Simon Gagne is coming home.
Sitting two games under .500, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren sent a conditional 4th round pick to Los Angeles in exchange for the team’s fourth all-time leading scorer at left wing. The pick belonged to Phoenix and was acquired by the Flyers via Columbus in last June's trade involving Sergei Bobrovsky.
Gagne, who turns 33 on Friday, was a healthy scratch for Los Angeles the last four games and six times overall this season. He won his first Stanley Cup with the Kings last season.
“I’m happy to get that chance,” Gagne told RDS’ Renaud Lavoie. “It was tough not to play. I’m going to a place I know well. It’s like going home, I know everyone there and I’m going back to where it all started.”
The scouting report, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie, is that Gagne is as healthy as he has been in a long time, but simply did not fit into Kings coach Darryl Sutter's plans.
The Flyers traded Gagne to Tampa Bay on July 19, 2010 – just a few months after his heroic playoff run which carried Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup final – in exchange for Matt Walker and a 4th round pick.
Gagne has netted 62 points in 108 games since leaving the Flyers – and 22 points in his last 45 regular season games with the Kings. He had an apparent concussion in December of 2011 and underwent offseason neck surgery last summer.
He was back in the area in November for Scott Hartnell's Hurricane Sandy charity game in Atlantic City during the NHL lockout.
Gagne posted 259 goals, 265 assists and 524 points in 665 games with the Flyers. His career in Philadelphia spanned 10 full seasons, making him one of the town’s longest-tenured athletes at the time.
This is the last season of Gagne’s two-year deal, which carries a pro-rated salary cap hit of $3.5 million.
The Flyers are an institution - and an Old Boys club. Gagne is the first of many former players the Flyers have reacquired this season alone, including Ruslan Fedotenko, Mike Knuble and Brian Boucher. At last count, more than 60 players have either been reacquired by the team or hired to work in a front office role following their playing days.
The Los Angeles Times reported the Flyers will owe Los Angeles a third round pick if Philadelphia qualifies for the playoffs, otherwise it will remain the fourth round pick that originally belonged to Phoenix.
Holmgren also revealed forward Tye McGinn will miss "at least two weeks" after suffering a fractured orbital bone in a fight with Toronto's Mike Brown on Monday. Thus, Harry Zolnierczyk will likely stick with the team. Have no fear: Zolnierczyk said he'd gladly vacate his No. 12 jersey in deference to Gagne.
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