UPDATE – Breaking: Bolts Trade Purcell, Crombeen and Thompson
Clearly GM Steve Yzerman wants to clear some cap space, but Gagner, 24, has a $4.8 million cap hit (compared to Purcell’s $4.5 million) the next two seasons. He had 10 goals and 27 assists for Edmonton last season. If the Bolts don’t put Gagner on waivers, trade him or pursue a buyout, they won’t be clearing any money.
Purcell has been a disappointment of late, combining for 23 goals the past two seasons. Gagner has 101 goals in seven seasons with the Oilers.
Gagner is a natural center, but if the Bolts keep him, he could move to wing because of the glut at the center position. The Lightning got the best of this trade getting a flexible veteran forward that can play center or wing.
10:45 PM - UPDATE: The Bolts have flipped Sam Gagner and B.J. Crombeen to Arizona for a sixth round draft pick in 2015. Clearing cap room to almost $10 million. Tampa Bay is retaining 1/3 of Gagner’s salary. With the added cap room, perhaps GM Steve Yzerman is targeting a free agent defenseman.
Midnight - UPDATE: Nate Thompson has been sent to Anaheim for a fourth and seventh round pick in 2015. Thompson has a $1.6 million cap hit in each of the next three seasons. Yzerman is clearing more space.
This series of moves, and lacingt defenseman Mattias Ohlund on long-term injured reserve are most certainly a precursor to signing an elite free-agent defenseman, a backup goalie and another forward. At this point, Yzerman gas $11 million to play with starting Tuesday.
Also, due to Yzerman’s dealings, the Lightning now have 12 picks in the 2015 draft.