It certainly seemed like Sam Gagner was going to get bought out when, the other day, Ron Hextall was totally non-committal about his future with the organization.
Acquired in the deal that saw Nicklas Grossmann and The Ghost of Chris Pronger head to Arizona, Gagner was the leading scorer among forwards on a bad Coyotes team last year -- yet even still, their general manager told the media that they didn't see him as an NHL player.
The Flyers must see him as an NHL player, however, because despite the cap savings they would see if they were to buy him out, they're keeping him around.
#Flyers have informed Sam Gagner they will keep him. Didn’t waive him and not looking to trade him.— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) June 30, 2015
We wrote the other day that we're on board with this decision. Here's the basis of the argument for keeping Gagner:
Take a look at this year's free agency class, and answer this question: is there anyone out there who ...
- ... has a more established track record of NHL production than Gagner/will probably be a better player than him?
- ... will be able to be signed to a lower-risk contract than the one-year, $3.2 million contract that Gagner is on? A contract that's likely to provide good value and won't blow up in the Flyers' face?
- ... is likely to want to go to the Flyers over any other teams?
Let me know when you find anyone out there who hits all three of those points. I'm not holding my breath.
Gagner isn't a bad player. He's bounced around now and again throughout his career, but he's never scored fewer than 37 points in an NHL season. Add him to the Flyers today and he's not even close to among the worst forwards on the team.