The 2014 NHL Draft is over, and free agency is about to begin, but betwixt these two worlds came a couple of trades, including one player being traded twice in short order. Sam Gagner is now an Arizona Coyote, after briefly being a Tampa Bay Lightning, which reads weird. By which I mean “Arizona Coyote” reads weird. Also, Daniel Briere is still considered valuable enough to be traded for, as he is now with the Colorado Avalanche.
OK, first this bit of Sam Gagner clutter. First, he went to Tampa Bay from Edmonton for Teddy Purcell. That was short-lived though, because then Arizona picked him up, along with B.J. Crombeen, for a sixth round pick. For starters, here is what I figure the Lightning are up to. It has to be cap space. I mean, I don’t think they were interested in the sixth rounder. They may be interested in signing a defenseman, such as Matt Niskanen or the recently bought out Christian Ehrhoff. Either of those would be a good signing. They have a goalie, they have some forwards, including Ryan Callahan, so adding a defenseman would be nice.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, had bought out Mike Ribeiro, and now they’ve replaced him with Gagner for next to nothing. Also, they added Crombeen. He… he’s depth. Gagner, though, is a bit of a risk. He came into the league young, having played in seven seasons despite only being 24. He’s never played a full season, but he started his career with fight straight seasons with over 40 points, culminating in a career high 18 goals and 47 points three years ago, also his only season with a positive plus-minus. However, his numbers have dipped since. He scored 10 goals and 37 points last season in 67 games. Also, his possession stats are bad. Sure, Edmonton has struggled, but the facts are the facts. Maybe a switch will help him. Otherwise, Gagner is not going to be the difference for Arizona.
Edmonton, meanwhile, added yet another center in this year’s Draft, so they had the ability to move Gagner. Purcell is a veteran winger who scored 12 goals and 42 points last season, and a couple years ago he tallied 24 goals and 65 points. I like this move for the Oilers, although they still need defensive help, and they need to hope Ben Scrivens is legit.
Hey, let’s not forget about the Briere deal. He was traded to the Avalanche for P.A. Parenteau and a fifth-round pick. I assume this is the Avalanche looking for veteran presence or something. They don’t need a center, unless they lose both Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly, which is admittedly possible. However, Briere is 36 now, turns 37 this season, and scored 13 goals and 25 points in 69 games last season. His deal is one year shorter than Parenteau’s, but do the Avalanche need to worry about that? Or couldn’t they have traded Parenteau after the season? Parenteau had 14 goals and 33 points in 55 games last season, and has been a solid performer for four seasons, and he’s only 31. He is a better player now than Briere, and the Avalanche also threw in a draft pick. I don’t get this one from Colorado’s perspective. I do get it from Montreal’s perspective, and not just because his name is Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau.