Don’t put Sam Gagner on the list of locked-out NHLers disappointed with their time playing abroad.
The Edmonton forward has been plying his trade with Klagenfurter of the Austrian League during the work stoppage, and recently told the Edmonton Sun he’s thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“It was a good opportunity for me to play and develop as a player,” Gagner explained. “It’s a league with a really high pace, so it forces me to really move my legs and I think that’s a really good thing for me going forward.”
The 23-year-old is currently on hiatus from Klagenfurter — he was part of Team Canada’s Spengler Cup-winning side — and it’s unclear if he’ll return to Austria, or head back to North America to wait for the start of the NHL season.
Either way, Gagner’s time in the EBEL (Erste Bank Eishockey Liga) has been a positive.
He racked up 10G-8A-18PTS in 19 games and also reunited with former Oilers teammate Andrew Cogliano, now with the Anaheim Ducks.
Cogliano also relished his time in Austria, albeit in a different manner than Gagner.
The Ducks forward joined Klagenfurter last month and described the experience as a reality check, citing long bus rides, small crowds and questionable officiating that made him appreciative of what he has in the NHL.
“It really does humble you,” he told the Toronto Star. “I know when I go back I won’t be taking much for granted. I can see myself playing even harder now [with the Ducks] and make sure I’m fighting for my job every game because we have it really good back home.
“We do things in the NHL that guys here wouldn’t even imagine.”
Derek Roy will continue his pro career overseas, as he has signed a contract with Bern in the Swiss League.
Roy attended training camp on a professional tryout with the Washington Capitals, but he was unable to claim a spot on their roster.
The 32-year-old had some great years in the NHL, but since the 2011-12 season Roy had suited up for six different teams (excluding his PTO with the Caps).
His best season came in 2007-08 when he scored 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games with the Buffalo Sabres.
Roy will leave the NHL with 189 goals and 524 points in 738 career games.
He will join former NHLers Cory Conacher, Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew, Simon Moser and Sean Bergenheim in Bern.
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.