The Edmonton Oilers aren’t in fact done. Just hours after trading Cam Talbot to the Flyers for Anthony Stolarz, they have traded forward Ryan Spooner to the Vancouver Canucks and reacquire forward Sam Gagner in return.
Both Spooner and Gagner have been buried in the AHL, so this represents a fresh opportunity for both. Spooner clearly didn’t fit into new coach Ken Hitchcock’s plans, while Gagner was the odd man out for a Canucks’ team that added more forwards than they needed this past offseason. Overall, this isn’t a trade with major fantasy implications, but let’s go through what it could mean for both teams.
The Canucks have been dealing with injuries to Sven Baertschi, Jake Virtanen, and Brandon Sutter, so the trade for Spooner should give them some much-needed scoring help with a forward that can play both center and wing. Nikolay Goldobin, Markus Granlund, and Tim Schaller have all been healthy scratches recently, so one or more of them could either be waived or traded. Adam Gaudette had been recalled because of the injury to Sutter, but he could be sent back to the AHL if/when Spooner is recalled.
Since Gagner was in Providence, RI, with the Toronto Marlies at the time of the trade, he could be in the lineup as early as tonight (Saturday) against the Islanders in Brooklyn. So we won’t have long to see how he fits in with the Oilers. Expect him to be used on either the first or second-unit power play, as he was a power-play specialist in Columbus and was signed by the Canucks in the hopes that he would improve theirs.
Once the forward lines are shuffled around in Edmonton, the Gagner acquisition could increase the odds that Jesse Puljujarvi is sent back to the AHL. The 2016 fourth overall pick has been held without a point in his last nine games while being used sparingly, and it appears that increased minutes in the AHL would help his cause (if the Oilers don’t trade him!) Colby Cave or Brad Malone are also candidates to be demoted.
Players this helps, in order:
Gagner (has already been recalled)
Spooner (will likely be recalled)
Puljujarvi (long term)
Players this hurts, in order: