Are the LA Kings still interested in Sam Gagner? Could the Oilers consider shipping him elsewhere? Read on for the latest.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Lisa Dillman reports it now appears doubt the Kings will continue their pursuit of Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner when the Olympic trade freeze is lifted on February 23.
SI.COM: Allan Muir believes this could provide an opportunity for the Nashville Predators to acquire Gagner, noting they’ve had previous interest in the 24-year-old. He notes Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis played with Taylor Hall during their OHL days with the Windsor Spitfires, but believes the Oilers would want a more defensively responsible blueliner in return. Muir suggests prospects
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples notes Gagner’s trade value is low because he’s been hurt this season and failed to develop defensively, but believes he still have value for teams seeking second-line depth.
EDMONTON SUN: Robert Tychkowski believes it could be better for Gagner if he were dealt to a team where he’d be a better fit. Tychkowski also believes the best time for the Oilers to swing a blockbuster deal is during the summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sticking point in shopping him now is teams could be asking the Oilers to pick up part of his salary. The Predators, for example, would probably love to land Gagner, but not at $4.8 million per season through 2015-16. If the Oilers want to move him by the deadline, it could take absorbing part of Gagner’s contract.
It might even be best to move Gagner during the summer, when teams will have more cap space and willingness to take on his salary. The problem, of course, is Gagner has a no-trade clause which goes into effect on July 1, giving him full control over potential destinations (provided he’s willing to waive it) and limiting where the Oilers can send him. I expect the Oilers will keep trying to move him by the trade deadline. Failing that, they’ll aggressively shop him leading up to the June draft.