The Columbus Blue Jackets have made their biggest free agent acquisition in the month of August. While the news broke over the weekend of a deal being finalized, the Jackets have signed center iceman Sam Gagner. His cap hit is $650K. Wow.
Gagner was a former first round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. After management changes, the Oilers flipped him to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Teddy Purcell. The same day, the Bolts flipped him (salary retention) and BJ Crombeen to the Arizona Coyotes for a late round draft pick. The next year, Gagner was flipped to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Nicklas Grossmann and Chris Pronger's contract.
Last season, Gagner scored the lowest point totals in his career, with 16 points in 53 games. Mostly because he was trying to be moved out of Philly all season with his extremely high salary which was given to him by Edmonton. His highest point season was his rookie season with Edmonton, with 49 points. His most consistent season was the lockout season, with 38 points in 48 games.
Seeing the past of Gagner, the question is what does he provide to Columbus now?
Gagner is a top nine center, which is what this team needs- depth at center. The past couple of seasons, they were putting forwards like Nick Foligno and Boone Jenner at center.
Also, he is only 26 years old. He is entering the prime of his career with a team filled with prime guys and young guys getting ready to step in and produce big time.
The other thing he brings is a reclamation project for John Tortorella. Last year, the Jackets trying reviving David Clarkson and Rene Borque, but both ended up being either scratched or injured.
Congratulations and welcome to Columbus Sam Gagner.
What are your thoughts on the signing?
More to come…