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Oilers ink Sam Gagner, Brandon Sutter to professional tryout agreements

Sam Gagner is back for his third tour of duty with the Oilers, while Brandon Sutter will look to make his NHL return after a lengthy, COVID-related absence.

The Edmonton Oilers have signed forwards Brandon Sutter and Sam Gagner to professional tryout agreements, the team announced on Monday.

Both are expected to compete for bottom-six roles within the organization, with the Oilers' summer roster reshape rendering the squad somewhat thin up the middle.

Sutter, 34, is set to return to pro hockey for the first time since the 2020-21 season. After contracting COVID-19 during a team outbreak while playing for the Vancouver Canucks, the centerman was forced to step away from the game for the past two campaigns as he battled long COVID symptoms.

Brandon Sutter (right) and Sam Gagner have each been tendered PTOs from the Edmonton Oilers, the team announced on Monday. (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Brandon Sutter (right) and Sam Gagner have each been tendered PTOs from the Edmonton Oilers, the team announced on Monday. (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

More recently, however, Sutter had expressed optimism surrounding his ability to return to the NHL, with reports from Oilers radio voice Bob Stauffer first linking the pivot to the club earlier this month.

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"You never know, but I feel like I’m working my way through it and I see light at the end of the tunnel," Sutter said back in March on Sportsnet's Eric Francis Show.

In addition to Sutter's return to the pro ranks, Gagner, also 34, is set to potentially make a return to the Copper and Blue this upcoming season after inking an identical deal.

Gagner, who heads into his third tour of duty with the Oilers, was drafted by the club in 2007 and spent seven years with the team between 2007-14 before rejoining the organization for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.

Most recently, the veteran forward played 48 games for the Winnipeg Jets last season, totalling eight goals and 14 points.

Edmonton is set to look different along the fringes of their forward corps this upcoming season after making multiple moves to reshape the club.

Most notably, general manager Ken Holland shipped off wingers Kailer Yamamoto and Klim Kostin to the Detroit Red Wings for future considerations, then added forward Connor Brown on the opening day of free agency.