If the goal was to clear (some) cap space and to continue to stockpile draft picks, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi accomplished both with one move Tuesday afternoon.
Lombardi traded left wing Simon Gagne to Gagne’s former team, the Philadelphia Flyers, in exchange for a conditional draft choice in 2013. The Kings will receive a third-round pick from Philadelphia if the Flyers make the playoffs this season or a fourth-round pick if the Flyers do not.
Gagne, a healthy scratch the last four games, has been supplanted in the lineup by left wing Dustin Penner. He had five assists in 11 games and had not played since Feb. 17 at Chicago.
His cap hit is $3.5 million, which, of course, will be pro-rated in this lockout-shortened season. In other words, not a big gamble for the struggling Flyers. He is the third member of the Kings’ Stanley Cup championship team to be traded since the lockout ended, following the likes of enforcer Kevin Westgarth (to Carolina) and center Andrei Loktionov (to New Jersey).
“I’m happy to get that chance,” Gagne told Renaud Lavoie of RDS Network. “It was tough not to play. I’m going to a place I know well.”
The deal represented the resumption of activity between the Kings and the Flyers, frequent trading partners. Gagne had sat out the last 46 games of the regular season because of a concussion and his career was thought to be in jeopardy. His symptoms eventually eased and he was a surprise insertion in the lineup midway through the Stanley Cup final between the Kings and New Jersey Devils.
Gagne also disclosed recently that he had a growth removed from his neck in July, calling it the size of a tennis ball.