The Nashville Predators learned the hard way last season why trying to sneak a promising 23-year-old forward prospect with an NHL-ready shot through waivers is a bad idea.
So when the opportunity came about to return the favor to another club, so to speak, they pounced.
The Predators claimed former Kings second-round pick Samuel Fagemo off waivers on Monday, adding the 50th overall pick from the 2019 draft to its already deep stable of forwards.
Fagemo, who was listed as the Kings No. 10-ranked prospect in February by The Athletic, has one year left on his two-way contract that’s worth $775,000 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level.
“You never want to lose good players, and Sammy is a really good player,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said. “…If you can’t play for the Kings, you deserve an opportunity to play for another NHL team and Sammy’s going to get that. So we wish him well, he’s been a real good prospect for us, I’m sure he’ll be real welcome.”
So what exactly are the Predators getting in Fagemo?
Well, the 5-foot-11 Swede, who was drafted four picks after Predators prospect Egor Afanasyev, has a skillset that aligns perfectly with first-year head coach Andrew Brunette’s new offensive system.
Here’s a little glimpse of what Samuel Fagemo brings to the #Preds
It should be noted that 26 of his 60 goals in the AHL have come on the power play pic.twitter.com/7ll1HziNCT
— Michael Gallagher (@MGsports_) October 2, 2023
Scoring 60 goals and 94 points in 151 games with the Ontario Reign over the last three seasons, Fagemo is a threat in the offensive zone. He has a quick release, a dynamite shot, strong puck-moving skills, and above-average skating.
Fagemo is crafty with the puck and can produce on the power play — 26 of his 60 AHL goals came on the man advantage. He also plays well in transition, using his quick, short strides to gain bursts of speed and deking his way through the defense.
Many scouts believe Fagemo has 20-goal potential as a middle-six winger.
“He’s not just a very good player, but he’s also a very good person,” Reign head coach Marco Sturm told Nashville Hockey Now. “But on the other side, we’re very happy for him. He gets an opportunity to play and show what he’s got. The Kings have a really good lineup with a lot of good players and it would have been really, really hard for him, so that’s why he has a new opportunity now — a fresh start. I wish him and we all wish him nothing but the best, so good for him.”
It should be noted if the Predators don’t keep Fagemo on the NHL roster, he will have to pass through waivers again before he can be assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals. There’s a chance another team could claim him or the Kings could claim him back.
The Predators are presumably still searching for the right pieces to round out their bottom six forward depth. Colton Sissons and Yakov Trenin are locks, and Fagemo will likely compete with Denis Gurianov, Mark Jankowski, Michael McCarron, Kiefer Sherwood and Cole Smith for the remaining four spots.
Of that group, Fagemo has the highest upside as a scorer, but others like Jankowski and McCarron play more physically, and Gurianov, Sherwood and Smith play more of a grinding style.
Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_