Photo Credit: Bob Frid - USA TODAY Sports

The Canucks waive Sam Gagner and Darren Archibald

In what appears to be the final roster cut prior to the NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks will be placing Sam Gagner and Darren Archibald on waivers.

With the play of Tyler Motte in the pre-season, Darren Archibald being cut isn’t surprising. Archibald will clear waivers and will be a depth option at some point. He is signed to a one-year deal with an average annual value of $650,000.

The waiving of Sam Gagner is a bit of a surprise, mostly given the contract value remaining on his deal. Including the upcoming season, Gagner has two years remaining at a $3.15M cap hit per year.

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For the most part, players clear waivers at this point in the year but Gagner’s cap hit isn’t egregious and is coming off a 31 point season that followed his 50 point breakout season with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2016-17.  So, it’s entirely possible that Gagner has played his last game with the Vancouver Canucks and will be claimed tomorrow prior to the roster deadline.

Gagner didn’t exactly set himself apart from the group in training camp and didn’t really seem to have a natural fit on the roster, and it ultimately resulted in him hitting the waiver wire. Canucks management made it clear that they were willing to make bold moves with the roster and the incumbent veterans, and it’s fair to say that waiving a player with two years left in his deal fits into that category.

The Canucks start the 2017-18 season on Wednesday and we will have to wait and see if there are any other moves in the works.

  • Dan the Fan

    Wow. That’s pretty unexpected. Given Motte’s waiver situation I thought he’d be sent down. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Motte sat in the press box to maintain is waiver exemption, until either players return from injuries and he’s sent down, or until until fresh injuries force them to play him.

  • Puck Viking

    Gagner should never have been signed to that contract in the first place.

    The best thing for the Canucks would be for him to get claimed to get out from under that deal. Would be a huge win for Benning.

    • liqueur des fenetres

      It definitely was the prevailing opinion that it was a mistake signing Gagner to both that term and salary, but good on Benning for walking away from that mistake because it would have been pretty easy to leave him on the roster.

      As for Gagner getting picked up on waivers, that very well may be wishful thinking, as this time of year teams are more likely to swap spare parts (Pedan and Pouliot last year) than just trying to snag them on waivers.

      • Dirty30

        Dont forget that trades are often incumbent upon a player clearing waivers so the receiving team can leave the player down until needed on a call-up and doesn’t count against the roster to start the season.

        So, some chance he is picked up off waivers or through a trade.

    • Whatthe...

      He was always a place holder – can never predict prospect development. If Pettersson hadn’t broken down the door during training camp, Gagner would still be in the line-up and remains a useful signing.

    • Jamie E

      If no NHL teams wants him he could always retire from the NHL – thus voiding his contract – and go play in the KHL or Europe if anyone there wants to pay him any money. Or he can make $3 frigging million dollars a year playing in the AHL.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      I don’t support any moves that allow Benning to take a mulligan on a terrible decision labeling it ‘a huge win’. Gagner getting picked up by anybody else will only allow Benning to believe that he now has another $3M to waste on more useless veteran signings. Wiercoch, MDZ, Gagner, Burmistrov, Nilsson…..all fails

    • speering major

      Why would they claim him?

      Wouldn’t they just offer the canucks a bag of pucks for Ganger and have Vancouver retain a portion of his salary?

      I would love to see Gagner claimed but I just doubt it happens

      • Puck Viking

        You dont retain salary on poor players. We can only retain salary on 2 more players they should be safe guarded in hopes we can retain to put big deals together not waiver fodder like Gagner.

        Think an Edler or Sutter deal.

        Edler at 2.5 million hit at the deadline would be very valuable.

      • The only legit scoring centre on Ottawa is Duchene. Pageau will be on IR with 4-6 months, Smith was waived for performance issues, White is just a rookie with 23 games and wasn’t exactly lights out in the AHL, and Tierney and Pyatt are bottom six guys. Gagner would be slotted into their middle-6. Not ideal for Ottawa but Gagner, while soft, is still a skilled NHL player that could put up 20-40 points in the regular season. That’s better than what they currently have on roster.

      • Puck Viking

        Might be able to deal him or Nilsson for a late round pick. Like what happened last season. Goalies might not be needed now so why not upgrade over what we currently have then hopefully flip one for a late round pick.

