A pair of trades were completed today, and in both cases veteran players returned to the teams that originally drafted them.
Simon Gagne, whose career has been treading water since a series of concussions has plagued the former Olympian, was dealt from the Kings back to the Flyers for a conditional draft pick. Philadelphia drafted Gagne in the first round, 22nd overall in the 1998 draft and he spent 10 seasons in Philadelphia before being traded to Tampa for Matt Walker and a 4th round pick. He signed with LA as a free agent in 2011, and played only 34 games last season due to injuries. He returned for 4 games during the Stanley Cup final and earned a ring with the Kings.
Gagne had a difficult time finding a place in LA this season, averaging just under 14 minutes a game in 11 games, registering 5 assists. He is in the last year of a 2 year contract with a cap hit of $3.5M that puts the Flyers right up against the salary cap. He scored 20+ goals 7 times as a Flyer, and had a career high of 47 in 2005-06. He has always been prone to injury, and could be one big hit away from having to cut his career short. The Flyers hope Gagne can provide some leadership in the short term but can’t expect too much offense and I hope expectations aren’t too high for the former Flyer fan favorite, because he isn’t the same player that left Philly four seasons ago.
Michael Ryder, was drafted by Montreal Canadiens in the 6th round, also in 1998. The former Hull Olympiques winger worked his way through the Habs system and eventually became a 2 time 30 goal scorer with the Canadiens in his 4 seasons. After his 4 years in Montreal, Ryder signed as a free agent with the Bruins, spending 3 seasons there before signing with the Stars in 2011. He scored a career high 35 goals last season and is off to a good start again this year, with 6 goals and 14 points in 19 games before Tuesday’s trade. He was dealt to the Habs in exchange for Eric Cole and a third round pick.
The Habs are getting a pure goal scorer, who with the right linemates could score 20 goals this season. His contract expires after this season, while Cole has 2 more years at a cap hit of $4.5M.