NHL Rumors – March 23, 2012.

Could Sam Gagner become trade bait this summer? Is oft-injured Sabre Jochen Hecht considering retirement?


Gagner's future with Oilers remains murky.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis wonders if Sam Gagner would still be with the Oilers if he hadn’t had an eight-point game against Chicago on February 2, noting Gagner has had 14 points in 22 games since, pointing out he would’ve been on pace for 42 points in 66 games if he hadn’t had that big game. Willis bears Gagner no malice, but wonders if he still has a future with the Oilers, or becomes a trade chip this summer for a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Willis noted, Gagner is a restricted free agent this summer, and the cost of re-signing him could be a factor in whether or not he remains an Oiler. Gagner is a consistent 40-point forward, and is only 22, but after five seasons, he’s yet to show if he’s finally ready for that offensive breakout that’s been expected of him for some time.

BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently reported oft-injured Sabres forward Jochen Hecht, who’ll be a UFA this summer, doesn’t feel as though he’s done and isn’t considering retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately for Hecht, that decision could be made for him, at least as far as his NHL career is concerned, as his injury history could significantly dampen interest in him this summer. I doubt the Sabres will re-sign him.


  1. Jochen Hecht – I agree with Lyle’s assessment. I can’t think of an NHL team that would sign him right now, given his drop off in production and injury history. If he still think he has some gas in the tank, there are plenty of European teams that would give him a deal.

    Sam Gagner – I’m convinced there were several lines in the water regarding Gagner until he potted the 8 point game. At that point, Tambellini’s hands were tied as he couldn’t possibly trade the player that just tied Gretzky’s single game point record. He’ll be shopped at the draft with the Oil’s 1st rounder in an effort to snag a top-flight defenseman or a bona fide starting goalie to replace Khabby.

    No real need for the Oilers to trade Gangne hes the perfect 2 nd line center still ver young and one of the veterans on the team at the ripe old age of 22 years old. This year was a great break out year barring some injuries. Centers are a rare bread in the league and that alone is a darn good reason not to trade him …who is going to take his spot ….look to the Oilers to move out Horcoff Omark and shop Paajarvi …they have money to spend so a trade is not the only option for this team ….to trade a true second line center for a d man maybe a step backwords especially if its a 2-3 d man that they can pick up via waivers free agency or a minor trades …plus this draft has 12 or more highly touted defenceman in the top 30 players in Central scouting maybe this is the year the Oilers take a defenseman in the draft …..look to Rienhart Griffin from Vancouver …western boys…. 6″4″ 210 pounds is the biggest d man in the top 10 in central scouting…. also Ryan Murray from Regina at 6 foot 200 pounds is touted 3rd or 4th overall !

    Having season tickets to the Sabres I get to see a lot of teams roll through town …and the Sabres were riddles with injuries this year especially in the tail spin they endured through the middle of the season …..I think they will look to drop some money in areas and cut some fat as the new ownewrship honeymoon is over and its down to business now …Pugula spent $10 million on redesigning the dresing room alone !!!! Must be nice !!!
    Buffalo has had some players in the system now for some time and its time to change the culture and faces in the dresing room ..its stale and the fans want to see it ..however the sabres fans are almost as loyale to the players to a fault as the Leaf fans are …but its time for Buffalo to move on and forward ..they will be bold this off season in pursuit of UFAs and some serious trade options ..they want a change and they need to surround Cody Hodgson with some younger talent who can skate and a little more size, if your a Sabre prospect in the minor system …….take note …..and work your ass off this summer because you might have a shot come October ….Luke Adam is a bright spot and so is Foligno …Ville Leino is god awful !!!
    When healthy this squad works together …but due to a small collapse this year change is on the way !

  3. I don’t understand why the Edmonton media is so quick to trade Gagne. I’ve been hearing his name in the rumour mill for a couple of years now and it makes little sense. He’s a good second liner, what’s wrong with that? I think people were expecting more after his rookie campaign. Whatever, trade him…don’t trade him, I’d have him on my second line anyday.