        We loose nothing by claiming him.

  • Nuck16

    Well, what a pleasant surprise this move was, I applaud such moves that ensure we don’t lose any of Granny, Goldy, or Leipsic…management gets it, it seems. The biggest issue with Gagner is that he starts the season very very slow, then he heats up at the end. He could be a useful call up later in the season when the injury bug kicks and when he’s playing well.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Motte made the team. As I thought. Was wrong about Gaudette but hopefully he will be a mid season call up when injuries occur. Looking fwd to the season

    • Macksonious

      I’ll admit, had my doubts that they would waive Gagner. Was skeptical about ownership’s willingness to potentially bury that contract in the minors. Pleasantly surprised.

    • Locust

      I said it and I believe Marmot did too. Just makes sense to send him down.
      Our comments were naturally slagged by those that are holding out on a Gagner trade for a second rounder and a prospect…… some great hockey minds here….

  • Captain Video

    A pleasant surprise that Motte’s hustle earned him a spot on the team and that Gagne was placed on waivers. Here’s hoping that Sam gets claimed by an Ottawa or Montreal team that could use his skill set and he continues with his NHL career.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Gagner and Archibald were obviously not in the plans. Everyone scribbles out their own depth charts and neither of these guys were on mine for the long run. Kudos to the gentleman who pointed out Gagner had already been traded to Dallas. The Stars are a cusp team who won over 40g last year and Gagner could actually help this kind of team better than what he did in Vancouver where he was suppose to be a leadership guy but wasn’t. If Archibald isn’t claimed he can still fit in when the IRL begins to fill up. At least the dude hustles. Good move, Benning, now do more of the same.

  • apr

    Saw nothing wrong with the Gagner signing, especially if he put up 50 points, even if it were on power play (as pre-Brock power play sucked). These are the signings you make when your team has cap space and lots of $$’s. It didn’t work – that’s ok. Move on. If there were a 50 point FA in the summer, he would be getting at least 6 and 5.

  • wojohowitz

    I don`t see Gagner getting claimed with that contract. GMs keep their jobs by avoiding mistakes that stick out like a sore thumb – except Benning of course who keeps repeating his mistakes.

    • Giant-Nation

      A real smart but balsy move. Admiting a move you made is not working out and willing to place a 3 mil contract in Utica is something I have never seen by the Canucks. These moves do change the culture of a team.

  • speering major

    I think I’d rather have Dale Weise off of waivers for $2.3 for 2 years than Roussel for 4 years. Haven’t seen Weise play over the passed couple seasons but he’s just 30. Having him off the books or in the press box in the next 2 years at this salary and age seems better than being locked in to Roussel for the next 4 seasons

    • Defenceman Factory

      I don’t understand the rationale for your comment. Roussel is under 30 and the kind of fast, high energy, agitating player the Canucks could use. Dale Weise is pretty much done and Roussel is in his prime.

      I don’t know if Roussel will be a big positive on the team but I’m pretty certain Weise wouldn’t be. We just saw the Canucks waive an overpaid underpaid vet so unless you are only concerned with Aquilini’s profit margin Roussel seems like a much better bet to make this team better.

      • speering major

        Roussel will be as old as Weise when his contract expires. We are locked in to Roussel for another 4 seasons. Weise has always been a good skater, can kill penalties, and plays a similar role to Roussel. If it didn’t work out then you are stuck with him next season as worst case scenario. We have committed to Roussel for 4 year and at more money. It’s higher risk and we are seeing that right now. I think if Benning was more patient then he could have got a guy to play Roussels role under a much better contract. I don’t care who’s better, these are plugs for a minimum of 2 seasons til the team can hope to compete

  • RobG

    I like this move for two reasons. First, JB is staying true to his word by not allowing veteran players stand in the way of prospects making the team. Second, it serves notice to all the other veterans on the roster that their spots are not secure.

    Now if only they could figure out away to remove Ericksson.

    • Defenceman Factory

      Erisksson is seriously overpaid but he is a reasonable and talented NHL player. He sets himself well apart from Gagner by being quite a good defensive player who can help kill penalties. Ericksson can be pushed into the bottom 6 and not be the prospect roadblock Gagner had become. No one has beat Loui out of his roster spot, yet.

