Sam Gagner of the Philadelphia Flyers and Scott Gomez of the St. Louis Blues were both placed on waivers on Tuesday. This news is varying degrees of depressing.
Gagner, 26, was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes at the draft in that blockbuster Chris Pronger trade, and the door literally hit him on the bum: GM Don Maloney said “we just didn't think he could play center at the National Hockey level for us,” which was a polite way of saying that Gagner is much better on the wing.
He wasn’t sure if the Flyers were going to buy out the last year of his $3.2 million cap hit. They didn’t, and he vowed to make the most of the opportunity to prove himself.
It could be argued that Gagner wasn’t really given that opportunity – the Flyers have dedicated more ice time to youngsters and grunts under Dave Hakstol – but it could also be argued that he didn’t earn it. Gagner had just two goals and three assists through October and zero points until through Nov. 23, when Brad Malone of the Carolina Hurricanes slew-footed him and concussed him. He hasn’t played since.
Now he’s on waivers, with an eye towards dropping him to the AHL, because the Flyers want to activate Mark Streit and keep rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere and need the cap space. (That $3.2 million hit, two bust seasons and a concussion probably means Gagner won’t be claimed.)
As for Gomez, an inspiring story has come to an end.
The 36-year-old center made the Blues with a dynamic preseason after being a PTO invite. He settled into a fourth-line role before injuries necessitated he play more minutes. He had a five points-in-five games spurt at the start of November, but those were the last points he’d score. Soon it was back to the fourth line, and more-than-occasional healthy scratches. His ice time was as low as 6:40 in a recent game vs. the Calgary Flames.
With the Blues healthy – and with Kyle Brodziak as the better option on the fourth line and Patrik Berglund ready to return – this appears to be the end of Gomer with the Blues.
But we’ve learned not to count him out as far as prolonging his fascinating post-monster-contract journeyman career.
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.