The NHL's Free Agency frenzy started on Saturday and one of the Canadian-based teams made a transaction. The Vancouver Canucks signed free agent Sam Gagner. According to Spotrac, Gagner is signed for three years and $9.45 million over three seasons. That works out to $3.1 million per year and it appears to be a good risk for the Canucks at this stage in their history.

Vancouver coming off a bad season

Vancouver definitely needed some help as they finished 7th in the Pacific Division last year and did not qualify for the playoffs.

Gagner, a former first-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers, spent last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He did have a bit of a comeback season in 2016-17, tallying 50 points in 81 games. That followed a campaign with the Philadelphia Flyers in the previous season where he had just 16 points in 53 games. His 2016-17 season helped re-establish himself as a dependable NHL player that's better than a half-point per game on average.

A knock against the diminutive Gagner has always been his size. He is only 5-11, which is certainly on the small side when it comes NHL standards.

However, he does bring speed to the table and he could certainly help the Canucks on the powerplay. Last year in Columbus, he had 18 points when his team had the man advantage. Meanwhile, the Canucks were the worst team in terms of power play percentage last season, scoring just 14.1% of the time with the man advantage. This weakness is an area where Gagner could certainly help out.

The center is now 27-years-old and should be on the upside of his career.

Last season, his 50 points marked a career high and there might be slight improvements on that in the years ahead. The Canucks don't quite project to be playoff contenders in what is a very competitive Pacific Division at this point. However, if they remain active during the offseason with free agents or trades they could turn into a team that might challenge for the final playoff spots.

Gagner could be part of post-Sedin era

Furthermore, the Sedin twins each have just one year left on their contracts, each worth $7 million for next season. The twins, long-time faces of the Vancouver Canucks, are 36-years-old and certainly have far less years in front of them in the NHL than they have behind them. When their contracts expire at this time next year, Vancouver will have a lot more wiggle room for bigger signings. Perhaps it will be at that time when the Canucks are able to make a stronger move to contend once again.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!