Note from John Fontana -- it's now being reported that Sam Gagner has been traded to the Arizona Coyotes. We will place a new article on the site to reflect this shortly.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have obtained center Sam Gagner from the Edmonton Oilers for RW Teddy Purcell. It's not the movement of Purcell that surprises as so much the destination and the return for him... Gagner. Gagner makes $300,000 more than the RW Purcell; his contract length is for two more seasons at an average of $4.8 million a year. He also has a No Movement Clause that kicks in on Tuesday and expires on July 1st, 2015.
This also somewhat confuses the team's forward situation - Gagner is a center and the club already carries four potential starters on the roster in Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson and Nate Thompson. Prospect Jonathan Drouin saw substantial time at center this past season, as the club stated interest in converting him to a center during training camp in 2013.
In a tweet that has since been deleted, Tampa Bay Lightning team beat writer Missy Zielinski reported that the club intended to put Gagner on waivers on Monday. He would be bought out by the club on Tuesday if he is allowed to pass. While the tweet has vanished, enough of the Twitterverse saw it to know it happened. A buyout of Gagner would only cost the Lightning 1/3rd of his salary according to capGeek's buyout calculator.
Gagner is all of 24 years old, which reflects the core age of much of the Lightning right now, and has played the past 7 seasons in Edmonton (who drafted him in 1st round of the 2007 NHL entry draft sixth overall), competing in 481 games and putting up 101 goals and 194 assists for 295 points in that time. It's close to a 40-point season average.
Purcell, whose cap hit of $4.5 million annually seemed burdensome, has started to draw ire from fans in Tampa Bay because of the drop in goal-scoring production the past two seasons. The height of his playing career in Tampa Bay was 2011-12 when he scored 24 goals and 41 assists.
We'll have more on this as it develops.