From what I know of elliptical orbits, an object speeds up near the periapsis and slows down at the apoapsis, much like we learned in high school physics how a sphere would roll down and back up a valley in a frictionless vacuum: The height is inversely proportional to the speed.
The "gravity slingshot" maneuver we've seen in sci-fi and even used by our own spacecraft relies on the physics of hyperbolic orbits, where an object both enters and exits the orbit before making a single lap around the planet/moon/etc. Since gravity pushes the craft toward that body both while they're heading towards and away from it, shouldn't the craft's velocity be the same at (for example) 1 megameter before the orbit as 1 megameter after the orbit? If so, then the gravity slingshot maneuver should only have the end purpose of redirecting the craft's trajectory, not of increasing its speed, as the name implies.
My understanding in a simple diagram: