Even though the NHL is in the middle of a roster freeze while the Olympics put the league on a hiatus, that doesn’t mean general managers aren’t working behind the scenes to set up deals as soon as the freeze is lifted.
According to The Fourth Period, the Nashville Predators are very interested in acquiring Sam Gagner from the Edmonton Oilers. The deal would likely include David Legwand, who the Predators have been actively shopping for over a month.
Gagner is having a bit of a disappointing season this year, only scoring six goals on an underwhelming team. However, the 24-year-old could be a welcome addition for a Nashville team that always needs speedy players with an offensive upside. A change of scenery could do him well, and with two years left on his deal the Predators would be putting him into their plans for the foreseeable future. With forward prospects such as Filip Forsberg, Taylor Beck and Brandon Leipsic on their way to the club as early as next year, Nashville’s offense could get a boost.
The deal would also fill Legwand’s spot at center, though many of Nashville’s forwards are natural centers. Legwand, the first-ever draft pick for the Predators organization, is having a fantastic year, but the 33-year-old is set to become a UFA at the end of this season. It makes sense for the Predators to move him for something of value, especially if he is no longer in their long-term plans. He will no doubt get a substantial payday when he hits the open market, and it may be more than Nashville wants to spend.
Gagner has also been on the trading block for a while and was almost dealt to the Los Angeles Kings for Kyle Clifford in a deal that would have been a bit of a head-scratcher. This one is less so. It makes sense for both sides. The young Oilers get a veteran center who can help their crop of young forwards, and Nashville gets a younger player who can help them beyond this season.