Coyotes considering buying out Sam Gagner


Sam Gagner scored 15 goals for the Coyotes this past season. (Jay LaPrete/AP)

The Arizona Coyotes are seriously considering buying out the contract of Sam Gagner, which has the Toronto Maple Leafs interested.

The cash-strapped Coyotes are on the hunt for centremen, and have come to the conclusion that Gagner simply isn’t a fit. Arizona GM Don Maloney has been attempting to trade Gagner while at the NHL Draft, but chances are he would have to take someone else’s bad contract back. Maloney may settle for a buy-out at one-third of the money owed, as Gagner is still just 25 years old.

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If bought out, the 25-year-old Gagner would perk the interest of the Leafs as a winger when free agency opens on July 1. Toronto needs young NHL players in their lineup, and Gagner would bring considerable experience at a relatively inexpensive price after being bought out.

Despite the fact Gagner will turn 26 on Aug. 10, he has played 562 NHL games since being drafted No. 6 overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2007. His most memorable NHL game was an eight-point night for the Oilers on Feb. 2, 2012 versus Chicago.

The Coyotes are on the hook for two-thirds of Gagner’s deal, with Tampa having retained one-third in a previous deal. With a salary of $5 million, Arizona would owe two-thirds of one-third of that ($1.11 million), split over two seasons. Their cap hit would be just over $500,000 per season.

He had 15-26-41 in 81 games for Arizona last season, and was a minus-28. He had a faceoff percentage of 46.8%.

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