ALLENTOWN, Pa — Up against the cap, and with important defenseman Mark Streit coming off Long Term Injured Reserve, the Flyers yesterday placed Center Sam Gagner on waivers. Today at noon he passed through waivers and is “expected to go” to the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Of course, he could still be traded–and there are rumors to that effect–but for now, here’s what we have in the 26 year old Canadian forward:
Gagner has never appeared in the AHL. The 5’11” 202 lb centerman proceeded directly from Juniors–OHL London Knights, where he played during the 2006-07 season–to the Edmonton Oilers for the 2007-08 season. He was a first round pick of the Oilers–#6 overall in 2007. In all, he has 580 games service time in the NHL including 18 this season with Philadelphia, and will qualify as a “veteran” per AHL roster game-day rules. In those games, he has 118 NHL goals and 341 points. He played last season in Arizona to a -28 defensive +/-, and came to Philadelphia in a summertime trade with a conditional draft pick–in exchange for Chris Pronger’s contract and defender Nicholas Grossmann.
The veteran status does impact the Phantoms somewhat with respect to the “veteran rule.” Each night, the Phantoms will have to scratch one of Gagner, McDonald, MacDonald, Conner, Brent, or Palushaj in addition to Jay Rosehill and Matt Lashoff. Drewiske gets the “tweener” exception. For now, Conner is injured for a few more weeks. Lashoff and Brent have just returned and could always benefit from a night off in order to stay fresh. I suppose it does impact the line continuity somewhat, but an “embarrassment of riches” on the veteran front should be able to be managed as long as Mr. Gordon is up to the task. Still, the players have to play, and having veterans does not guarantee wins.
As far as Gagner’s effect on the Phantoms, I’d expect to see him in the top two lines most every night–but he may act as more of a facilitator than a goal scorer. I always welcome hockey talent and experience to the team, but with the current make-up, what the team needs is a finisher–and I’m not sure Gagner will be that. We’ll see, of course, but given my druthers for my Phantoms, I much would have preferred Ghost (of course) or Laughton–or even Manning.
KramsKorner is written by “Kram209” who can be reached on Twitter @Kram209, Facebook Kram Two-Ohnine or via email Kramof209 at gmail.com. “See you at the arena”