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Sam Gagner signs one-year contract with Blue Jackets

Center had eight goals, 16 points for Flyers last season @NHL

Center Sam Gagner signed a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.

Gagner, who will turn 27 on Aug. 10, was an unrestricted free agent. He had eight goals and 16 points in 53 games with the Philadelphia Flyers last season, and has 124 goals and 228 assists (352 points) in 615 NHL games with the Flyers, Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers.

"Getting a chance to play a key role was a big thing for me," Gagner told the Blue Jackets website. "I had a chance to speak with management and the coaching staff, and they think my best hockey is still in front of me, which I agree with. They felt there was a good opportunity for me to get some pretty prime offensive minutes, and that's something I was really looking for in my next team. It's a great city with great fans, so there were many different things that led to making this decision."

On June 27, 2015, Gagner was traded from the Coyotes to the Flyers with a conditional draft pick for defensemen Niklas Grossmann and Chris Pronger, a 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee.

"We don't have a right-handed shot at center," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "We don't have a right-handed shot who can play on the half-wall (on the power play) other than Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he's just coming into the league. ... Sam really has tremendous hockey sense, really good playmaking ability. He can think the game quickly, make plays, create offense."

The Oilers took Gagner with the No. 6 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, and he had 49 points during his rookie season in 2007-08, the highest total of his nine-year career. He scored eight points (four goals, four assists) in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 2, 2012; Gagner is the only NHL player to score eight points in a regular-season game since Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 31, 1988.

"From a personal standpoint, I'm as hungry as I've ever been," Gagner told the website. "I'm motivated to have success, and coming to Columbus where everyone feels like last year was an underachieving year, I think it's going to bode well. We're a determined group and we're looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong. It's an exciting challenge for all of us."

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