Report: Blackhawks, Sam Gagner Mutually Interested

For years, the Blackhawks have been tied to forward Sam Gagner in trade rumors.

Could he actually come to Chicago this time, though?

Gagner, who turns 28 in August, has intrigued Blackhawks fans for a long time. And the obvious tie to the Hawks has always been his time with the London Knights.

In 2006-07, Gagner put up 35 goals and 83 assists in 53 games for London. That same season, Patrick Kane led the Knights with 62 goals and 82 assists in 58 games. In the summer of 2007, Kane was the first overall pick in the NHL Draft; Gagner was selected sixth by Edmonton.

After making the jump directly from London to the NHL (like Kane), Gagner had at least 13 goals and 41 points in each of his first five NHL seasons. The most notable night of his career came against Kane and the Hawks on Feb. 2, 2012 when he lit up Chicago for four goals and four assists.

He signed a one-year bridge deal with a $3.2M cap hit for the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season and lit up the league for 38 points in 48 games. Edmonton rewarded him with a three-year, $14.4M deal.

Edmonton traded him to Tampa (who traded him to Arizona) a year later. Twelve months later he was dealt again, this time heading to Philadelphia in the deal that sent Chris Pronger’s cap hit (note: not cap circumvention in the eyes of the NHL) to Arizona. Gagner’s time in Philly was a disaster, with him ultimately landing in the AHL at the end of the 2015-16 season.

In what should be his prime, Gagner found himself taking a pay cut from $4.8M to $650k on a one-year deal with the Blue Jackets for the 2016-17 season.

Gagner responded with the best season of his career, putting up 18 goals and 50 points (both career highs). The right-handed shot had 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) on the power play for Columbus last year and averaged 13:42 per night. Gagner also won 47.5 percent of his faceoffs (425 total).

In his “30 Thoughts” column this week, Elliotte Friedman pointed out that “Gagner makes a lot of sense as a right-handed power play option to replace Artemi Panarin in Chicago. He was dynamite with Columbus in that role. It is believed Vancouver also has interest in his services.”

Scott Power of The Athletic – Chicago followed that nugget with a report that the Blackhawks and Gagner have shown “mutual interest.”

Which makes sense. Gagner, who is an unrestricted free agent, saw his career unwind as much because of his cap hit as anything; he’s consistently been a 40-50 point player his entire career with the one exception being the nightmare season with the Flyers. And the Blackhawks need depth at center; if Marcus Kruger is still headed out the door (which most expectations are still that he is), the Hawks would ideally need someone to play the third line center role with Tanner Kero filling in for Kruger on the fourth line and penalty kill.

So after all these years of flirting, could the Hawks and Gagner finally get together? We’ll see.

33 thoughts on “Report: Blackhawks, Sam Gagner Mutually Interested

  1. Pass, unless he’s way cheaper than Kruger, say $2 mil, which he is probably going to exceed in the open market. If the “big” moves have truly been made, than go for the youth and save the cap space.

    If you are in a “win now” mode, get Duchene (give up AA and as many picks as it takes) and try for the 2 Cups he could give you. After 2 years, break it all down and start over.

    The Penguins “squeezed” Kessel in with Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Fleury. It revitalized Crosby (remember the old Crosby vs Toews debates) and gave the Penguins 2 more Cups – with a defense this spring of Määttä, Cole, Ruhwedel, Daley, Hainsey, Dumoulin, Schultz and Streit…… not exactly a murderer’s row of talent.

    The Hawks can “tweak” and watch the Oilers go by them or “go bold” and try to win it the next 2 years before McDavid and Draisait hit their peak

  2. This salary cap discussion and how it relates to free agency is making me dizzy. If I understand things correctly, Bowman cannot sign anyone right now pending a trade of a current player or relief from the Hossa contract. My point is we can’t get our hopes up about this.

  3. If he wants to join the Hawks, he can come on a PTO for pre-season, and then sign a real deal after Hossa gets put on LTIR on the first day of the season.

    @Ian – Do you really think Q is going to stick with one set of lines for the entire year? I’m sure lots of combinations will be tried.

  4. Anisimov >>> Gagner. And it’s not even close. The only logic I can think of is that the Hawks somehow move Kruger and then sign Gagner for less than $2.25 M per. It would seem to me he will find a distinctly better payday elsewhere.

    I sure wish we still had Danault. Loved that kid and his two way potential. He’d solve a lot of problems right now.

  5. Thats my point chitown could be discussions toward what be offered in october not so sure on the pto though. Everybody knows Q is a line blender just a comparison of what choice you would have now.

  6. Not a big fan of gagner. Would just rather stick with the young players and put any available resources into the defense.

  7. Rufus if they shrunk roster to minimum to open season might be able to pull it off but doesn’t really seem the best way maximize your relief room.

  8. A lot of movement makes you wonder why-
    the only way it makes sense is if you can get him for a year and I think Rufus is right about the pay day. He’s earned another shot.
    I guess it depends on what Kane thinks and what he needs to be happy. (Only partially kidding)
    Career FO% of 45

  9. No thanks to signing Gagner. He will not be a difference maker. Either let the kids play or as Hawkfacts suggested go after Duchene. I would prefer 15 any day over Gagner. I am starting to think we may be stuck with Kruger.

  10. Gagner played for the minimum last season in an attempt to revive his career – to prove he can be productive in the NHL – and he did that. Do you really think he’s going to sign for cheap again?

