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Tampa Bay Lightning acquires Simon Gagne from Philly for Matt Walker, draft pick



The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off what could be the trade of the summer on Monday when it acquired left wing Simon Gagne from the Flyers for defenseman Matt Walker and a fourth-round draft pick in 2011.

The move gives Tampa Bay, assuming Steve Downie is signed, two powerful offensive lines, and sets up a situation in which we could see a line of Gagne, center Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis.

Gagne, 30, is scheduled to make $5.25 million next season, a manageable number given the Lightning has about $14 million in cap space, assuming players such as Adam Hall, Johan Harju and Niklas Persson make the team. It also is no longer responsible for Walker's contract that pays $1.625 next season and $5.525 million over the next three seasons. So, in essence, the deal adds $3.625 million to the cap for next season.

Walker, after signing a four-year deal last summer, was a disappointment with two goals, five points in 66 games. He also was minus-11.

The questions with Gagne have nothing to do with his ability, but with a well-documented injury history. But given Tampa Bay is not locked in to anything beyond next season, it seems a worthy experiment.

Here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired two-time 40-goal scorer Simon Gagne (gah-N’YAY, see-MOHN) from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Matt Walker and a fourth-round draft pick in 2011 today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

“In adding Simon to the Lightning today, we acquire a very talented player that will play along side our top forwards,” said Yzerman upon making the announcement. “With his combination of speed and skill we are excited to have him with us and grateful he was willing to waive his no movement clause. This trade not only makes us a better team in the short-term, it helps create long-term flexibility for us, which all along has been one of our top priorities.”

Gagne, 6-foot, 195 pounds, has played in 664 career NHL games, all with the Flyers, recording 259 goals, 72 power play goals, 11 shorthanded goals, 47 game-winning goals and 524 points with a career plus-143 rating.  He has put together two seasons with 40 goals or more, four with 30 goals or more and seven with 20 or more. Gagne ranks ninth on the all-time Philadelphia goals list, 10th for points and 11th for power play goals.  He was awarded the Bobby Clarke Trophy, given annually to the Flyers’ most valuable player, following both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

“I’m very excited right now,” Gagne said. “I’m looking at this opportunity as a new challenge and a new start.  Tampa Bay was a team I was more than willing to waive my no move clause for.  I really like the direction the team is headed in with a solid owner, Steve Yzerman as GM and Coach Boucher.  I’m really looking forward to playing with guys like Lecavalier, Stamkos and St. Louis. I’m excited to be a member of the Lightning and I’m looking forward to starting next season in Tampa Bay.”

A native of Ste. Foy, Quebec, Gagne was selected to the NHL All-Star Game in 2001 and 2007.  He was also named to the 2000 NHL All-Rookie Team.  Gagne has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs just twice during his 11-year NHL career.  He has played in 90 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, recording 32 goals and 47 points.

Gagne played in 58 games with the Flyers last season, recording 17 goals, five power-play goals, four game-winning goals and 40 points.  He missed much of the first portion of the season due to injury and returned to action December 19.  He amassed 16 goals and 35 points in the 49 games after he returned to the line-up.  His 18:37 in average ice time ranked third among Flyers forwards.

Gagne shined in Philadelphia’s journey to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, recording nine goals and 12 points in 19 contests.  He led the team during the postseason in power play goals with five (tied for the NHL lead), was third in goals and tied for second with two game-winning goals.

Gagne has also excelled in international competition, representing Canada in multiple tournaments.  He won the Gold Medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and won the Silver Medal at the 1999 World Junior Championships, where he lefd the tournament with seven goals.

The 30-year-old was drafted by Philadelphia in the first round, 22nd overall, of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft out of Quebec of the QMJHL. 

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 12:15am]


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