The 6th overall pick in the 2007 draft is once again a free agent. Last year he produced a career-high 50 points for the Columbus Blue Jackets, including 18 points on the top power play unit.
Pros: Gagner is one of the younger options at center, so immediately that should entice the Rangers. The team looks to be trending younger and Gagner, at 27, still has a good amount of longevity in him. His speed and playmaking ability fit the bill of what the Rangers look at with their players.
Furthermore, Gagner excels on the power play, as was evidenced by his 18 points last season. That total is equal to what Derek Stepan, who led the Rangers in that category, had last year. Gagner is coming off of a contract worth just $650,000. He will certainly be more expensive than that, but won’t garner top end money either.
Cons: While his youth is tempting, the risk with Gagner is the inconsistency factor. Although he had 50 points last season, the year before that total was just 18. Granted he played in fewer games, but that’s still concerning.
Not only is his production up and down, but Gagner has only played one full NHL season and that was a lockout-shortened year. Though he has never sustained a devastating injury in his career, his durability is certainly a question as well.