Forward Sam Gagner wanted to stay with the Detroit Red Wings for himself, his children and particularly his wife, Rachel.
“My family has been really happy (in Detroit), too, not having to move around,” Gagner said after the 2021-22 NHL season.. “My wife’s kind of a pro mover at this point, but she’d prefer not to do every year, so that’s part of it.”
Unfortunately for Gagner, his wife’s superior moving skills will be required once again because he signed a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets for $750,000.
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) September 2, 2022
The Jets are Gagner’s seventh NHL team. Barring injury, Gagner, son of former NHLer Dave Gagner, will play his 1000th NHL game this season. His dad played 946 games also for seven different NHL teams.
Sam Gagner was job hunting in a tight market this summer. Rumors said the Oilers were interested in signing, but it didn’t happen. Gagner took a $100,000 pay cut to sign with the Jets to be a depth forward. Gagner’s lure is that he is comfortable playing in a variety of different roles.
Red Wings Respected Gagner
The Red Wings appreciated Gagner’s level of play and leadership over his three seasons in Detroit. But Yzerman went shopping and landed three forwards. Gagner’s 13 goals and 31 points represented his best offensive season since 2016-17. However, the Red Wings’ free agent forward signings (Andrew Copp, David Perron and Dominik Kubalik) all are potential 20+ goal scorers.
Gagner was popular with his teammates. He liked the role he had in Detroit. He was a respected leader and contributor. Coaches like having him.
“You talk to any hockey player, we’re all creatures of habit,” Gagner said. “We get into our routines and how we go about our business. It’s hard moving around to different teams and going through that. Certainly, I’ve really enjoyed my time here. I’ve liked that the last couple of years I’ve had a chance to kind of settle into my role and play some important minutes. That’s been nice. Being a leader is something I take a lot of pride and responsibility in, trying to help this young group grow. It’s been a lot of fun for me.”