Photo Credit: NHL.com

Canucks assign Sam Gagner to the Toronto Marlies

After clearing waivers earlier this morning, the Canucks have loaned Sam Gagner to the Toronto Marlies for the foreseeable future.

Rick Dhaliwal from Sportsnet 650 was the first to suggest his might happen this morning:

The move was made official a few hours later:

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As Rick suggests, this move was made to allow Gagner’s move to the AHL a little easier and you can’t get much closer to Toronto then well… Toronto.

Although Utica isn’t exactly across the continent from Toronto, the fact that the Canucks were able to find Gagner a place to play that is easier on his personal life was a good idea. Gagner is still signed for the remainder of this season and next season, and barring a trade, he could very well make his way back up to the NHL at some point over that time.

The Marlies were a little light on centres for the upcoming season, so Gagner should get a decent opportunity to show to the Canucks and other NHL teams that he still belongs in the NHL.

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The Utica Comets and Toronto Marlies meet on Friday night in Utica and then again on October 13th and 14th. So the baby Canucks will see a lot of Gagner early in the season.

  • That’s great for Gagner and his family. I guess with Gaudette, MacEwen, Gaunce, Hamilton, and any other centres, there wouldn’t have been room for him, though I was hoping he’d be available to help the Comets in the playoffs.

    • tyhee

      MacEwen hasn’t played center as a pro. Gaunce has played very little center as a pro. Motte has played very little center as a pro.

      For centres in Utica, the Comets have:

      -Tanner Kero, essentially a 2nd liner
      -Adam Gaudette, a rookie
      -probably Gaunce or Motte, both of whom have played almost exclusively at wing in the pros
      -Hamilton, who is at this stage of his career pretty much a depth forward, on an AHL contract
      -Cam Darcy, a depth forward on an AHL contract
      -Tanner Macmaster, who was mostly a winger after signing with the Comets after his university season was finished but can also play center

      So there are bodies. What is missing is an experienced #1 center who can act largely as a playmaker for the Comets’ plethora of young offensively talented wingers.

      Gagner could have been that guy. He’d have been better at distributing the puck to the likes of Boucher, Dahlen, Lind, Palmu, MacEwen, Jasek, Archibald and Gadjovich than anyone now on the Comets’ roster as a center.

      Gagner would have helped the Comets. He’d have helped some of their young players. I’m going to get a lot of trashes for this, but for $3.5 million (his salary for 2018-19) I think it would have been perfectly reasonable to have him go to Utica.

      It was nice to Gagner. It isn’t good for the Comets’ fans, probably not best for the Canucks’ young wing prospects and if the Marlies put the Comets out of the playoffs it will be really, really annoying.

      When the Canucks signed Gagner he was coming off a 1 year contract making the NHL minimum of $650K. The Canucks signed him to a 3 year deal and this year he’s due to make $3.5 million.

      It’s great to be a nice guy and give everyone what they want, but I think it absurd to pay someone $3.5 million to compete directly (in the same division) with your farm team and not use a good playmaking veteran forward to get the puck to your young goal-scoring wingers.

      Yes, I know the commenters on this forum will disagree and this post will be soundly trashed. Imo you don’t pay someone $3.5 million to help another organization to the detriment of your own.

      • Bud Poile

        Had Gagner joined Utica the Comets would have had one more NHL vet on the roster than allowed.
        This allows all the vets to play and in Gagner’s case, showcase his skill back east where his NHL services can be sold.
        This move is respectful of an NHL vet,helps the Leafs out and hopefully facilitates a spot where Gagner can be traded from.
        The goal is not to have Gagner playing in the AHL but trading him so he can continue his career,lose the contract,gain a draft pick/player,etc..

        • tyhee

          The roster limit on vets is a game roster limitation, not an overall roster limitation. So long as they don’t dress more than the allotted number of veterans, there is no problem.

          Last season the Comets went way over the vet limit so some had to sit when they would have been useful. This year, just one over, players like Hamilton and Sifers would have been sitting sometimes until an injury opens up a spot.

