Canucks acquire Ryan Spooner from Edmonton for Sam Gagner

The Canucks have made a trade this Saturday morning:

Ryan Spooner is a player that GM Jim Benning is familiar with as he was drafted by the Bruins in 2010 while Benning was working for that organization. At last year’s trading deadline, Spooner was sent to the New York Rangers as part of the Rick Nash deal. He was sent to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Ryan Strome earlier this year. Spooner has struggled this season with both the Rangers and Oilers which eventually led to him being waived and assigned to the AHL.

In 41 games between the Rangers and Oilers this season, he has three goals and two assists. In seven AHL games since being sent to Bakersfield, he has two goals and four assists.

Sam Gagner was signed as a free agent by the Canucks in the summer of 2017. After a reasonably effective year last season that saw him post ten goals and twenty-one assists, it was clear that he wasn’t in the Canucks plans going forward. He was waived to start the season and then loaned to the Toronto Marlies. He did end up appearing in seven games for the Canucks this season but was dispatched back to the Marlies.

This deal gives both players a fresh start with new organizations and both teams are likely hoping to extract value from players with one year left on their deal. Spooner provides some centre depth for the Comets in the short term and will be coming up to the Canucks after their road trip.

While Gagner probably gets back up to the NHL after falling out of favour with the Canucks.

In that aforementioned deal between New York and Edmonton, the Rangers retained $900,000 (of the full year salary) on Spooner’s $4.0M annual average value contract, so the Canucks earn a cap savings of $50,000 for the 2019-20 season.

So the cap hit difference is negligible for both teams and allows a chance for both players to start fresh in a new city.

    • Nuck16

      Not much point in making any Gagner comparisons considering the Canucks have already written him off, so the only things that matters in this trade is salary and cap hit, and since that’s a wash, it’s a win for the Canucks since we traded a player we’ve given up on for one they think could potentially be of use.

      • I think Spooner can be a help, if deployed properly. Like all UFA’s, he was overpaid but the retained salary on the NYR trade helps. He excelled when playing behind Krejci and Bergeron, he may be able to add more scoring punch than Granlund or Eriksson. He could play with Gaudette on the 3rd line and we could have two centres for face-offs.

    • You are obviously not very smart. ? no way does Spooner play better in bottom 6. He needs top 6 minutes. With offensive players. That’s why he failed in Edmonton. Pretty sure they never really gave him a shot with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisatl. That was Edmonton’s mistake. Gagner however was also not deployed properly, so I’m not sure I got faith HCTG will give him the proper deployment.

      • Disagree. The reason why Spooner didn’t produce in Edmonton is because he played only 8-9 mins TOI before sending him to Bakersfield. That’s sub-4th line minutes, how are you supposed to score when you aren’t on the ice?

  • EP40MVP

    what i dont get is the oilers WAIVED him before.If the canucks WANTED him they could have got him off WAIVERS instead of TRADING an asset for him. You can’t tell me they had to trade Gagner for him they literally could have had him a month ago off waivers

    • Killer Marmot

      Spooner was placed on waivers on January 29 when the Canucks were healthy and Gaudette was getting sent down. They would have had to place someone on waivers to claim Spooner, including possibly Spooner himself.

      Now they’ve got a bunch of injuries, and presumably won’t have to put anyone on waivers to place Spooner on the roster.

      • EP40MVP

        Yeah but when those injuries become healthy again they going to have to waive people anyways wouldnt it be better to have gotten a draft pick or an assest instead of someone who is on a high cap+probably will be waived?

        • Killer Marmot

          1. It’s possible that the Canucks will not be fully healthy again for the rest of the season. Management plays coy with the seriousness of the injuries, but I suspect a couple of players (e.g., Baertschi) are done for the season.

          2. They can send MacEwen, Brisebois, or Gaudette down if they want to avoid waivers.

          • Killer Marmot

            If you rather have spooner over gaudette/macEwen on the roster ok..

            Spooner has played good hockey in the recent past, and he’s only 27. I don’t know what went wrong this season, but he’s worth the risk. If he returns to a 40-point-a -year man next season then Benning will have done very well.

            But at the rate that injuries are happening, the problem is likely moot.

          • Dirty30

            I doubt Baertschi comes back this season unless they make the playoffs and he’s absolutely 100% cleared to play.

            If the Canucks miss the playoffs then guys like Sutter and Baertschi, maybe Tanev, will just stay on LTIR.

