In what must be a bittersweet move, Simon Gagne took his Stanley Cup Championship ring and headed out on the first availble flight to Philadelphia to begin his second tenure with the Flyers.
Gagne played only 11 of 17 games with the Kings this season, earning five points, all of which were assists. A concussion took him out for most of the 2011-2012 season, wherein he played 34 regular season games. He was well enough to join the Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils, but it wasn’t enough for him to gel with the rest of the team, at least on the ice.
It was a classy act on Kings GM Dean Lombardi’s part to send Gagne to the place that he would likely be happiest.
The left winger had this to say about the trade:
“It’s tough to say exactly the way I feel right now. It’s always a shock first of all getting traded, but after when they told me the place I was going, the place I was there for more than 10 years and where everything started, so it’s going back to the place where I’m really familiar and really excited to go back to Philly.”
In exchange, the Kings received a conditional fourth-round pick that Philly acquired from the Coyotes.
While this may clear up cap space for the Kings as Gagne is under contract for $3.5 million, the trade was most likely made to put together a more cohesive team. Gagne hadn’t played any games since the Kings lost to the Blackhawks on Feb. 17. He had been a healthy scratch since then, and L.A. has had a successful four-game winning streak in that timeframe.
Gagne will be missed in Los Angeles, but hopefully he will have a successful 13th NHL season and get to play a lot more games than he has been able to thus far.
It will be interesting to see what else, if anything, Lombardi has up his sleeve.