  4. this will be the telling draft for the oilers. the moron,tambellini, will have a chance to get it right when he takes a stud defenseman. we have plenty of talent up front if the other idiot,renney, would stop tinkering with the lines. jext year the lines should be a little like this in my opinion. hall-rnh-eberle, omark-gagner-hemsky followed by jones-lander-paajarvi and then smyth-belanger-eager ?.itme to jettison khabibulin,horcoff and hordichuk.grab reinhart on defense or dumba,let dubnyk become the number one get harding or bernier during the off-season. and before yu know it the oilers will be back in the playoffs. if those two idiots don’t mess it up.

  5. I’ll take Gagner on the habs. The kids 22 putting up 40 pts on a team that’s kinda poorly run. Give this guy some stability and leadership and he could be a 55-60pt guy. However, if he salary demands are way to high (3.5+) then you trade him. He hasn’t earned that money yet. Sign a one year at 3 mill and if he throws up 55 pts then he can he can have his 4 mill.

  6. Lyle
    Do you know what is going on with Ducks Justin Schultz ? In February heard that Ducks could hardly wait until Wisconsin’s season was over to sign him and get a look see before season ended. Well their season ended a couple of weeks ago and nothing happened, I sure hope Murray didn’t screw this one up like so many others he has.

  7. @alfordducks

    Good day…it is being widely repoted here in Ontario that Shultz is mostlikely going to UFA status (99%) at this point …..its very intertesting as Shultz is the ex roommate of Jake Gardner and was an ORIGINAL draft pick by Brian Burke …it was also reported that Shultz was the key player that Burke had asked for first in the Beauchemin deal but Murray refused outright, hence Jake Gardner a leaf !
    The scouts say this kid is 1AA plus and one of the best defenseman not in the NHL and is prime to make his debut and play a significant role on any team!

    It is being said that Burke is trying desperately to get this kid in a Blue & White uniform

    Obviously Murray has something up his sleave to let this kid go thats for sure!

  8. Chris & Tom, easier said then done getting rid of Horcoff. Who would take on that contract?
    I agree they should take a Dman in the draft, but smart GM’s draft defenseman at the beggining stage of a rebuild…they take longer to develope. I can see Edmonton picking up Dumba, kid can hit and put up points. If they were really smart, they’d trade down to get him, getting a defenseman in the package. I try really hard not to make my posts about the Leafs when it’s not on topic, but someone suggested Burke swapping spots with Tambellini the other day and it made sense to me. Edmonton’s first (assuming it’s top 3-4) to the Leafs for Toronto’s first (assuming it’s top 5-6) and a defenceman (say Gunner or Franson) Edmonton takes Dumba, Leafs take Galchenyuck) Lot of if’s…depending on draft position, but that way Edmonton gets a young up and coming defenceman with a few years under his belt, and a top defensive prospect. Leafs get a great, big bodied center who has soft hands and can grind it out in the corners…win win.

  9. Chris
    Thanks, I can tell you that after watching Murray the past few years, all he has up his sleeve is Air.
    All the Ducks do is regress every year with this guy running the show

  10. @DurtMchurt

    I really hope that it does not go that way !!!

    Iam very keen on Burke taking Radek Faksa….I would be very dissappointed AGAIN …if they dont take this guy!!

    I truly hope the Leafs dont move Gunnarson probably the best and most cinsitant deman they have !

    I still think Oilers get Rienhart Griffin.

    PS you just opened up a can leaf worms!!! LOL

    I also think Grigerenko goes first overall as well …his size is the determining factor!

  11. @allforducks- totally agree regarding Murray. He has run our team into irrelevance and has refused to rebild. his big idea of rebuilding will be to trade Getzlaf to the leafs for a few bags of pucks. Watch it hapen.

    The leafs have a very confusing offeseason ahead. Do they blow it up and rebuild, or do they push for the playoffs? My opinion: (this is purely speculation, but to me it makes sense in theory)

    1) Trade some players to a team with a #6-#12 draft choice for their first pick. Teams like Tampa, Islanders, Minnesota, Anaheim, will be looking to add players for right now as opposed to draft and wait- again!. Can you trade Kulemin or MacArthur+prospect or two for a 1st pick? Probably.

