Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Return of a King: Gagne comes back to Philly

From the "You think about it but never see it coming" file: the Flyers announced on Tuesday they have re-acquired winger Simon Gagne from the Los Angeles Kings for a conditional 2013 fourth-round draft pick, previously acquired from Phoenix.  

"Simon is an experienced veteran who will help us in a lot of areas,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said in making the announcement.  “We are glad to have him back. He improves our depth up front automatically. Obviously with the injury bug and Matt Read being out and now we lost Tye McGinn last night for a few weeks. We have some holes.  Simon is a guy who has a lot of experience and played in a lot of positions, penalty kill, power play and regular shifts.  He is a good two way player that can skate.   We think he will add to us a lot.”

Lisa Dillman of the LA Times reported that it will be a third-round pick if Peter Laviolette's team makes the playoffs and a fourth-round pick if not.

Gagne last suited up for the Orange and Black on June 9, 2010 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against Chicago. He played the good solider and acquiesced to be dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning several weeks later for the disaster that is Matt Walker, and then found himself on the Kings' Cup winners last season despite suffering a late-season concussion that kept him out for all but the final games of the playoffs.

"I'm happy to get that chance. It was tough not to play. I'm going to a place I know well. It's like going back home. I know everybody there and I'm going back where it all started," Gagne said to Renaud Lavoie from RDS of Canada.

The Quebec native returns to Philadelphia as the franchise's 10th-leading point producer (524), ninth in goals (259) and 16th in assists (265), and 15th in total playoff points (47) in 664 games over 10 seasons (1999-2004; 2005-10).

Gagne, 33, has totaled just five assists over 11 games for the defending champs this year. He is on the way back from offseason neck surgery and a concussion which wiped out the latter half of last season plus all but four playoff games during the Kings' title run.

Holmgren is now a Peter Forsberg acquisition away from reassembling the club's top line from 2005-07.

The move became clearer in context later in the afternoon as Holmgren announced that McGinn will miss at least two weeks after suffering a broken orbital bone in a fight during Monday's 4-2 loss to Toronto.It is expected he will be placed on injured reserve, while Jody Shelley and possibly Andrej Meszaros will head to LTIR to fall into cap compliance.

“Any concern?  We can't make the trade if you can’t fit it in. Obviously it adds to our salary cap but because of the guys we have on long term injury we can make it work," added Holmgren when asked about Gagne's pro-rated $3.5 million cap hit for the season.

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