          The Comets can use Gagner far more than Hamilton and Sifers, who may not be in the top 18 skaters on the team anyway.

          • East van canuck

            Are you really this dumb or is it an act, man? It’s all about the ‘A’ guy because 30 NHL teams passed on Gagner for *FREE* – giving up no assets, and so did the Canucks who are still paying his salary and letting him skate for the Marlies instead. So, who is too blame for this mess guy… clue – J*M B****NG.

      • TheRealRusty

        Tyhee. I totally agree. Gagner has 3.5 million reasons to not sulk, be a pro and honour his contract. Dont like being sent down to the AHL? Then roll up your sleeves and do whatever it takes not to put yourself (and your family) in that position. Show good work ethic back checking in your own end and compete for the puck. He obviously could have taken less money in exchange for a NTC/NMC but he didnt.

      • Kid Canuck

        Totally agree – why on Earth further strengthen the reigning Calder champion and powerhouse division rival Marlies when Utica are crying out for this kind of player to boost the depth, young players and push for a Calder at farm team level!!?? Utica isn’t that far from TO either – suck it up along wth the huge paycheck Benning gave you in the forst place. Terrible asset management again any way you look at it.

      • I would have designated Gaudette as the #1 centre. He has a similar skillset to Gagner but plays a much more physical game. It’s not like it’s coming out of junior nor is he a run of the mill guy. He’s a Hobey Baker winner. I’d want to play the crap out of him to prep him for next year with the Canucks.

        Gaunce played centre in Utica and did quite well. He’s like Reid Boucher – good in the AHL, ineffective in the NHL.
        MacEwen and Hamilton anchor the bottom 6 but I can see MacEwen playing a Top 9 role to help him challenge for an NHL roster spot next year as well.

        I recognize that Gagner is now helping the competition which is why I wanted him around for the playoffs but the AHL is a development league. The best way to develop is to give your prospects the ice-time and practice time they need to get better. We already saw what happens when the AHL team tries to win at the expense of development (i.e. Chicago Wolves), let’s not go down that path again.

    • Braindead Benning

      Lol… Your such an idiot…”respectful” for an NHL vet getting a guaranteed 3.5 for 3 years and provided basically nothing !!! Gagne should consider this a lottery win. BTW, Bud how far do you wanna put your nose up old Jimbos ass…it was one of the most stupid UFA signings besides basically (all of them) except Vanek & Verbata…

      • LTFan

        You are the idiot. Your number for what Gagner was signed for is – “incorrect”. Easy to look up – but for you it is just run off at the mouth. Braindead you are.

  • Nuck16

    So the $3million question is…..who’s paying his salary? I assume we are, but seems silly to pay a guy $3mil, when the reason you brought him in, in the first place was to play with the young guys….last time I checked, lots of young guys in Utica…

    • liqueur des fenetres

      I guess the guys in Utica don’t need anyone to teach them how to be a pro? Or maybe that module of their development only takes place when they get called up to the bigs?

      • Nuck16

        Well, maybe he’s not playing well enough right now to be a good influence on anybody, regardless of league…then once he is playing well again, we can repatriate him with our organization. If that’s their thinking, then I agree.

  • DJ_44

    As Friedman pointed out in a radio hit yesterday; aside from doing the player a solid family wise, playing in Toronto also provides Gagner and the Canucks with a bigger stage for NHL GMs to see him, as they will often be able to take in Marlies games when they are travelling through Toronto.

  • Dirty30

    This is looking like the Frankie Goes To Toronto crisis all over again!

    All summer it’s been non-stop grousing about Gagner — “useless, blocking a prospect, weak on D, not scoring!” and when JB moves him out it’s grousing about his consummate professionalism, his teaching young players, his sudden skill as a top line centre.

    Gagner simply wasn’t going to work on this team, and wasn’t going to work on the Comets either. Any chance to get him off the books looks good for this team and if TO takes him in any capacity, then good for them.

    Maybe JB gets a deal with TO for an asset that helps this club.

