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.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 1, 2018
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.
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.