Sam Gagner's year with the Philadelphia Flyers might be coming to a premature end. The Flyers placed the forward on waivers Tuesday afternoon, and the intention is that he will be sent to the AHL should no team claim him off waivers.
Should he be claimed or not, Gagner's move means one important thing for the Flyers rosters: they won't be sending defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere back to the Phantoms, which was a possibility due to the salary cap crunch caused by the return of defenseman Mark Streit to the lineup.
Instead, the Flyers will to clear that space by removing Gagner from the mix. Gagner has been disappointing since joining the Flyers this season, acquired in the summer trade that sent Nicklas Grossmann and the Ghost of Chris Pronger to the Arizona Coyotes. Gagner has been in and out of the lineup both with injuries and as a healthy scratch, and he has only five points in his 18 games so far this season.
Gagner makes $5 million this season, but only $3.2 million of that counts against the Flyers cap. Still, that price tag might be enough to make teams wary of picking him up off waivers. He's a free agent after the season. The 3.2 million in savings is more than enough for the Flyers to keep their roster otherwise in tact upon Streit's return.
R.J. Umberger was another candidate for waivers, and there's a case to be made that he deserved the demotion more than Gagner. But while that may be true, it's hard to get terribly upset over Gagner being the odd man out.