Recent reports suggest that the Philadelphia Flyers are having trouble finding a home for Simon Gagne.
Darren Dreger even mentioned that some NHL executives think that they may have no choice but to put him on waivers.
The Flyers are ready to announce a confusing signing of Nikolai Zheredev to a one-year contract, which would make Gagne and his 5.25 million dollar contract the best option to move.
Gagne is a former Olympian and 47 goal scorer who may have a few good years left if he stays healthy.
Staying healthy seems to be difficult for Gagne, but he showed in the 2008-2009 season he can still be effective if able to play a full season. He scored 34 goals and put up 74 points which I would say is a very solid year.
Now the question of the day is, would Burke have any interest in him?
The Leafs are in dire need of a 1st line left winger who can put up big numbers. Gagne only has one more year left on his contract (5.25 million) making him a potential UFA in 2011-2012.
Could this be an answer to rounding out the top-six forward lines for this coming season?
Another point to consider is the potential upcoming trade involving Tomas Kaberle.
If we could get say, Wayne Simmonds and a 1st round pick for Kaberle, this would bring in another top-six player for the Leafs. This scenario would provide a forward group consisting of:
Gagne - Bozak - Kessel
Versteeg - Kadri - Simmonds
Kulemin - Hanson - Armstrong
Orr - Mitchell - Brown/Sjostrom
If the unthinkable happens and Gagne is placed on waivers, Burke could pick him up without giving up anything but cap space.
If the Flyers are shopping him to the Leafs, I'm sure they would be desperate to get any return for him (possibly mid-tier prospects or picks).
I think giving basically nothing up for a potential 30 goal scorer would be a good move, even if they only keep him for one year.
If Gagne plays a full season he could be the difference in the Leafs making the playoffs...you never know. It could also help us make sure Boston doesn't get a good draft pick next year!
Also, getting a guy like Simmonds who is still on his entry level contract would keep the Leafs under the salary cap, especially if Finger is sent to the AHL.
Does anyone else think this is an option Brian Burke should consider?
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