2009/09 Salary: $5.25 million - 2008/09 Cap Hit: $5.25 million
2009/10 Status: Under Contract, $5.25 million
Mike Knuble and Mike Richards
Depth Chart Ranking: #1 at Left Wing
Nobody really knew what to expect from Simon Gagne at the beginning of this season. Would he be the same player he was before a concussion knocked him out of 62 games just last year? Was he at risk of hurting himself again? How would he rebound?
Gagne's answer? A resurgent 2008/09 campaign that was one of the best he's had in his eight seasons in a Philadelphia uniform. He finished with 74 points, just five off of his career high of 79. He played a key role on the power play, scoring 12 of his 34 goals with an extra man. He scored four shorthanded goals as well, including two in one game against Pittsburgh in November.
As I've read more than once over the course of the season, Gagne's comeback season could be one of the best in the last decade. Concussions are very serious injuries, and the fact that he missed time last season from a concussion, came back, relapsed, and then did it all over again was a very scary prospect for one of the Flyers best offensive talents.
That make his 2008/09 season even more impressive. He was virtually symptom free for the entire season, and he only missed three games sporadically due to unrelated ailments. And throughout the year, while he was earning first line minutes and producing offense, but the key was that he didn't play any differently. He's not a physical guy in the first place, but he did not seem afraid to take physical contact. Considering his injury, we could all understand a guy like Gagne shying away from the rough stuff, chasing pucks into corners, etc. But he didn't do that, and he deserves serious props for it.
For his outstanding comeback and resurgence, Simon Gagne earns an A.
Next in our Grading the Flyers series is goaltender Antero Niittymaki.