(photo courtesy of Center Ice Philly Magazine)
After being drafted by the Flyers almost fifteen years ago, spending ten seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, a short stint in Tampa, and a Stanley Cup Championship in Los Angeles, Simon Gagne has found himself wearing the orange and black once again.
In return for just a conditional fourth round draft pick, Paul Holmgren brought a player back to Philadelphia who had been a frequent healthy scratch and a recipient of little ice time.
However, this time around, he has a different role than he did as a young player in the prime of his bright career.
Returning to the city where it all began last Wednesday, Simon Gagne was placed on the third line, alongside 20-year old Sean Couturier and Max Talbot. The two had both been struggling to produce this season, so in doing this, Peter Laviolette hoped to get them going.
Gagne scored a goal in his return to Philadelphia, and those congregated at the Wells Fargo Center erupted. He received 16:00 of ice time, 2:22 coming on the powerplay, a significant upgrade in what was allotted to him in his previous home.
Not only did the “new” Flyer have a phenomenal performance, but the players alongside benefited from him as well. Max Talbot scored his first goal of the season and Sean Couturier was more involved in the offensive play.
The third line combined for a total of two goals and eight shots on Wednesday night. Is it a coincidence that when a veteran play who is more than familiar with the organization is added to the roster, the players around hi•m benefit? Nope.
This was a very smart acquisition by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. Gagne, 32, still has some good hockey left in him and proved that in the last two games.
At the end of this shortened 2012-13 campaign, Simon Gagne will be an unrestricted free agent, as he is in the final year of the 2 year/$7M contract that he signed with the Los Angeles Kings. There is no doubt that he will want to remain in Philly, and if he continues to play well and ignite those around him, the Flyers would love to have him around.
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