Dan Cleary signed with the Red Wings today after flirting with the possibility of coming to Philadelphia, leaving hopes high that the Flyers could revert to an older course and invite Simon Gagne to camp. As we've mentioned before, he'd fit really well slotted alongside center Sean Couturier and right wing Matt Read on the third line.
But you can officially give up any hopes of Gagne pulling on the orange and black anytime soon. Paul Holmgren says that the ship has sailed.
Homer: Things closed out a couple days ago with Gagne. Team will stay with what it has.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) September 12, 2013
There are legitimate concerns about Gagne, of course. He played well for the Flyers over the second half of last season, but he's been plagued by injury over the last several seasons -- really, since he left Philly in 2010. He's getting older, he's fragile and he hasn't played a full season since 2008-09.
But on the flip side, he's Simon Gagne and we love him. Now, he's without a team, still skating on his own up in Quebec City while NHL training camps kick off in every other major hockey city on the continent. He might not find a job -- at least not until injuries and openings inevitably happen once the season gets going.
The good news? A young guy (or maybe multiple young guys) will get a chance to be an impact player in the NHL this year.
There's no guarantee that a guy like Jason Akeson or Scott Laughton or Tye McGinn or Michael Raffl or whoever will play in the third line wing slot that Gagne or Cleary would have occupied, but one of those guys will make the team, barring further moves. Max Talbot could move up to the third line, leaving a fourth line spot open. Either way, there's an opening somewhere on the wing.
One thing I really don't like: This means Sean Couturier and Matt Read will have a subpar line mate yet again this season -- no offense to Talbot or a young guy intended.