    2) Use this pick and combine with Franson+ something else to Edmonton for the #2 pick.
    (food for thought: Does Phaneuf to Edm for their pick make a deal happen? Perhaps…)

    3) Use their own #1 pick (#5-6) and trade with Columbus for their 1st pick. For example: Kulemin or MacArthur+prospect+1st pick to CBJ for #1 pick+3rd rd pick (or something to that efect). Columbus doesnt have to draft a Russian, they still pick early and get a roster player and a prospect.

    4) DRAFT Yakupov and Grigorenko and don’t mess aorund.

    5) Whatever prospects you are giving away, none of them can be Kadri or Colborne in these deals. You need to save those higher potential players for other possible deals.

    I’d much rather give up roster players and prospects for the top players in this draft than I would for an older, established player like Nash.

    Purely speculation on my part, but I believe this is a realistic possibility given the leafs have a high pick, players they can combine and trade for value. Burke has done it before when he drafted the Sedins and he is always active and ready to deal at the draft.
    In the short term it makes the leafs worse, but at least they can get 2 building blocks for the future (without giving up Kessel and Lupul who you can trade at a later point in time if the rigt deal comes up).

    The only “untouchable” is Jake Gardiner. Sure, if you can gt his buddy Shultz for a song and dance, no harm no foul in doing so.

  12. Chris, I agree with you on the Sabres and due to injuries – management’s eyes were opened. Hodgson and Sulzer were great additions and we didn’t lose anything at all by trading away Kassian and Grags. I really like the infusion of new blood into our lineup – Fogilino, Tropp, McNabb and Turnball. While I really like Hecht and Boyes (I think they are playmakers) it is time for Hecht to retire for health reasons and Boyes to move on. Although I have not problem resigning him at 20% of his current salary. With the trade of Gaustad and the addition of the 1st round pick – we now have 2 1st rounders and 2 2nd rounders which will make a trade of one of our core that much more do-able – packaging Stafford/Roy with a 1st rounder might get you someone like Brown, Getzlaf or Ryan. Tyler Ennis will be due a raise and management needs to resign him. Kaleta – I can see Lindy changing his style of play to a Mike Grier type of player – he just has a tendency to get hurt and get baited into taking some “stupid” penalties. Since the New Year – the team has given us a vision of what the season should have been and some hope that they may just make the playoffs – a notion that seemed impossible around the holidays. Tonight will be a true measure against the Rangers – should be a good game.

  13. @Nikk

    Burke is screwed..big time !

    He will have to fork out almost 20 million in buyots if he can not get rid of Lombardi Connolly and Komisrek …that will not go over well with new owenrship …if he doesnt do this there is now way he can add a top player as a top player contract will not fit especially if he does other upgrades that bring in a little more money for better players ….hes screwed my friend!

  14. Gagner has the potential to be a 70 point player in the NHL, just needs the extra few minutes of ice time and some tiome on the PP. But in regards to what his production has been, what more could you ask for out of your second line centre, other than maybe a bit more consistency.
    Horcoff will be nearly impossible to move with his cap hit, but I think it’s his presence in the locker room which makes him most valuable. He has been a great mentor to the young trio and once EDM adds some D and a true goalie (dont think Dubnyk is the answer) they will be a serious contender.

    IMO, Hecht could prove to be valuable to a team making a playoff push next year. I view him as an asset on the 4th line as a grinder with some skill. He certainly isn’t the player he once was, but could prove to of value when it matter most. As an aside, wouldn’t it be pretty amazing if the Sabres made the playoffs this year!!?? I lke the make-up of this team and Foligno is showing why Kassian was expendable.

    @ Durt..

    Love the Galchenyuk suggestion, too bad hes been hurt this year, him and Yakupov playing together would have raked.

  15. @NikK you opened the Leaf can of worms so here goes.

    I think Toronto going with draft picks is a mistake based on their past. There seems to be to much pressure on the newly drafted player being touted as the next Sundin, Gilmore or Clark. The Leafs need good, strong, chippy players that have 1 or 2 years of NHL experience and can take the heat like the Kessel deal and the Sundin deal many years ago. I’d trade this years 4th/5th over all to get that player along with offering up just about anyone on the current roster except for Gardiner, Lupul and some of our defence.

