The Winnipeg Jets are bringing in some veteran depth.
After a largely inactive offseason to this point, the Jets finally dipped their toes in the free agent pool on Friday afternoon, agreeing to terms with forward Sam Gagner on a one-year contract worth $750,000.
Gagner has been around for so long that it's easy to miscast him as a Jason Spezza-type greybeard, given his longevity in the league and extensive tenure with the Edmonton Oilers. But Gagner will only be 33 when the regular season begins in a few months' time, and seems to have plenty of tread left on his tires after 15 NHL seasons.
Despite logging under 14 minutes per night on a bad Red Wings team in 2021-22, Gagner still managed to rack up over 30 points and nearly 15 goals last season all while beginning just 41 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, providing terrific value as a depth forward making the NHL's minimum wage.
Who knows what he could do in different circumstances? The Jets project to have a better supporting cast than Gagner had in Detroit and could conceivably help him benefit from some offensively-sheltered usage. Now, Gagner could serve as the perfect addition to Winnipeg's fourth line for this season, giving the club an effective depth player making the lowest possible annual sum, and who is also revered for his leadership skills and general likability in the room.
After a rocky season internally, the Jets could certainly use some of that.
It might not have been a banner summer for Kevin Cheveldayoff's front office, but Gagner is a nice bargain add as training camp approaches.