Paul Holmgren would probably love to have Simon Gagne back in Orange & Black this season. It’s just that the Flyers’ general manager’s hands are tied right now.
As Sam Carchidi pointed out in Tuesday’s edition of the Inquirer, Philadelphia is roughly $1 million over the NHL salary cap at the moment. They’ll drop below the threshold once the regular season gets underway in October and Chris Pronger can be moved to long-term injured reserve, but for now the situation prevents the Flyers from adding any big names to the roster.
The best the club can do is invite a player to training camp (opening Sept. 12) on a tryout basis. Homer tells Carchidi the team is considering extending such an offer to Gagne, but the Flyers' GM doesn’t sound too sure about the winger’s plans.
“But I’m sure he’s getting calls from other teams, too,” Holmgren said on Tuesday. “I have no gut feeling” as to what Gagne will do.
It was mildly surprising to see Gagne still had something left in the tank last season after the Flyers rescued him from a bad fit with the Kings. There just wasn’t enough ice time to go around in Los Angeles, and the two-time NHL All Star is no fourth-line grinder.
Actually, Gagne proved he still has some scoring touch, finding the back of the net five times while posting 11 points in 27 games in 2013 – nothing that will blow anybody’s hair back, but reasonable production. The 13-year veteran even played on a line with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek for a stretch and did not look out of place.
Personally, I thought he was a great fit for this team. Even at 33 years old, Gagne was still versatile enough skate on any of the top three lines, not to mention your power play or penalty kill. Oh, and he's a great veteran presence to have in the locker room, too.
It remains to be seen what Gagne will do, but it sounds like the Flyers would have him back. Given that he is still a free agent one week before camps open, it certainly looks like there is a chance that can happen. If Gagne does make it to camp for a “tryout,” I would anticipate him making the club.
>> Gagne may be at Flyers’ camp [Inq]