(Photo credit: Amy Irvin, 38 Photography)
Sam Gagner was a win for the Flyers because he brought a third (or fourth) round pick and allowed the Flyers to rid themselves of Nick Grossmann and the contract of Chris Pronger. Now, as a pending unrestricted free agent, the time has come for the Flyers to look to flip Sam Gagner at the trade deadline.
Gagner’s play (7 points in 28 games) has not been what was expected of him. Some of that was due to injuries catching up with him as the oft-injured Gagner missed time and eventually was sent to the Phantoms to find his game. But the other part, he’s been used oddly, with 42.4% O-zone starts and frequently found himself on a line with RJ Umberger. He’s a far cry from the consistent 40-45 point player he was prior to coming to Philadelphia but injuries and playing with Umberger will do that. However, in a small sample, the trio of Gagner-Couturier-Raffl was a very effective line.
One name being thrown around this trade deadline is Mikkel Boedker, a former teammate of Gagner with the Coyotes.
Via Own the Puck
Boedker is a better scorer, but Sam Gagner drives possession at a much better pace.
Gagner’s powerplay ability is probably his biggest advantage right now. A team looking to get some depth scoring might be willing to entertain bringing him in for the playoffs. With money already retained by Tampa, Gagner’s cheaper than his full hit and that helps too. Ottawa recently went all in on a playoff race and might be willing to add Gagner if other options like Jonathan Drouin fall through.
Vincent Lecavalier’s move to the Kings proves that reputation alone can be enough for a trade. And given Gagner’s true rental nature, asking for a second round pick that could become a first if his team hits the Finals isn’t out of the question.
As for replacing him, moving Gagner out gives the Flyers the rest of the season to determine what they have in Jordan Weal and whether or not Weal should be a part of the team moving forward. For Gagner, he gets a shot to earn his next contract and hopefully get a playoff run out of it.