            That means that Spooner could play unless there are audition call ups.

    • speering major

      This isn’t rocket surgery

      If the Canucks claim him off waivers, they still have Gagners contract. Now they have moved Gagners contract. Both players cleared waivers because nobody wanted their contract.

      Got it?

      Good for you!

      • EP40MVP

        Im not saying its a bad move to dump gagner contract just not the return its better to get a draft pick instead of a player who takes up another roster spot that could be given to someone like gaudette/macEwen dont forget spooner plays centre as well.thats one too many centres

        • DJ_44

          You are not getting a pick for Gagner …teams could have had him for free on waivers. Edmonton cannot give up a pick because they need to balance salary-in vs salary-out due to cap issues.

          Spooner is waiver exempt for 30 days or 10 games since he has already cleared and is currently in the AHL, so can be sent to Utica with the same ease as Gaudette, or MacEwen.

    • Killer Marmot

      As an additional point, the owners might have told Benning that they don’t mind paying someone $3 million a year, but not to play for the Marlies. Fans don’t care, but the accountants do.

      And further, they may have

    • canuckfan

      So you wanted to keep Gagner and have both him and Spooner. Better to make the trade get some more depth Utica needs another center Gagner was playing somewhere else which didn’t help. If Spooner picks it up and becomes the player he once was then Benning got a buy.

    • jaybird43

      You can obviously make the same argument about Spooner. If you’ve got an under-performing player (based on contract $/term) that you don’t want and no one else will take, then the next best thing is a trade for a player you think is slightly better with roughly similar contract $/term issues. At least that way you get a chance to test drive a new player, and see if the “scenery” change benefits them. Worst-case is that nothing changes for your club. Best case is (as here) slight cap and cost improvement while exploring the player’s potential.

  • Killer Marmot

    A very Benning-like trade. Not a block buster, just a deal that turns an asset Vancouver couldn’t use to one they might.

    Spooner’s having a rough year, but he’s put up impressive totals in the past, and presumably his style is more to Green’s liking.

    • Freud

      A very Benning like conclusion.

      Take a player like Gagner, throw questionable money and term at him for pointless reasons. Get the ignorant, cheerleading fans excited with the prospect for flipping him at a deadline for picks, despite no evidence Benning has the guile to do such a thing. Then watch the coaching staff misuse him until he has no value.

      Then trade him for a fringe player, who has to also have a Bruins connection, with roughly the same back story.

      Surprise, surprise. It was Chiarelli that took Spooner and killed his value.

      Giving up a first and a second for Gudbransen, despite basic public evidence screaming not to do it is also a very Chiarelli type move. Eventually getting a fraction of what you paid back for Gudbransen, after a disastrous few years would also be classic Chiarelli. So it’s pretty obvious how Gudbransen is going to end.

      75% of Oiler fans endlessly defended and excused Chiarelli’s moves over at Oilernation. Before they knew it, the team was left with two superstar scorers that were gifted to the team through the draft and the rest of the bottom 6 and the defence was a complete mess. Not surprised we continue to see the same things here.

      Benning is Chiarelli, Einhorn is Finkle.

          • liqueur des fenetres

            Do you think that Edmonton approached Vancouver about this deal? Or given the fact that Spooner is another one of Benning’s past flames the odds are much higher that it’s something that Benning pursued (instead of doing other arguably more impactful things).

          • Killer Marmot

            My guess is that Benning has been shopping Gagner most of the season, but that Gretzky proposed this particular deal. Gretzky’s a new manager, and likely itching to wheel and deal. And he needs scoring wingers — desperately.

        • Defenceman Factory

          Killer he has no thoughts, period. He uses whatever rumour, revisionist history, straight fiction, cherry picked stats or complete delusion to create ridiculous, mind numbing rants to express his hatred for Benning. Whatever validity there may have been in criticism about Benning’s performance is lost under multiple layers of pure BS.

          I’m wondering if he has yet been able to fabricate a rationale for why his hero Linden re-signed the evil Benning.

  • #27Train.

    “Nothing from Nothing needs nothing, Ya better have something, if ya wanna be with me”‘
    Speaking of Spooning, a Jake Virtanen vs Luke Schenn spooning contest would be interesting..
    Crofton would Love it!!

    • MattyT

      Excellent news and long overdue – this no life parasite and insult to the Poile family has been the root of all evil on this site for three years now. The atmosphere and discourse has already improved tenfold.

