Flyers Bring Back Old Favorite Simon GagneBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
In an unexpected move for anyone that doesn’t understand how the Philadelphia Flyers organization operates, general manager Paul Holmgren has traded a conditional fourth round pick to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for fan favorite Simon Gagne.
Gagne was dealt in the 2010 offseason to the Tampa Bay Lightning as part of a salary dump. He signed a two-year deal with the Kings in the 2010 offseason, reuniting him with fellow former Flyers Mike Richards and Justin Williams.
In 34 games played with the Kings in 2011, Gagne netted a career low 7 goals and 17 points. Kings coach Darryl Sutter played him in the Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils, though, ensuring that he would finally have his day with the Cup.
Since then, the 32 year-old’s career in L.A. has stalled. He had a benign tumor removed from his neck in the offseason that contributed to some of his health issues in the past year and sat out the last few games with the Kings as a healthy scratch. He otherwise has collected 5 assists in 11 games this season.
The move isn’t necessarily one that will “hurt” the Flyers moving forward, but it’s questionable what effect it will have on the team as a whole. There isn’t a spot in the line-up on either of the top two lines and his production isn’t quite what it used to be to be expected to help the offense.
On the other hand, he fits the mold of “character veteran player” similar to Mike Knuble that perhaps the organization is looking for as a means to improve the workmanship of the team. For a team that has ripped itself multiple times in the last month for not playing a full 60 minutes, perhaps his return will inspire greatness.
I have to think that this move signals another player may be headed out the door. Gagne carries a $3.5 million cap hit this season, and the team is barely squeezing under the cap, even with salary relief from players headed to LTIR. Gagne’s role as a penalty killing third/fourth liner could easily replace half of the bottom roster players.
The conditional pick is a fourth round pick that converts to a third round pick if the Flyers make the play-offs. It’s a bit steep considering Gagne’s age and recent production, but the Flyers have a soft spot for nostalgia that is difficult to sway otherwise.
The Flyers expect Gagne in the line-up on Wednesday against the Washington Capitals. Hopefully the Wells Fargo Center is sturdy enough to handle his reception.
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