Better With Popcorn

Flyers Acquire Simon Gagne From the Kings

The Flyers have acquired former left winger Simon Gagne from the Los Angeles Kings.

The Flyers sent a conditional fourth round pick to the Kings in exchange for Gagne, bringing the 33-year-old winger back to Philadelphia where he spent the first 10 seasons of his career here. If the Flyers make the playoffs, it becomes a third round pick.

"Simon is a guy who has a lot of experience and played in a lot of positions, penalty kill, power play and regular shifts," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "He is a good two way player that can skate. We think he will add to us a lot.”

Gagne hasn't played since February 17 for the Kings. He's been a healthy scratch during that four-game stretch, and it allowed the Flyers to work on a trade to acquire him.

"It’s tough to say exactly the way I feel right now," said Gagne. "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 his 10 seasons in Philadelphia from 1999-2010, he scored 259 goals and 265 assists in 664 games.

He was traded to the Lightning after the 2009-2010 season in exchange for Matt Walker, scoring 17 goals in 63 games with the Lightning the following year.

Gagne spent last season with the Kings where he played only 34 games due to injury. He came back in the Stanley Cup Finals and played four games en route to his first championship with Los Angeles.

Gagne has played in 11 games this season, tallying only five assists. He's averaged under 14 minutes a game while on the ice.

People close to the situation in Los Angeles said that Gagne wasn't fitting into Darryl Sutter's system with the Kings. His offensive style does fit into Peter Laviolette's system though.

Gagne never asked for a trade in Los Angeles. But it certainly was on his mind when he wasn't playing during the last two weeks.

"I was willing to suck it up maybe for a couple more games or couple more weeks and see what’s going to happen here, but at the end I knew it was not my place here and it was time to move on," Gagne said. "It just happened like that. I didn’t have a chance to ask Dean [Lombardi] or [Ron Hextall] to try to trade me, they just did it on their own. It just shows you the class those guys have."

Gagne said the Flyers want him to play Wednesday against the Capitals.

"Game shape’s good even if I haven’t played the last, I think, five games," Gagne said. "It’s been, what, two weeks since I played. Still practicing with the team, still getting a skate after every morning skate, still riding the bike. That was the only thing I was able to do, try to focus on and keep myself in shape for exactly what happened and try to go and play for another team. I’m in good shape. It’s going to be maybe a tough one tomorrow night, I think they want me to be in the lineup."

Gagne will take a red eye flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia so that he will be able to be in the lineup tomorrow against Washington. He's really excited to "be back and play in front of the fans in Philly tomorrow night."

"Right now the plan for me was there as no flight left for this afternoon so I have to take the red eye and fly all night," Gagne said. "So it’s going to be a special game tomorrow but I’ll try to take all that emotion and try to bring that energy to the game."

Gagne could likely see time on the third line, likely playing with Sean Couturier and Max Talbot. It would also mean either Mike Knuble or Ruslan Fedotenko will become a healthy scratch, seeing as neither have played that well this season.

Gagne's signing continues the trend of bringing back former players this season.

First it was Fedotenko in the off season, then Brian Boucher at the season's beginning. Knuble was acquired two weeks ago.

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