Days after it was announced that centre Chris Mueller would be week-to-week with a hamstring injury, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate has been dealt another hefty blow.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 16, 2019
Gagner, who the Canucks loaned to the Marlies at the beginning of the year, has been a key cog for Toronto’s farm team this season. Through 43 games, Gagner has recorded 37 points while anchoring the teams second forward line and first power play unit. The 29-year-old forward proved to be far superior than his peers in the AHL.
Now, Gagner will get one more kick at the can in Edmonton, where he spent his first seven NHL seasons.
Although this transaction does not directly impact the Toronto Maple Leafs, it certainly affects the organizations player development program.
Gagner was one of the teams most reliable veteran players and his presence was vital to the progression of some of the Marlies young wingers. Marlies general manager Laurence Gilman elaborated on such when Gagner was first brought into the fold, in early October.
“He’s there to make the young forwards on our team—like Adam Brooks or Jeremy Bracco–better,” Gilman told reporters ahead of the Marlies’ home opener. “Whether that’s making them better by distributing the puck to them in places where they can put it into the net. Or watching him go about applying his trade, day after day, as a highly skilled professional.”
Don’t be surprised if the organization goes out and acquires another high-quality veteran like Gagner.