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Photo Credit: PHOTO CREDIT: BOB FRID - USA TODAY SPORTS

Should the Leafs Make Sam Gagner Official?

“No.”

I mean, I think they should, but I just wanted to acknowledge the clever reply you just typed into twitter or facebook when you read the headline of this post. We can all agree that you are very funny, now please go away.

Anyways, now to the post…

Way back in the long ago before the season began the Vancouver Canucks placed Sam Gagner on waivers. No one claimed him because teams tend not to claim players with $3.15M cap hits committed to them for the next two seasons, especially when you are getting waived by the Canucks of all teams. Rather than sending Sam Gagner to Utica, which sounds like a horrendous fate that should be wished on no one, the Canucks did Gagner a solid and lent him out to the Marlies, so Gagner could play closer to his family. In Gagner’s 9 games with the Marlies, he’s accumulated 4 goals, and 8 points. That’s good enough for second most goals, and second most points on the Leafs to Trevor Moore (who should also be recalled to the Leafs).

The amount of Gagner’s goodness combined with the Leafs need for offensive ability should have us connecting the dots to bringing him into the Leafs organization…

BUT DAT CONTRACT

Yeah, while this season it doesn’t hinder the Leafs at all, it is a $3.15M commitment next season that doesn’t mesh well with the contractpocalypse the Leafs have lined up for the summer. The two things that could make this deal more palatable would either be the Canucks choosing to eat a significant portion of the contract, and/or the Leafs being able to send some salary back the other way, which would most preferably be in the form of Nikita Zaitsev (I’m not sure that Benning is even that stupid) or more likely Connor Brown.

With the suggestion of Connor Brown we’ll now get into debating how good Connor Brown is and I’d hope more people are landing on not very. He’s quickly regressing into a fourth liner/PK specialist that serves little purpose beyond being Mike Babcock’s comfort food. With players like Moore, Grundstrom, Marchment, and Engvall on the Marlies, there is no shortage of Brown replacements if that skill set is important to you, and dealing him would allow the Leafs to address a need, assuming that Brown is a player that the Canucks want.

Anyways…

The Leafs do have other, possibly better options. For one, they could promote Trevor Moore, who has done absolutely everything right on the Marlies this year, and was already making a strong case to make the Leafs late last season and in training camp in September. You’d have to imagine he’ll get a look at some point in the near future especially since his style of play can work in the Leafs bottom six.

Additionally they have guys like Carl Grundstrom who could also use a taste of the NHL. Of course, Adam Cracknell seems tailor fit for the a Mike Babcock 4th line, and is probably a safe bet.

There’s also that William Nylander guy, who the Leafs could try and sign. Maybe they ease him back into the lineup via a sheltered center role. (One can dream)

Yep, there’s nothing to really point at the Leafs taking the Sam Gagner route at this time, but he’s a player that is worth keeping an eye on. If the Leafs and Canucks can find a way of making the salary cap piece of a deal work, Gagner would be a welcome addition on the Leafs.

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