After discussing Los Angeles’ interest in Edmonton forward Sam Gagner with The Fan 960 in Calgary earlier this week, CBC’s Eliotte Friedman divulged additional details of the teams’ negotiations in his latest 30 Thoughts feature on CBC.com.
5. One of the reasons Los Angeles is interested in Sam Gagner is the team’s third-worst power play. Gagner was 28th overall in extra-man points last season, with 15. Among Kings, only Anze Kopitar had more, with 16. Even as Gagner suffered through recovery from his broken jaw in 2013-14, only four L.A. forwards have more power-play points than he does. Plus, the Kings’ centre quartet could be Kopitar, Mike Richards, Gagner and Jarret Stoll. Not bad.
There are two additional thoughts devoted to the teams’ discussions on his story, 30 Thoughts: Injured NHLers reignite Olympic debate.
Interest in Gagner does seem to make sense, not only because of the production referenced above, but also because of his age (he’s 24) and the term of his contract (he’s signed through 2016).
There’s also an interesting way of looking at players with less term than Gagner.
Looking back at a conversation with Dean Lombardi from shortly after the Christmas break, the Kings’ general manager did opine on the mentality of teams with players in the final year of their contracts that are seen by many to be “on the trading block.” It’s an interesting viewpoint.
Lombardi, on December 28:
The other thing that’s changed is a lot of teams that would have players on the last year of their contract or are quote-unquote sellers, they’ve figured it out. I’m not just going to unload these guys because I need assets. Because I still need people to play. So I’m going to keep them and sign ‘em. So it used to be in the old days, yeah, I’d get rid of ‘em because you want to get something for ‘em. Now, they’re looking at stepping back and saying, ‘hey, I need guys to play next year,’ because the other thing, too, is we all see that it’s getting like the NFL where the whole building process, you’re not that far away because everybody’s so close. You’ve got some really good teams, you’ve got some really bad teams…so these teams that might be selling now are thinking, ‘well, we’re a player or two away. But I don’t want to give up this rental. I want to keep him, because I don’t want to be three players away.’ So now it gets back to, ‘OK, what’s really out there?’ Look at the last six years and circle the deals that worked out well, that really had an impact. You’d be surprised.
It’s not new, though it’s certainly worth reading to learn about the team’s process in advance of the heavy trading season. The NHL’s trading deadline is at 12:00 pm PT on Wednesday, March 5.