Interesting trade this afternoon – Philadelphia Flyers reacquiring Simon Gagne from the Los Angeles Kings for a conditional fourth-round draft choice in 2013. For Gagne, it’s a chance to go home and play for the organization where he got his start in the 1999-00 season and where he had all of his best seasons, including two in which he scored 40 or more goals.
Gagne was on the outs in L.A. almost from the start of the season. He hadn’t played in the past four games for the Kings and has missed six in all as a healthy scratch, essentially losing his place in the lineup to Dustin Penner. Gagne got a handful of looks as a top-six forward early on and had one stretch where he scored five points in five games. But Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter didn’t see him as a regular on one of his top two lines and is reluctant to scratch the size, youth and truculence he gets from the bottom end of his roster from the likes of Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan and Dwight King. So Gagne was on the fringes of the team and not likely to move up unless one of their regulars got hurt.
Gagne was signed as a free agent by L.A. back in July, 2011 as the Kings morphed into Philly West, with a general manager (Dean Lombardi), an assistant general manager (Ron Hextall) and an assistant coach (John Stevens) all with deep Flyers’ ties. And while Jeff Carter, Justin Williams and Mike Richards are all still playing in L.A. and contributing at different levels, Gagne was never quite a fit, even when he was playing with ex-teammates, and there were fears last year when a concussion limited him to just 34 games that his NHL career might be in jeopardy.
The draft choice coming L.A.’s way will reportedly be upgraded to a third-rounder if the Flyers make the playoffs – a pretty good return for a player on the fringes of the roster. It also frees up more salary cap space for Lombardi, should he decide to wade into the trade market for an upgrade between now and the trade deadline in early April.
All in all, a deal that should help both teams.