Updated to show Gagner traded again, to Arizona
Talk about Lightning quick.
Sam Gagner was traded twice within 90 minutes Sunday night, first from the Edmonton Oilers to Tampa Bay in a deal that brings St. John's native Teddy Purcell to Alberta, and then from the Lightning to the Arizona Coyotes in a salary purge.
In a straight-up deal, the Oilers got Purcell from the Lightning in exchange for Gagner. Just over an hour later, in an obvious move to clear up salary cap space, Tampa Bay sent the just-acquired Gagner and forward B.J.Crombeen to the Coyotes for a sixth-round draft pick in 2015. The Lightning will also retain a third of Gagner's salary.
Gagner has two years left on his contract at a cap hit of US$4.8 million. The 24-year-old centre-winger had long been the subject of trade rumours with Edmonton mulling changes amid a long playoff drought.
Purcell, a 28-year-old right-winger who has two years left at a cap hit of $4.5 million, registered 12 goals and 30 assists in 81 games this past season. He had a breakout year in 2011-12, with 24 goals and 41 assists, including a great playoff run, but just 23 goals combined the past two seasons.
This is the second time Purcell has been traded. The first was at the 2010 trade deadline, when he and a third-round draft pick were sent from the Los Angeles Kings to Tampa Bay in exchange for veteran forward Jeff Halpern.
The trade represents another change for the Oilers as general manager Craig MacTavish seeks to get a young core built around Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle to the playoffs for the first time.
Drafting big German centre Leon Draisaitl third overall Friday night might have been enough to convince MacTavish it was time to move Gagner, whose no-trade clause was set to kick in July 1.
"I think (Draisaitl) helps us fill a need, gives us an opportunity to have a strong centreman with some size that can play ahead of or behind the Nuge, whatever way it works, and we'll give him that opportunity," director of amateur scouting Stu MacGregor said Saturday in Philadelphia.
Gagner, the sixth overall pick in 2007, had 10 goals and 27 assists in 67 games in 2013-14. In his NHL career, all with Edmonton, the London, Ont., native has 295 points in 481 games. He fills a need for the Coyotes, who were thin at centre after buying out the remainder of Mike Ribeiro's contract last week.