      Anyways, yet another pointless, meaningless rearranging of borderline NHL plugs with this typical Benning wash ‘move’ that gets us no nearer to playoff hockey in Vancouver whatsoever.

      Remember, this from a GM who told us… “The bottom line is our goal is win games and to be competitive to make the playoffs. That’s what we’re here for.” – Jim Benning Feb 14th 2018

      Try and connect the dots here guys. Don’t be as dim as Jim eh.

  • copey

    So does this suggest Sutter is done, for at least the year ?

    And if I were Granlund, I’d be worried too. I think Granlund is a very competent player, a bit misused, but who can slot in anywhere and is much better value than Spooner. But Greener is hard on him, because?

    And GMJB, please trade for a defenceman, just get Gudbrandson the hell out; Schenn can easily take that role. I’m gonna cringe watching Gudbrandson playing tonight. If he was -3 against LA, what can we expect against SJ? -5?

    • speering major

      I’m hoping these moves (Spooner Schenn) set up Benning to move Sutter and Gudbranson. Maybe even Tanev.

      WIth Guadette, Spooner, and Granlund available, I think there is enough depth to move on from Sutter without the fan base melting down. If Benning could add 2 or more draft picks this season it would be a big win. I wouldn’t mind seeing a pick or two used to move up in the draft so they can target a future #3 (or better) center and another RHD.

        • speering major


          You can never have enough depth at center. On top of that, Gaudette is 21 and hasn’t proven he is a NHL regular yet, never mind a #3 center. Never mind a high end #3 center. Yes he’s looked better in the last couple of games and is on the right trajectory but slotting him as a high end #3 in your long term plans at this point is beyond optimistic. The Canucks might have LHD and G prospects they can be confident in, otherwise depth is thin everywhere

  • Beer Can Boyd

    No risk in this trade, but at this point, Spooner looks like just another borderline ex Bruin, joining Schaller on the list. Hopefully he proves me wrong.

  • Kanuckhotep

    At least Benning finally dealt with the whole Sam Gagner issue. At least Spooner is younger and cheaper which are two reasonable positives stemming from this deal. It’s the kind of transaction fans have come to expect from GMJB as Luke Schenn was the same kind of thing. Again like Schenn we’ll see if Spooner can play and contribute to the Canucks.

  • bushdog

    seems to me to be another desperation move by the oilers. is gagner going to fix what ails them? no chance!! that old boys club has ruined the franchise and unless 7-8 people are completely isolated from the team they will never recover. what a shame that they are destroying the best player in the league

  • Rodeobill

    Sometimes a fresh start works out. Sometimes the opposite. Both Gagner and Eriksson played very well on previous teams, but didn’t fit in here. Baerschi found his game after getting here. Wait and see how he does, I guess. Kinda like getting another free ticket after whiffing on the Gagner signing. I kinda get the feeling both Gaudette and Macewan are gaining TGs trust, and hopefully will stay up, I know they are gaining mine. In limited minutes, both have definitely been some of the better players on the ice for us, or at least far from the worst, so hopefully this means more trades coming rather than utica.

  • Bud Poile

    Benning would have been instrumental in drafting Spooner.
    Gets an NHL gig for Gagner and shores up the depth pool while utilising a contract that was a lost signing.

    • Kevlar73

      This is my hope and it will probably not happen but here goes. I’d like to see Gaudette stay up playing 3rd line centre. Hopefully in a few weeks if Sutter comes off IR you move him onto the wing with either Gaudette or Bo. Somehow if he can start getting a few goals and still provide good penalty killing maybe he might revive some trade value and therefore can be dealt at the draft for either prospect or a pick. I know this is wishful thinking on my part but a Canucks fan can dream can’t he lol

    • Bud Poile

      Researched Jim’s titles and duties within the Bruins organisation and Jim was in charge of player evaluation
      as Asst. G.M. when Spooner was drafted in 2010.
      However, Spooner was a raw rookie with the Peterborough Petes two years after Benning left scouting full-time.
      Jim would be familiar with Spooner but I am not clear on how the Bruins relied upon Benning in their draft process at that time.

  • Macksonious

    Since both players weren’t working out for their respective teams, its likely a lateral move with a slim chance of upside. Worth a try, nothing to lose.


    Dear Jim Benning, please trade Gudbrandson for a broken hockey stick, 6 used practice pucks but we need to get him off our team. He commits turn over after turn over, was supposed to be there to protect our stars. Does anyone see that happening?