Coyotes May Buyout Sam Gagner

The Arizona Coyotes are considering buying out the remaining year of Sam Gagner’s contract, according to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector.

Sam Gagner
(Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE)
The 25-year-old winger was acquired last summer in a convoluted series of transactions that saw Gagner moved from the Oilers to the Lightning to the Coyotes. As a part of that transaction the Lightning retained a third of Gagner’s contract. In a buyout for a player of Gagner’s age the team would be on the hook for one third of his contract and the Lightning would be on the hook for one third of that third.

Arizona would owe $1.1 million split over two seasons with a cap hit of $500,000 per season, according to Spector. (General Fanager’s buyout calcultaor, after subtracting the 1/3 that Tampa would pick up, puts that figure closer to $555,000.)

Spector notes that GM Don Maloney has been trying to trade Gagner at the draft, but “chances are he would have to take someone else’s bad contract back.” He’d also probably have to retain some of Gagner’s contract. The deal carries an AAV of $4.8 million, but the Coyotes are only on the hook for $3.2 million.

Gagner was the 6th overall pick back in the 2007 draft. Since then he hasn’t quite delivered on his promise. He’s never broken the 20-goal threshold or the 50-point threshold.

Looking for signs of life in his numbers, he posted a 2.0 P/60 back in the 2011-12 season and has decreased annually since then, posting a 1.4 P/60 through 81 games for the Coyotes last year. He did post an impressive score-adjusted 4.4% CF%Rel last season and has had a positive relative possession number in each of his eight NHL seasons save two.

If he was bought out, there are plenty of NHL teams that would talk to Gagner about a new deal. There are positive signs and red flags in his numbers, but there’s some credence to be given to the notion that he’s never really been in a situation to succeed, playing for weak Edmonton and Arizona teams. A team with more depth may be interested in taking a chance on Gagner, placing him as an accent to a top line.

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