"Apr 6, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Sam Gagner (89) against the Winnipeg Jets at Nationwide Arena. The Jets won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports"
The Chicago Blackhawks continue to be linked to many free agents. The newest rumor is centered around Sam Gagner. Jan Han and Elliotte Friedman have speculated that Gagner makes a lot of sense for the Blackhawks.
Scott Powers is reporting that the interest between the Hawks and Gagner is mutual. Gagner has been linked to the Blackhawks before in the past because of his history with Patrick Kane. Gagner centered a line at Kane while both were playing for the London Knights of the OHL. Gagner scored 18 goals and 32 assists with Columbus last season.
In addition to being a right-handed shot who can score on the Power Play. Gagner plays the center position which would give the Blackhawks more depth at the position. Everyone is assuming that Marcus Kruger will be shipped out on July 1st. With Kruger out of the Hawks lineup, Tanner Kero might be pressed into action as the third line center with a center by committee on t he fourth line. If Gagner joins the Hawks, Kero could be bumped down to fourth line center/ Penalty kill specialist.
The potential addition of Gagner also means that the Blackhawks do not have to thurst super propsect Alex Debrincat into the lineup right away. They can pick their spots with him and let him adjust to the NHL game.
Since joining the NHL Gagner has been somewhat of journeyman makings stops in Arizona, Edmonton, Philly, and last season with Columbus.
Another important part of the deal is the cost. Gagner is unrestricted free agent and is coming off a contract of $650,000, so in theory the cost should not be that high.
My thoughts on Gagner
Ever since Gagner was linked to Kane from their junior days. I have kept tabs on Gagner, I was shocked that he was nearly waived during his time in Philly. I think with the Blackhawks he could thrive playing with Kane again. He is also coming off his highest point total in the NHL and could finally be getting close to his potential coming out of juniors.
Others Teams are interested: Vancouver Canucks
The Blackhawks are not the only team rumored to be interested in Gagner. The Vancouver Canucks are also to be reported to be interested. This is the second year in a row that Vancouver is interested in Gagner’s services.