  11. And there it is again… the Dannault debacle, the single worst move of the SB regime. Yes, not a blockbuster, but at no point has a Stan move failed in such a one sided manner. He would’ve helped last year, and next year, and the year after…

  12. Danault was a keeper that got away-and interesting enough FO %

    2 years Chicago 43%
    2 years Montreal 52%

  13. Where is the money coming from to sign him? If we are replacing Kruger with Gagner cool, cause Kruger is a complete waste of a roster spot anytime he moves beyond center ice, and he is overpaid even as a defensive specialist.

    Here is the problem as I see, I’ve moved into the “i dont trust SB to sign him to a good deal” camp. There are too many poor signings lately. SB has done an excellent job, “finding” guys and bringing over Non-NHL talent, Panarin, Darling, Panik, Kempny, Ranntaa Niemi, but has really sucked resigning NHL players to new contracts; Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Buff, Bickell, Kruger, Bolland, Fucking Runblad! Too many contract misses lately and not enough hits sorry!

  14. @ NICK IN SAN DIEGO

    That was a really poor trade on number of fronts; because they moved a cost controlled young talent and 2 expiring contracts, then SB made a dumber move and resigned Kruger to a horrible deal to offset for the dumb trade; urgh. Not to mention Danault is a nice cost effective bottom 6 forward.

  15. Hindsight is always 20/20. Oh well.

    Niemi was brought over for the 08/09 season.

    Bowman signed Panarin for 2 years at 6 per. Anyone got a problem with that deal? Resigned Darling for 2 years…at what? League minimum? Brad Richards? How bout that new Kempny deal?

    Sure hes had his bad ones. Panik for instance i thought was a bit of a reach.

  16. The best move Stan made in his tenure was finding Panarin, bringing him over and then signing him to an additional two years. Elite scorers are hard to find. I think I read somewhere that the objective in hockey is to outscore your opponent. It will be fun in ten years to look back and see who had a more successful career, Saad or Panarin. My guess is Saad will be a very good player and Panarin will be a great player. Save the “they are different kinds of players” rationale, it gets old.

  17. Panarin will no doubt have a dip in production without Kaner feeding him. Saad will likely get a boost from going back on 19’s line.

  18. You could be right Mox. The bigger question will be does Kane have a dip in production without Panarin on his line.

  19. Ernie, I was thinking the same thing. Depending on what happens in Columbus, we may get him back in 2 years. Let’s see how he and Torts get along. Could be sand paper or it could be silk. I’m guessing the former.

  20. Pass on Gagner, as Q likes to say, “he’s ok”. If Pittburgh got by the last two yrs w/ plenty of young forwards and won 2 Cups doing so, the Hawks have plenty of young solid forwards to throw into the mix that can play. Q has to trust them from Game 1 thru the playoffs. He cut bait on the rookie forwards confidence-wise (and ice time cut or scratches) once the abbreviated playoff run started.

    The Penguins coach stuck w/ all his young forwards consistently, through thick and thin. It worked. 2 yrs in a row.

  21. The most disappointed Hawk in the Panerin deal has to be Patrick Kane. Their chemistry was fantastic from day one and the results bear that out.

    Gagner would soften the blow. He was Kane’s Center with the London Knights and so there would be immediate chemistry. Secondly, the Saad deal seems to be great for Toews but not for Kane.
    The signing of Gagner would placate the other half of the “franchise”

  22. But it was said that Kane also wanted Saad back. Also, it’s been 10 years since Pat and Gagner played together so I’m not so sure about immediate chemistry. That said it all comes down to price.

  23. Wouldn’t that be funny. We get Saader back by trading a guy we got for free. In which gets us Arty for free. Then a couple yrs later when Bread Man is ufa we sign him again. In essence we get Arty and Bread Man for free and keep Saader.

    Bwahahahahaha.

  24. Tazer had the ultimate line with 20/19/81 for 3 yrs and Kaner only had that with 72/15/88 for 2 yrs.

    Theres the 10/19/88, 29/19/88 lines.

    We always had the big 4, 19/88/10/81 and then a 5th when we got 20. Then is was the same with 19/88/72/81 and then a 5th when we got 15. Now were back to 19/88/20 but donot have 81 and a 5th in 15. That’s the diff. and until we add another top 6 FW we really cant compare any stats because its not the same with the big 4 and a 5th, when we have 3 of the big 4 and a 5th. We need another FW like that/a good one not Hoss quality.

    Kaner did fine with 10/26/88, 23/91/88 and so on. Also were a better 4 lines team when the 1st line can go head to head with other teams top line.

  25. With Panarin, the Hawks bowed out of the playoffs early two years in a row. With all due respect he is largely a one-dimensional regular season offensive generator. His two way game is non-existent. And the Hawks have been horribly exposed two years in a row in the playoffs. I could give a rat’s ass about regular season wonderment. The fact is the Hawks are in a transition period and need to adapt or die. The moves Bowman has made to date are the right moves. Saad is a superior overall talent to Panarin. And a more valuable overall talent to the Chicago Blackhawks.

    End of subject

  26. Is Saad a better two way player –yes. Is he a better playoff player-could very well be. But again Panarin showed up more than some of the other pieces that you would expect. The focus on him for the failings the last two years is interesting. kinda funny and in my opinion unfair. Let’s look at about 40 million dollars of the cap that didn’t do the job. Last year his cap hit was about 800,000.

    And as been said the Predators deserve a lot of the credit as well.
    Hopefully end of subject but sadly I don’t think so.

  27. @ RUFUS T. FIREFLY

    Well said that division champsionship, and conf number 1 seed sure feels pointless after getting waxed by the Preds in 4 games!

  28. Rufus Panarin has 8pts. In 11 playoff games in his first two playoff years Saad had 7pts. in 25 games and yes they did win a cup his 1st year he had 1 assist in 2 games. So your comparances about how they stepped up early on are hardly reasonable.

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