1, 2016
Sam Gagner Signs With Columbus Blue Jackets
Sam Gagner spent the 2015-2016 with the Philadelphia Flyers after a draft day trade sent him from the Coyotes. It began as a rocky season for Gagner. He was placed on waivers and spent time with the team’s minor league affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Prior to the move, he only scored two goals and three assists in 18 games with the Flyers. The move seemed to energize him however, as he came back up to the NHL and found his groove. While the points weren’t always there, Gagner played with more consistency as he was a part of 34 out of the last 36 games, as well as all six postseason games.
“I felt like the first half of the year was frustrating, but when I got the opportunity towards the second half, I felt like I played well,” he said. “I feel like I fit the system well here. Obviously I wanted to produce a little more and I feel like I can.”
Gagner, along with general manager Ron Hextall, were very uncertain at the end of the season about his status with the team. So it is not a surprise that Gagner has moved on.
The Edmonton Years
Sam Gagner was drafted in the first round, sixth overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2007 NHL Draft. Gagner saw his first action in the NHL during the 2007-2008 season, the youngest player in the league. He tallied 49 points in 79 games with the Oilers. He participated in the 2008 NHL YoungStars game and named Rookie of the Month in February of that season. He also established an Oilers team record for the longest assist streak by a rookie with nine assists over eight straight games.
Gagner tied a franchise record during the 2011-2012 when he scored four goals and four assists in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. The eight points tied a team record, set by Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey. Two days later he set an Oilers record with 11 consecutive points, a record previously held by Gretzky.
Gagner Traded Within Hour from Lightning to Coyotes
Gagner was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the summer of 2014. The Lightning then traded him to the Coyotes an hour later. As a natural center, then coach Dave Tippett experimented with him at the right wing during 2014-2015 training camp. The move worked as Gagner tallied 15 goals and 26 points during the season, developing chemistry with center Martin Hanzal.
Controversy struck, however, when general manager Don Maloney commented on Gagner playing center in the National Hockey League. Gagner later mentioned that the move from center to the ring wing gave him a chance to focus more on his game and creating chances.
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) June 28, 2015
He would be moved to Philadelphia shortly thereafter.