    Remember— TO has been picked by some as #1 contender for the SC … Canucks …. some have said #31 …

    Right now TO can evaluate Gagner for free, and if this finally motivates him then he can be traded to TO and stay with the farm or be brought up as a spare.

    He is not going to be playing for the Marlies in the playoffs… not going to happen. This is nothing but a chance for TO to evaluate him for no obligation.

  • RobG

    Holy, bipolar much?

    “Gagne Is useless why is he here”

    “If any prospects show better in pre season he needs to go”

    Gagner gets outplayed in preseason

    “There is no place on this team for Gagner anymore, he needs to go.”

    Management waives Gagne and generally does right by the player by loaning him to an AHL team where he is close to his family and can get a better look from other NHL teams for the express purpose of trading him and getting him back into the NHL ASAP.

    “What the hell is Benning doing? This is terrible asset management. Another blunder by JB and the Canucks”

    If this wasn’t so sad, it would be funny.

    • East van canuck

      Where is the bi-polar in that guy… everyone knows Gagner is garbage on the Canucks but the 3 million a year Benning gave this bust is terrible asset management, as is giving him away to the Marlies instead of our own team in Utica where his NHL experience could be utilised to the benefit of the Comets.

      An absolute disgrace and what is sad is that muppets here *THINK* NHL scouts/GMs don’t already know everything about Gagner and that sending him to the Marlies somehow enhances his trade value!

      • liqueur des fenetres

        1. It’s only money (FA has lots) and right now the cap and roster spots aren’t problems.
        2. Benning realized that the signing was a Linden-influenced mistake and that the player in question wasn’t a suitable mentor.

      • RobG

        It’s just as sad that you THINK that management and coaching staff didn’t evaluate all the options on the table (including sending him to Utica) before loaning him to the Marlies. If his skills and experience were best suited in Utica, that’s where he would be. You are stuck operating under the assumption that canucks brass are idiots and don’t know what they are doing so I guess there is no convincing you, a person with intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the club, that sending him over to Toronto was the best thing to do for all parties involved. There is no argument that Gagner has been bad and he likely has no trade value but this is managements best route to getting some kind of asset in return, even if it’s a late round pick. By the way, why are you hung up on the contract? The team is 20M below the cap and ownership had no problem paying it so what does it matter? In the long run, signing “that bust” did nothing to improve the teams overall performance and actually helped them get to the bottom and secure a higher draft pick. So what’s the problem?

        • East van canuck

          It’s not an assumption guy, the standings, bonehead moves and no playoffs in years under this pathetic regime which caused team president Trevor Linden to leave in the summer prove they are idiots.

          The correct thing to do is to send Gagner to Utica where he can benefit the youngsters and use his NHL experience to make the farm team better for the franchise that pays his goddamn wages! Then he can raise his own game there to get a recall or perhaps a move to an nhl team… not bolster the marlies and be closer to his family ffs – THAT’S the problem.

          • RobG

            Man you are a genius! Without knowing a single thing about what is going on internally, you always seem to know what the correct thing to do is from the comfortable position behind your computer screen. Here’s an idea, why don’t you send your resume to Mr. Aquellini along with an awesome cover letter explaining how much of an idiot Jim Benning is and how certain you are that you know how to run a hockey team and manage it’s players better than the current manager. You sound like you are the right man for the job, I’m sure he’d hire you in a heartbeat.

        • East van canuck

          Speaking of hindsight…

          “Don’t want to hear about “ifs”, the team is what it is right now………..and it is deplorable. I was primed for the longer rebuild, but this parting with very good nhl and ahl prospects has me less and less interested in this team. – Bud Poile 2016/17 season

    • Mbossy22

      100% agree with this post. I personally thought that this was the next-to-best-case scenario for the Canucks as he may have taken up valuable top-6 minutes in Utica as well as showing respect to a veteran NHLer and his young family which other NHLers may take note of. However, it seems that some posters here don’t agree. (best case scenario would’ve been if Gagner got claimed, btw)