Latest on Sam Gagner, Jamie Benn, Gabe Landeskog & more in this morning’s collection of notable NHL headlines.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets are reportedly close to signing unrestricted free agent center Sam Gagner to a one-year contract, The deal coud be finalized on Monday, August 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have around $4.4 million salary-cap space. Gagner, 26, is completing a three-year deal worth $4.8 million per season, but he won’t get anywhere close to that with the Jackets.
While still a versatile forward who can play center or wing with six 40-plus point seasons on his resume, Gagner’s stock is in decline. He managed a career-worst 16 points with the Philadelphia Flyers last season. He could get up to $2 million from the Jackets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the figure is closer to $1.5 million. The fact this is a one-year deal indicates it’s more of a stop-gap measure by the Jackets to boost their depth at center.
NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars center Jamie Benn is currently recovering from recent surgery to repair a core muscle injury. However, he expects to be fully recovered in time to play for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey in September.
NBC SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche forward Gabe Landeskog regrets his decision to try and play through the pain of a concussion back in 2013. He’s sharing his story with a charitable foundation that focuses on concussion awareness.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: There’s concern that age and a nagging knee injury will continue to hinder Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Kronwall’s performance last season is among the reasons why Wings GM Ken Holland is keen to acquire a top-three defenseman. Should the veteran blueliner continue to struggle, Holland could ramp up his search efforts via the trade market.