Here’s what Simon Gagne told a Canadian television network after the Kings traded him Tuesday to the Philadelphia Flyers for a conditional draft pick: “I’m happy to get that chance. 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.”
Dean Lombardi, the Kings’ general manager, talked Tuesday about his decision to trade forward Simon Gagne to the Philadelphia Flyers for a conditional draft pick. Here’s some of what Lombardi said went into the move:
The Kings on Tuesday swapped unproductive forward Simon Gagne for a conditional pick in the upcoming draft from the Philadelphia Flyers. Gagne played only 11 of the Kings’ 17 games this season, and did not have a goal. He had five assists and two penalty minutes and was the odd-man out of the lineup recently. Gagne has played 772 games during his career with the Kings, Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
If the Flyers make the playoffs, the Kings with get a third-round pick. If the Flyers don’t qualify for the postseason, the Kings will receive a fourth-round selection.
On the same day Brad Richards spurned several suitors to sign with the New York Rangers, the Kings wasted little time securing their Plan B.
Left wing Simon Gagne signed a two-year contract worth a reported $7 million Saturday. He’ll be reunited with his former center in Philadelphia, Mike Richards, along with ex-Flyers coaches Terry Murray and John Stevens.
Gagne posted a 47-goal season with the Flyers in 2005-06, Richards’ rookie year with the club. Injuries have limited his ability to repeat that performance, as Gagne has only played two 70-game seasons since. Last season alone he missed 18 games with a neck injury, one game due to a pinched nerve in his neck, and another three games in the playoffs with a head injury, according to his injury history listed on TSN.com.
In the last five seasons, four in Philadelphia and most recently in Tampa Bay, Gagne has played in 76, 25, 79, 58 and 63 games, respectively.
The 31-year-old still put up decent numbers last season –17 goals and 40 points in 63 regular-season games, and another five goals and 12 points in 15 playoff games. He averaged 15:52 per game in the playoffs, fifth among a talented core of Lightning forwards, and was among the team’s top power-play threats. Seven of his 17 regular-season goals came on the power play, which should come as welcome news to a Kings squad that ranked 21st in the NHL with the man advantage last season.
The Kings made a big pitch Friday to Richards, who led the Dallas Stars in scoring the last two seasons. Richards today signed a nine-year contract with the Rangers, citing several non-monetary desires that ran counter to the Kings’ offer: to play close to his family in the Eastern time zone, to play for head coach John Tortorella (his coach with the 2004 Stanley Cup champion Lightning), to play on an original-six franchise, and to remain at the center position.
More details to come; a conference call with Gagne is expected at some point.
Brad Richards is taking his talents to the New York Rangers. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Richards will make $60 million over nine years, a $6.67 million average annual value.
Richards is reunited with head coach John Tortorella, who coached him to the only Stanley Cup of his career in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Because of this, and because of the Rangers’ ample salary-cap space, the Rangers were the front-runner to sign Richards all along. The prized free agent was also being pursued by the Flames and Maple Leafs.
Arguably no team went more all-out Friday than the Kings, who sent eight members of their senior staff to Toronto and compiled a celebrity video pitch as part of a presentation that was more than a month in the making.
The Kings desperately need a winger to replace the goal-scoring production of Ryan Smyth, who was traded to Edmonton a week ago at his own request. After losing out on Richards, they may turn to free agent Simon Gagne or try to pursue a trade.