      I do agree Ericksson will be difficult to move and will definitely be in someone’s way before his contract is up, probably next year.

  • Hockey Bunker

    JB should get credit for doing what he said. He said if young guys perform then space will be made. Voila, Gagner on waivers.
    He is also never been afraid to move on from a decision. That means he’s pragmatic.

    • Freud

      JB should get credit for everything he says, then.

      “We want to be competitive next year. Realistically, if you’re asking me when will the day be that we can compete with the best teams in the league, I think that (Sedin contract) timeline is fair. This is year 2 and by our 4th or 5th year, I hope we’ll be there with the elite teams in the league.”

      Voila, the worst team in the league over the last 3 seasons.
      He is also never been afraid to make a terrible decision, that means he’s a failure.

      • Canuck4Life20

        Since you love brining up quotes from the past, let’s remind everyone about one of yours.

        ‘The bar has been set so low here in town that an adequate hockey move by Benning gets hailed as “a great day”.
        It’s like the neglectful, deadbeat dad who remembers his kid’s birthday and buys him a new bike.
        For the good dads it’s just another day, for those dads who have the bar set really low, it’s “a great day”’

        Freud – February 27th, 2017

  • Freud

    Here’s the free agent list Benning has hanging around his neck right now. The 3 notables that had anywhere near an average season or two, Miller, Vrbata and Vanek resulted in only Motte as a return.

    As Ferraro said, Benning needs his cell phone hidden in July.

    This list could be described as astounding. A complete failure by any measurement. Tens of millions of dollars invested over 5 off-seasons on crap. Crap that has also resulted in nothing coming back to the team for the future.

    Del Zotto

    • Puck Viking

      Players should have been signed for 1 or 2 year deals and flipped for picks at the TDL… players with potential value to playoff teams should have been targeted..

      Think of how much better our prospect pool look with another 5 or so picks from UFAs plus if benning never dealt all those 2nds and dealt hamhuis.. we could have another 8 prospects in the system.. several might even have been drafted and fill holes that we currently have see the RHD black hole on this team.

    • TheRealPB

      The problem with your list is that you are lumping together the depth signings/Hail Marys with all kinds of other actual players. Cracknell, Bartkowski, Megna, Chaput, Molino, Holm, Wiercioch, Burmistrov and probably Schaller are all the kinds of players that most teams sign to similar no-harm no foul contracts. You’re just adding a bunch of noise here.

      The real signings are the other ones. Some of those were good — Miller, Vrbata and Vanek were worth every penny (whether the Canucks got all they could out of them is a different question). Nillson and Eriksson were decent bets, even if they haven’t paid off. Del Zotto, Gagner, Roussel and Beagle are too much, too long, and unfathomable given that I cannot imagine who we were competing against for the services of the first two guys at least (the first two) who had gotten bounced around the league.

      I’m glad that the Canucks waived Gagner. He seems like a decent guy and I hope he catches on somewhere else. He just never fit here. To all those who see this as a sign of Benning willing to admit a mistake, that is ridiculous. It’s not as though this is the first time. Brandon Prust also had to be buried in the minors because he wasn’t anything like what Benning thought he would be. I’ve said it before, I like his work in building a prospect pool, but his ability to assess NHL level talent is abysmal. I like the goal of surrounding young talent with hard working veterans who will insulate them. But who can honestly say that this has happened over the course of five years? The only veterans who did so were the ones he sold off and the ones he inherited, not the ones who remain.

    • crofton

      Miller worked out pretty well.
      Vrbata did for a year FA signing
      Bartkowski no
      cracknell no…but conventional wisdom at the time said otherwise
      Eriksso…good acquisition, bad contract…again, conventional wisdom at the time
      Megna FA signing to AHL
      Chaput was acquired in the Sestito trade
      Molino was signed out of College…played 5 games
      Philip Holm was a free agent signing…traded for leipsic
      Gagner…free agent signing not a great contract…now waived
      Del Zotto…kinda serves a small purpose
      Weircioch signed an went to AHL
      Burmistrov, hoped for more, didn’t perform
      Nilsson…true worth remains to be seen…likely not high
      Vanek was a very good FA signing…ended up being Motte. Bad? remains to be seen, but different types of players.
      Roussel and Schaller hanging?
      Your statement is absurd