For months, Philadelphia Flyers fans have waited anxiously for news on one of their favorite players, Simon Gagne. In typical Flyers’ fashion, general manger Paul Holmgren remained elusive, announcing on Sept. 3 that he was “kicking around” inviting Gagne to the Flyers’ preseason training camp.
Gagne was drafted by the Flyers in the first round of the 1998 NHL draft. Over his 10 year span with the Flyers, Gagne became a fan favorite, and made it to the All-Star game for two seasons. After a brief stint with Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings (during which he won a Stanley Cup), Gagne was reacquired by the Flyers last season for a 1-year, $3.5 million contract.
Gagne is now an unrestricted free agent, and the Flyers simply do not have the cap space to sign him right now. That will change once the season begins, however. At 33 years old, Gagne is a veteran left winger, but he’s injury prone. It’s likely that other teams have contacted him, yet he remains unsigned. It’s also likely that he’s holding out for the Flyers.
Holmgren “kicking around” inviting him to camp is a good sign. It’s apparent that the Flyers, and their fans, have not forgotten about Gagne. When Chris Pronger is inevitably placed on Long Term Injured Reserve at the start of the season, his cap hit will be cleared, allowing the Flyers to resign Gagne, albeit it a lesser price than last season.
Gagne has proven that he still has the offensive touch that made him a star early in his career. His leadership and skill would only help the relatively young Flyers’ offensive. With any luck, Gagne will return to the Flyers in no time at all.