With the Philadelphia Flyers suddenly finding themselves in their own version of cap hell--they are currently a hair over $2 million above the cap--they have made the executive decision to move career-Flyer Simon Gagne. The 30-year-old left winger has not only been a big part of Philadelphia's success over the past decade, but he has also been one of the heart and soul guys on that team. And now he is on the market.
The Flyers--who recently signed Nikolai Zherdev to a one year $2 million contract--are looking to trade Gagne and the one year he has remaining on his $5.25 million cap hit. This actually works out well for the New York Rangers; they can certainly use the extra scoring punch.
Currently this off-season the New York Rangers haven't made any big splashes. And while there are many of you who think that this season is going to be a "wash," that the Rangers are just going to throw this year away in order to get some more nuggets of gold in the pipeline closer to their Rangers debut, it's not going to happen. Glen Sather simply doesn't work that way. Sather is going to try to win, and he isn't going to just sit around and leave this team as is.
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Gagne would be a nice acquisition. The Flyers are apparently so keen on moving Gagne, that they admitted that they would consider waiving him if no one tried to make a trade for him. Under circumstances like that, their asking price can't be very high--especially if they're not going to be taking salary back in return (which they won't be). It would probably cost a prospect and a pick, maybe a 3rd rounder. If they demand more, walk, this is not a do or die deal.
From a Rangers perspective I honestly don't see how this doesn't work out. The Rangers would add a two time 40 goal scorer, and a guy who could pretty much be a lock for 20+ goals, with the potential to hit 30. Adding another player like that into the mix--along with other 20-goal guys like Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Vaclav Prospal--might be the extra push that the Rangers need to turn into playoff contenders. Plus it's just another guy to alleviate some of the scoring pressures off of Gaborik.
Gagne also brings some serious playoff experience to the table. Although he is only 30 years-old he already had 90 playoff games under his belt-posting 32 goals and 15 assists for 47 points in those games. Gagne is the essence of class, and Flyers fans are pretty devastated that he won't be back with them next year. Gagne was the heart and soul of that Flyers team for many years, and there is really no downside to bringing a guy like that into the line-up. He has already proven effective in front of the bright lights of Philadelphia, so there is no reason to assume that he would clam up in front of the brighter lights of New York.
Although Gagne does have a bunch of upside his injuries are a problem. From last year to the year after the lock-out he played in 58, 79, 25, 76 and 72 games respectfully. Although those numbers don't look good he has played in 65 games or more in seven of his last 10 seasons. And when healthy Gagne is easily a 60-70 point guy. Adding a dimension that the Rangers truly don't have aside from Gaborik.
Honestly you can expect him to play around 60 games this year, but even if he doesn't there is no real risk here. If he ends up being a complete bust then the Rangers are only on the hook for one year, since he is a UFA at the end of the season.
I will say this again because it needs to be put into memory. This season will not be a wash when it comes to Sather and the rest of the coaching staff. So we may as well go after a guy who is a small rink but a high reward.
So go ahead, have at it.