Gagner clears waivers, loaned to Philly’s AHL affiliate

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Cap constraints have forced yet another longtime NHLer down to the Flyers’ minor-league team in Lehigh Valley.

On Wednesday, GM Ron Hextall announced that Sam Gagner has been loaned to the Phantoms after clearing waivers — meaning that he, along with part of his $4.8 million cap hit, will be in the AHL for the next while.

(To be clear, Philly will carry $2.25M of Gagner’s hit at the NHL level. They can “bury” $950,000 in the American League, while Tampa Bay is retaining $1.6M from an earlier deal.)

Along with Andrew MacDonald — who’s making $5M annually — the Flyers now have a remarkable amount of money playing for their minor-league club.

The Gagner move was related to veteran d-man Mark Streit coming off LTIR, and the Flyers needing the requisite cap space to activate him. The club didn’t want to send down rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere.

“Any decision we made at this point wasn’t going to be easy,” Hextall said, per