Edmonton Oilers place Sam Gagner on waivers

Dallas Stars' Joel L'Esperance (38) and Edmonton Oilers' Sam Gagner (89) battle for the puck during second period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 28, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Edmonton Oilers placed forward Sam Gagner on waivers on Monday, two days before the Oilers start to the NHL regular season.

Head coach Dave Tippett called Gagner a “good person” and a “smart hockey guy,” but said there just wasn’t room for him on the team.

“Sam was caught in a situation where we want to have elite penalty killers at the bottom end of our lineup,” Tippett said. “We want to have people who have a job to kill penalties and be sound down there. Sam doesn’t fit in that. Sam fits more in a top six or a complimentary role and we put some of those younger, quicker legs in those spots.

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“Right now we think there’s a couple of these guys that bring extra pace to our game and that coupled [Markus] Granlund, [Josh] Archibald, JJ [Jujhar Khaira] and [Colby] Cave that are penalty killers, there just wasn’t a spot for him here.”
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Tippett said he still expected Gagner to be dressed in Oilers colours for a few games this season, as long as he makes it through waivers.

The Oilers acquired Gagner in February in a move that saw Ryan Spooner go to the Vancouver Canucks.

Gagner previously spent eight years with Edmonton from 2007 to 2015. After that he played with Arizona, Philadelphia, Columbus and Vancouver.

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On Monday, defenceman Brandon Manning was also placed on waivers while defenceman William Lagesson was assigned to the Bakersfield Condors.

The Oilers open their regular season at home on Wednesday, hosting the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place. 630 CHED pre-game coverage starts at 6 p.m. and the puck drops at 8 p.m.

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