It wouldn't be an NHL off-season without rumors of Sam Gagner being traded. On Sunday night, two days before his no-movement clause was set to kick in for the 2014-15 season, Gagner was finally dealt, with the Tampa Bay Lightning shipping Teddy Purcell to the Edmonton Oilers, as first reported by TSN's Darren Dreger.
Gagner's tenure as a member of the Lightning didn't last long, however, as general manager Steve Yzerman then flipped him to the Arizona Coyotes, according to Bob McKenzie. Included in the deal is B.J. Crombeen with a 2015 sixth rounder headed back to Tampa.
Moving out Gagner and Crombeen opens up just under $6 million in cap space for Yzerman to play with this week. According to CapGeek, Tampa is a little more than $9.5 million under the ceiling after this deal.
Gagner to the Lightning was a bit of a head-scratcher anyway, given that they're set down the middle with Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula and Tyler Johnson secure in their spots. Coyotes GM Don Maloney said over the weekend he was ready to enter the season with Martin Hanzal and Antoine Vermette as his top two pivots. But, of course, things can change quickly in this league.
Yzerman is quite familar with these kind of trades. Remember back in Feb. 2012 when he acquired Kyle Quincey and then shipped him to Detroit for a 2012 first rounder and prospect Sebastian Piche.
For the Oilers, does this now mean top pick Leon Draisaitl is penned in to the no. 2 center role? That option is there if general manager Craig MacTavish strikes out in free agency.
UPDATE: Yzerman was a busy man Sunday night. He added even more salary cap space for the Lightning after dealing Nate Thompson and the remaining three years and $4.8 million to the Anaheim Ducks for a fourth- and seventh-rounder in 2015.
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