Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gagne Is Available, Rangers May Be Interested

It appears that Simon Gagne's days in Philadelphia are limited. It was rumored last week prior to the signing of Nik Zherdev that the Flyers had asked Gagne to waive his "No Trade" clause because of the cap issues that the team has. Gagne, who has one year left on his contract ($5.25M) initially denied that he had waived his "no trade" clause.

According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun:
Agent for Simon Gagne tells ESPN.com he's been given permission by Flyers to talk directly to teams but so far there's no deal
Last week Darren Dreger of TSN said that if the Flyers couldn't find a willing trade partner that it was possible that Gagne would be waived. It's highly unlikely that if Gagne were waived that he would clear waivers because he is a legitimate top-six NHL forward and he is in the final year of his contract.

Chuck Gormley, a Flyers beat writer, says:
The Kings, Maple Leafs and Rangers are believed to have expressed interest in Gagne, who has played his entire 10-year career in Philadelphia.
It shouldn't surprise you that the Kings and Rangers have expressed interest in Gagne. In fact, I'll be surprised if those are the only teams that have inquired about Gagne. The Kings are obviously in the hunt for a scoring left winger, evidenced by their leading role in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. If Kovalchuk doesn't sign in LA, then it's believed that the Kings may look to Gagne as a backup plan.

In my opinion, as a Rangers fan, Gagne could be a pickup. That is, if the price is right. Since the Flyers appear to have their backs against the wall, it shouldn't take too much to acquire Gagne, since it would probably be in Phily's interests to trade Gagne rather than waive him and get nothing in return. Then again, would the Flyers want to trade Gagne to an Atlantic Division rival?

There are several issues that would have to be addressed before considering Gagne in a blueshirt. First of all, is he healthy? Gagne has had several concussions in the past few seasons. That may be overlooked somewhat since the team that obtains Gagne is only on the hook for one year. If Gagne gets injured, doesn't play as well as expected or whatever the reason may be, the Rangers could always walk away from him next season when he becomes a UFA. The next major issue is whether the Rangers could fit him under the cap. Although $5.25M is a fair price for a forward with Gagne's potential, the Rangers are already close to the cap as it is.

Right now the number one priority still has to be getting Marc Staal re-signed. But, the Rangers also need significant help up front putting the puck in the net. Last season, Marain Gaborik was the only scoring threat for the majority of the season. So far this offseason, it doesn't appear that the Rangers have really resolved that issue. Gagne is an option at this point and if Sather can acquire him without giving up any high draft picks or substantial prospects, then maybe it could be worth it. It's a low risk move that could have a decent reward for an offensively starved Rangers offense.

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