  16. @Chris
    Looks like the cap is going norht of $70.0M so Leafs have some breathing room

  17. Tired of 3 things In regards to the Oilers. 1 Sam Gagner is too small for anything but first line centre (which hell never be). 2 after one fantastic game of 8pts all of a sudden he’s having a breakout season 3. People suggesting all our issues will be solved by drafting a top defensemen. Like instantly he’ll become a Pronger like all star defenseman and save our franchise. Usually defensemen hit their prime in their late 20’s. I’ll take another top centre man over an unknown defenseman. Its like choosing between Pittsburgh and Nashville. I know which one id take.

  18. @crazyfists

    Pleasae dont take this the wrong way ….Yakupov is a great talent in JUNIOR …!!

    Put this guy 5″10 180 pounds as a Franchise player in cloumbus with no suporting players and he gets eaten alive …he is the wrong player this year to go first I M O regardles of what Central Scouting says …just a better fit on a more established team wher he can be a complimentary player …which gives more reason to ttade the number one pick this year ! Once again I M O ….
    Even if I were the Leafs with the present team and we had the first I would not take this guy …he is not what teams are looking for ..YES talent wise …but he with get wiped away by the size in the league next year and would suprise me if he starts the season !

  19. Chris, C’mon…Tambellini drafting a Calgary native, you-know-who drafting an American power forward, who happens to have Belarussian roots…it writes itself! Gotta love draft season, the only consulation for being a perennial loser.

  20. @ beergoggles …funny how the can got open today !
    its just the hot button topic all the time ..its just the way it is !

    Lombardi is the only player that can be moved if they need to free up money, as Connolly and Komisarek have no movement clauses…so if there are no takers for those guys Burke has to buy them out …if either one of those guys is on the roster next year purely because of money …that would be Burkes biggest mistake they are taking up a roster spot that deserves to go to youth and BETTER players ! STUPID!

    I really dont see what the knock is on Kadri …I mean he would have not played any worse than 3 /4s of the Leaf team this season and the experience this year would put him ahead one year with the rest of the guys in the room …just play him and give him a full year in the league and let hime work through it …he is no worse off than that terrible Connolly….. invisble man !!!

    Hamilton & Kadri called up on emergency basis …Frattin lower body Macarthur upper body …YEAH SURE!

  21. @ Durtmchurt

    Just saying …no crystal ball …would be my choice and thats all I have to go on !
    Lost Tambellinis phone number ……Edmonton is in Alberta too !

  22. @chris

    his name is GRIFFIN REINHART, get it right. don’t just copy and paste from a site.

    and yes, the oilers should choose him in the draft.

    why does everyone keep saying the oilers will draft second? the habs are fallling apart, the oilers are playing good hockey under a coach with no contract and doesn’t seem to give a shit anymore. my hope is the oilers play themselves out of the top 3..unless they win the lottery. than draft murray or trade it to a pathetic and desperate team like the leafs for one of their young d-men and 1st rndr

  23. How about San Jose not showing up against LA KIngs for the battel of 8th place the other night …..as I said could be another Wilson fired in 2012.

    They just dont have it anymore fair to say they could be the odd team out this year …Lyle posted last week about Marleau and Thronton and if there would be interest …if there is they should seriously look at going down that road ..but who has 7 million to spend on those guys at this point and who has any good youth they would want to give up …tough times…..!!

    Even with LA winners of 4 in the last 5 they are on the outs looking in Colorado has held well but its a slippery slope with them ..they could cave if any team does.

  24. “dan o mite

    what are you talking about ….yeah I know his name ive been talking about this kid all week !

  25. @Chris. LA has actually won 6 straight and are first in the pacific.

  26. this site is equipped with a Norton anti copy and paste security alert !

