First up, Tampa send winger Teddy Purcell to the Edmonton Oilers for Sam Gagner. They then traded Gagner and winger B.J. Crombeen to the newly-minted Arizona Coyotes for a sixth rounder.
Tampa wasn’t done. They also moved centre Nate Thompson to the Ducks for a fourth rounder and a seventh rounder.
What was the point of all this? Cap space.
“We cleared out some cap space and cash to hopefully do something on July 1. If not on July 1, for the future,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. “We are in position right now, whether it’s first in free agency, to try and improve our team.”
For Gagner, it must have been a little dizzying to be traded twice on one day. “It’s been a roller coaster of emotions,” he said. “I was talking to my agent, and he had said when Tampa traded for me that there might be something else going on. So it was something that I was prepared for. I wasn’t really expecting to be traded (again) today.
Arizona bought out Mike Ribeiro on Friday, so acquiring Gagner makes all kinds of sense.
“It came together in a hurry,” Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. “I think there’s three [teams] that feel pretty good about our day so far.”
Arizona is also happy with Crombeen, who will take home $1.15 million this season before hitting the market as an unrestricted free agent.
As for the Oilers, Purcell is a substantial pick-up. He has two years left on his current contract and popped in a dozen goals last season in 82 games.
“I love the guy (Purcell), he’s a popular teammate, a really good guy and I think everybody – players coaches and management – are going to miss him,” Yzerman said. “But with some younger players coming in, we need to move out some money to give us the opportunity to do other things, and we had to move Teddy’s contract to do that.”
“Obviously, Edmonton got what they needed, what they wanted and a real talented player in Teddy Purcell,” Maloney said. “Tampa received what they needed to free up a lot of cap space, they get a draft asset and we got what we wanted and we’re searching for is a young, skilled centre…in Sam Gagner and really a guy we’ve coveted for a while in B.J. Crombeen.”
Done and done.