Since the 1998 Draft, when Simon Gagne was taken in the 1st round, 22nd overall, by the Flyers, I knew he would develop into a force in the Eastern Conference. In 1999-2000 he made his introduction with the Flyers organization and fit in very nicely scoring 20 goals for a total of 48 points in 80 games.
Following that year, he played less than 80 games but his scoring touch increased. He was voted to the NHL All-rookie team in 2000 and became an NHL All-Star in 2001.
Like in 2002-2003, Gagne was plagued by the injury bug this season. However, the lack of games played has not affected his ability to be over a point-a-game player.
Though his playoff stats drop off a bit in production numbers, it does not hurt to have a guy like Gagne, currently the Flyers Alternate Captain, around for important games like the upcoming game with the Washington Capitals.
My argument is not that the Flyers need Gagne to win the series against the Capitals, but rather the series might be over much faster if he were back in the lineup and over his concussion.
Furthermore, I worry that Gagne’s injuries are becoming more and more constant. True, being such a potent scorer makes him a marked man, but he must now focus on getting back in the lineup as soon as possible for Philadelphia if they are to truly make a run for the Cup.
The Flyers have one of the best mixes of forwards in the NHL and the speedy return of Gagne in the playoffs would make them a very dangerous scoring team for later on. I am no doctor; I have no crystal ball to tell when Gagne might be back, but I will spread a word of warning to the Washington Capitals. Wrap the series up before Gagne is back, otherwise you may fall victim to his already proven scoring touch.
The Philadelphia Flyers host the Washington Capitals tonight (Thursday) at 7pm Eastern on Versus.