Report: Sam Gagner should return tonight (Update: He’s in)

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The Edmonton Oilers are likely to get a big boost tonight as center Sam Gagner is expected to be available for their match against the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie. This follows a recent report that Gagner is “much closer” to returning.

Edmonton could certainly use all the help it can get. The Oilers have limped out of the gate and things got to the point where forward Jordan Eberle declared Saturday and Sunday’s games “must-wins.” They proceeded to lose both of those contests.

With a 3-8-2 record, they are dead last in the Western Conference and already eight games out of a playoff spot. If they continue this descent for much longer then the hole they’re Oilers digging for themselves might start to look too deep to get out of.

It’s not clear if the Oilers would consider easing Gagner back into the lineup after missing their first 13 games of the season, but either way, they will eventually need to make a decision regarding Mark Arcobello.

The 25-year-old forward has been one of the few pleasant surprises for Edmonton so far this season with 10 assists in 13 games. Arcobello has also won 52.7% of his faceoffs this season.

Gagner is in the first campaign of his three-year, $14.4 million contract. He took a big step forward in 2013 with 14 goals and 38 points in 48 games.

Update 1:21 p.m. ET

Gagner is officially in tonight, as per the Oilers’ Twitter account.