  27. ” Bickelton wigglesworth

    Thanks for the update I had yet to go over last nights turnover …..had a TSN app open to an earelier date …


  28. Bickelton wiggelseworth

    Was trying to move on from the leaf talk ..help out a bit …change subject for all posters …put the worms back in the can ! LOL

  29. @ Chris…
    You make some good point on Yakupov, although from everything I;ve read and the little I have seen. Yakupov is supposed to be 1A in rankings with 1B quite a ways behind him. I’m a big Grigorenko fan as well, but I still feel CLB needs to draft Yakupov if they do in fact decide to keep this pick. I do also think that Yakupov doesn’t fit the mold of Russian player who plays in the KHL for a couple years. He wants to play in the NHL with the best so i believe we will see him in the NHL next year. Also, he may be small in stature, but he’s no Nathan Gerbe. Yakupov has franchise player written all over him IMO…

    I have to agree with you as well about Faksa. He’s a solid player and I think he would be a nice fit the Leafs as he has size, but some serious skill to go along with it.

  30. @ NikK

    Grerat scenario up top about the Leafs and swapping draft picks and sorts ….glad I didnt write that youd roast me ! LOL

    But you have some good ideas …the Phaneauf deal is interesting ….and Kulimen and Macrthur are expendable thats for sure …as I hate to say every Leaf is except possibly Gardner….???

    There really is no choice but to try and move out some players and do the best to get some high youth draft picks ….its such a tough call on how Burke procedes …..I think if he misses out on the player he truly wants he goes to plan ….F …for FAILURE ….lol ….WOW could they have used those 3-4 first rounders we missed at trade deadline now thats for sure …its the most messed up situation Ive seen in this town on this team …they are just all over the place and killing there youth at the same time …dont even know where to start anymore!

  31. @ Beer Goggles

    Toronto has been screwed with draft picks before, but never a #1 and #2.
    This is the only year since the Sedin draft that the #1-2 picks are somewhat available.
    It would be a huge mistake for the Leafs, Hurricanes, Candiens to try not to get both of them.
    I know what you mean about a lack of patience among the fans in Toronto, but if they want an injection of high-end young talent, this is the best way to acquire them.

    I doubt any of what i said will happen, I just feel it is the best course of action for the TML.

    @ chris

    I see your point about the leafs drafting a big, tough defenseman… but look at how the media has crucified Luke Schenn…. there is no patience for young defenseman… plus they already have several puck movers in the minors (Blacker, Percy). I really think the Leafs need to draft a forward (depending on how the picks shake-out).

  32. @ Chris

    What i posted is “creative” to say the least… but I think it can still be done. I wouldn’t put it past Burke to make that kind of thing happen, but I don’t believe that this is his objective.
    What he will do is trade his pick for a guy like Steve Ott and completely burn the opportunity to add another impact player for the future.

    But , I dont agree that they should have shipped out Grabovksi and Schenn for 1st rounders respectively. Those players have more value than one pick (esspecially given the pick they were offered were not high picks).

    To change the subject:
    I don’t think that the Oil should trade Gagner. They are going to need a 2nd line centre to play on a nightly baisis. assuming RNH can turn into the offensive stud we all think he can become, then gagner is a good #2, and they need a #3 with a lot of size and strength. Then they will be looking pretty good. However, their hopes rest in their abiity to bring in a consistent defensive corps (build around Smid and Whitney) and get a #1 goalie. Trading Gagner isnt goin gto get you a true #1…. he will get you a #2 with the potential to be #1 (which means: going to get shelled for another season or two).

  33. I think Schenn needs to be given a chance here…The kid is still young and is one of the top hitters in the league. This is another year of experience on a shitty team. He will be an important of the Leafs continued re-build. I say the only way they move him is in a package for top 3 forward but for just a pick, I’ll say the term again…backwards. Give him some time to continue developping. I think this year was a huge learning experience for him and once the Leafs are in better shape, you guys will be glad he wasn’t shipped for a 25th overall pick.

