Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/30/14 at 06:44 AM ET
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Edmonton’s roster right now holds only Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at first-line centre, and Boyd Gordon on the fourth-line.
Is general manager Craig MacTavish counting on newly minted draft pick Leon Draisaitl to play No. 2 centre in the NHL as an 18-year-old this fall? Or does the timing of this trade suggest that MacTavish has already landed a No. 2 centre during the interview period prior to the opening up of free agency at noon Eastern on July 1?
It’s not often you can trade, ostensibly, a 5-foot-10 winger for a 6-foot-3 one like Purcell, but this appears to be a classic case of two guys whose organizations felt it was time to move on.
Purcell comes billed as a Top 6 right-winger, but at times late in the season Tampa coach Jon Cooper had him toiling on the fourth line. He’s a pass-first player — even though Purcell is reputed to have a wicked wrist shot — who surely does not play as big as his frame might have you hoping he will.
added 7:55am, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal on Sam Gagner,
He remained loyal to the end, never groused that he was tired of all the losing and wanted out.
Gagner is a pro’s pro, a class act. When other players would maybe be ducking into backrooms, away from the prying media after losses, Gagner would be patiently waiting in his stall — a standup guy, even if he was sitting down.
He’s on my top 10 all-time Oilers to deal with, and I’ve been covering them for 35 years.
He never ducked his responsibility in the seven straight years out of the playoffs as the longest-serving Oiler; he knew he had to be better on faceoffs and better when he didn’t have the puck, knew he should be better; not that anybody expected the stars to all align as they did that Feb. 2, 2012, night against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rexall Place, when he had eight points, tying Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey for the all-time single-game record.
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