Simon Gagne Gives Tampa Bay Lightning Fantastic Player, Presence

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Simon Gagne Gives Tampa Bay Lightning Fantastic Player, Presence
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tampa Bay could be turn out to be a nice landing spot for former Philadelphia Flyer Simon Gagné. 

The Lightning have acquired the veteran left winger for defenseman Matt Walker and a fourth round pick in the 2011 NHL draft. The 30-year-old Gagné will be joining fellow Québécois Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, and head coach Guy Boucher in Tampa.

For years, Gagné had been a crucial member of the Flyers who led by example and developed a reputation for scoring important playoff goals. Lightning fans will remember his overtime winner against their team during Game Six of the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals.

He continued to score vital playoff goals up through this season's playoffs, in which the Flyers fell just short of winning the Stanley Cup against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Injuries have plagued Gagné's career, but when healthy he's a true sniper who scored 40 goals in back-to-back seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07.  Before last season in which he missed 24 games, he produced a fine season scoring 34 goals and adding 40 assists with a plus/minus of +21. 

Gagné will be eager to join up with either Lecavalier or Steven Stamkos as his linemate, and could possibly reproduce such numbers.

Although known more for his offensive abilities, Gagné is very solid defensively.  He was often on Philadelphia's top penalty-killing lines alongside Keith Primeau or Mike Richards. 

He possesses a lot of grit, a very underrated quality, and he has shown toughness by coming back from multiple concussions throughout his career and playing with a broken foot during the playoffs last season.

It's hard to pick out a weakness in his game as he contributes in so many ways on and off the ice.  Gagné may not be a vocal screamer in the locker room, but he leads well by example and helped players like Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux "learn the ropes." 

He's the complete two-way forward, and the Lightning will be very happy with his results if he can stay injury free.

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