Rumors surrounding Sam Gagner and his future in Edmonton

Q: I can’t see New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello being interested in Sam Gagner, but the New York Islanders might be desperate enough. Do you think Islanders GM Garth Snow would give up a first-round draft pick for Gagner? In next June’s draft that is loaded with defenceman, a first-rounder has great value.

(Vance, Leduc)

A: Gagner’s long-term status with the Edmonton Oilers is up in the air. With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins making the team and centring Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, and captain Shawn Horcoff as the No. 2 centre, that means Gagner is No. 3. Do the Oiler want that? I’m not so sure. I don’t know how Gagner is perceived by other NHL clubs. He puts up points, but there’s a feeling he isn’t a true playmaker as a centre and isn’t a scorer, so he’s hard to fit into a slot. I think he’s a 40-50 point a season player, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Would that fetch a first-rounder if they were to trade him? Probably not, although former Oiler Dustin Penner did, so who really knows? If the Oilers did move Gagner, I think they would throw a defenceman into the mix to sweeten the pot.

The Calgary Flames need a centre, but the Oilers aren’t trading with them. So does the Ottawa Senators, who only have Jason Spezza. The Devils are hurting without Travis Zajac and the Islanders need somebody behind John Tavares, who happens to be Gagner’s buddy. The Oilers have too many forwards; they may also have too many defencemen.

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