    @ Nikk

    Agreed on Gagner…Keep him as the second line centre there…excellent secondary source of scoring. move Horcoff as the third line centre. Like you said, building around a solid d corps is what they’re missing and as I mentionned earlier, DD is not the answer…

  34. @ NIkK

    Actually I was hoping that Edmonton would pick the defenseman and the leafs pick up Radek Faksa …Iam really trying to pray to the Hockey gods that Burke takes Faksa ……with very little good core UFAs that will be had to come to Toronto I feel this is the kid that can really put the ship right hes (not all by himself of course) but ist a great way to pick up a phenom at center and have him grow with the club and him being 6 “3” 210 at this point is unreal .hes also a Czeach player and knows more about the 200 foot game than other players are taught in other countries …absolute natural for the Leafs to pick this guy …it actually solves there Center issue and allows them the time to spend on a Goalie and a 1-2 defenmseman via trade by keeping assets for trades as opposed to trading away youth for that big center !

  35. @ beergoggles

    I hope Kadri kicks ass tonight …he may have to feel the eurge to drop the gloves at some point …if hes been listening to anything Leafs talk he knows that the tide has changed in the dressing room and he will be expected to be a physical player and show some rocks ….its his time right now if any!
    I have a true feeling this kid is special ..theres just something about his game ..hes sees when chance is before him …i still feel that he will be good on any team …but this kid will score a HUGE goal one game that will change the history of whatever franchise he plays for in his Career…one day !

  36. I would hope Hetch would at least play over in Europe.

    I’ve thought for years Germany is a prime growing market for hockey in Europe, were it’s not already big unlike Sweden or Finland.

    A home-grown name NHL star playing in Germany would be great for drawing new attention to the sport, and NHL simultaneously.

  37. @Chris
    I think the only way Kadri makes an impact is playing with Kessel and lots of ice time. They tried him with Connelly and a bunch of 3rd liners but nothing has worked. Actually because the Leafs are finished tjhis year and hopefully headed for a top 3 pick so why not try Grabo between Kessel and Kadri for fun? Might as well shake it up then again Kessel will pout if he is not on with his BFF Bozak.

    I have been cheering for the Leafs to lose after the 3rd game Carlyle coached when we lost moving us 8pts out. I’m really hoping for a top 3 draft.

  38. @NikK
    I agree the Leafs haven’t had a #1 or 2 pick forever but I doubt they get one this year (baring a trade up the ladder senerio). I would love to see them draft a guy that works out but with Schenn #5 pick and Kadri #7 pick floundering I don’t have a lot of hope that another #4 or 5 pick will not fall under the same fate. It’s like we need to draft these guys then send them to another organization until they are ready then bring them back.

    What a horrid drafting record. lol lol
    2010 – (2) Traded to Boston Kessel
    2009 – Kadri (7)
    2008 – Schenn (5)
    2007 – Traded for Toskala
    2006 – Tlusty (13)
    2005 – Rask (21) trade for Raycroft
    2004 – Traded for Leetch
    2003 – Traded for Nolan
    2002 – Steen (24)
    2001 – Colaiacovo (17)
    2000 – Boyes (24) traded for Nolan
    1999 – Cereda (24)
    1998 – Antropov (10)
    1997 – Traded for Clark
    1996 – Traded for Yushkevich
    1995 – Ware (15)
    1994 – Fichaud (16)
    1993 – Jonsson (12)
    1992 – Convery (8)
    1991 – Traded for Kurvers (turned out to be Niedermayer)
    1990 – Berehowsky (10)
    1989 – Thornton (3), Rob Pearson (12), Bancroft (21)
    1988 – Scott Pearson (6)

  39. Why why why are we talking about the leafs? Does this article have anything to do with them? You people turn this site into a joke everyday.

  40. I get a kick out of how fans are just like scouts,they all see different things.
    I know a scout and i agree with him but many here from what i read are the complete opposite.

    gagne’s value was never higher then after the 8 point game and the oilers should have capitalized.

    of all the leafs talked about tradewise nobody mentions lupul,who may worth more now then he ever will be again.

    in the draft,and most scouts feel this way,there is the nail,and then everybody else.

    and a few are very overated basing draft position on size and position played with faksa topping that list.
    myself if given a choice i hope he is there and the leafs get galchenyuk.

  41. @Edmund- I never talk Leafs. And try to keep the Canadian team talk to the minimum or concerning less followed team like the Jets.

    If you want conversations about more diverse teams than Toronto or Montreal you gotta make it yourself.