The Philadelphia Flyers made a trade with the Los Angeles Kings today. While they obtained fan favorite Simon Gagne, memories of the 2006-07 season were also revived.
I don’t think that the Flyers are going to finish in dead last place this season, as they did during the hockey year that was referenced above. But, it’s possible that next season could move in that direction if the right moves aren’t made by next fall.
It’s not realistic to look past this season yet, as head coach Peter Laviolette does have 27 regular season games left in this shortened year to make a playoff push. His efforts can be successful, but will hardly be easy.
Cap space concerns
Tye McGinn’s broken orbital bone necessitated that a forward be recalled from the Adirondack Phantoms, or that a National Hockey League player be acquired. Considering that Gagne is making $3.5 million this season (of which the Flyers will pay a prorated portion) Holmgren must believe that “Gags” has something left to offer. His addition basically taps out they Flyers’ cap space for the moment.
Knuble and Gagne reunited
Mike Knuble, who used to be Gagne’s forward line partner, was obtained earlier this season. The 40-year-old is doing what he can, but age limitations are causing him to look nothing like his original Philadelphia incarnation. Knuble’s lack of mobility have caused him to take numerous tripping minors because he can’t keep pace with younger opponents.
In Gagne’s case, he’s going to turn 33 on Friday and still has fine wheels. The question is: Can this left winger still be effective?
Possibly, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter’s system didn’t leave room for this veteran forward. Possibly, this renewed Flyer is living through the twilight of his career before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
Sometime in March everyone should see whether number 12 still can produce, or if he represents a step toward an unwanted 2006-07-like season next year.
Sean O’Brien is based in the Philadelphia region and has written professionally for over two decades. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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