Simon Gagne Traded to Flyers: What This Move Means for Philadelphia

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Simon Gagne Traded to Flyers: What This Move Means for Philadelphia
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One day after a disappointing loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Philadelphia Flyers have added some depth to their lineup by making a trade for Los Angeles Kings winger Simon Gagne.

The Kings announced the deal via a press release on Tuesday:

The Los Angeles Kings have acquired a conditional draft selection in the 2013 NHL Draft from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Simon Gagne, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.

Gagne, 32, has played in 11 games this season with the Kings, recording five assists and two penalty minutes. The 6-1, 195-pound native of Ste. Foy, Quebec has played in 772 career NHL regular season games with the Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Kings, recording 586 points (283-303=586) and 318 penalty minutes. In 109 career NHL playoff games he has 59 points (37-22=59) and 32 penalty minutes.

Ren Lavoie of RDS was able to reach Gagne following the trade, and shared his comments:

"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."

Whenever a team has the chance to acquire a veteran forward who performs at a high level in the playoffs and has Stanley Cup winning experience, the move must be made, especially if the price is only a conditional draft pick (per Lisa Dillman of The Los Angeles Times):

Even though Gagne won a Stanley Cup with the Kings last season, he should be more comfortable playing for the Flyers.

He started his career in Philadelphia and was a fantastic player for the club from 1999-00 through 2009-10. Since 2000, nobody has scored more goals in a Flyers sweater than Gagne (259).

It has been a rough season in Los Angeles for Gagne, who has not played for the Kings since February 17 as a healthy scratch.

He wasn't being given many opportunities to play for the Kings, but that should change in Philadelphia since head coach Peter Laviolette needs more scoring from his third and fourth lines.

If Gagne is able to stay healthy, Laviolette's bottom two lines could look something like this:

Line LW C RW
3 Maxime Talbot Sean Couturier Zac Rinaldo
4 Simon Gagne Ruslan Fedotenko Mike Knuble

In addition to the scoring and playoff experience that Gagne will bring to the Flyers, he also gives the team a little more bottom-six depth in case they want to make an even bigger trade in the near future.

Two of the most attractive trade chips that Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has to acquire a top-four defenseman are young forwards Matt Read and Brayden Schenn.

The acquisition of Gagne gives Holmgren a little bit more flexibility in the trade market because he can now move Read or Schenn for a blueliner and not have to worry about getting another forward before the April 3 trade deadline.

At the moment, Philadelphia is right up against the salary cap (per Capgeek), but the team can still free up almost $5 million in cap space by putting veteran defenseman Chris Pronger on the long-term injury reserve (LTIR) list.

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Gagne is in the final year of his contract with a $3.5 million salary cap hit (per Capgeek). If he plays well for the Flyers over the last half of the year, it's possible that he could return for the 2013-14 season on a short-term deal.

Overall, this was a good trade for the Flyers. They have added a talented forward to their roster who is familiar with the franchise and the city without giving up a valuable asset.

Nobody is going to expect Gagne to play like a top-six forward, but he should be more productive offensively with the Flyers than he was with the Kings if receives more ice time.

 

Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. He was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs.

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