The Flyers have one apparent hole to fill on their team when training camp begins in a little over a week. They're currently a little weak at left wing, with Scott Hartnell and Brayden Schenn the top two wingers on that side and then some combination of Tye McGinn, Max Talbot and Jay Rosehill filling the remaining two spots.
Talbot can easily be a third-line winger, McGinn can probably play an everyday role on as the fourth line left winger. The Flyers do have other options as well that would include moving guys like Jason Akeson, Zac Rinaldo or even Scott Laughton away from their natural positions to the left wing.
But there's one other option that's seemed to make sense all summer: Bring back Simon Gagne. Make him your third-line left winger. Profit.
The salary cap has prevented the Flyers from signing Gagne so far this offseason, but there's desire on both sides to get a deal done -- perhaps evidenced by the fact that Gagne hasn't signed elsewhere so far this offseason. According to a report in the Inquirer today, you shouldn't be surprised if Gagne gets an invite to camp next week.
The Flyers cannot offer the unrestricted free agent a contract because they do not have cap space at the moment, but general manager Paul Holmgren said he was "kicking around" inviting Gagne to the team's camp next week on a tryout basis. "But I'm sure he's getting calls from other teams, too," Holmgren said on Tuesday. "I have no gut feeling" as to what Gagne will do. Gagne's agent, Bob Sauve, was not available to comment.
The Flyers are currently over the salary cap for the new season but will have the flexibility to sign somebody like Gagne once Chris Pronger's cap hit goes on long-term injured reserve to begin the season. He'd be a perfect fit, in my opinion.
Paul Holmgren and Peter Laviolette can ice a good team without Gagne, and they have plenty of options listed above to do so. But as we mentioned back in July, signing Gagne just seems to make too much sense.
He'd fit in perfectly on a defensively conscious but also offensively potent third-line with Matt Read and Sean Couturier, and any deal would be affordable. Gagne made $3.5 million against the cap on his last deal and his new deal will probably be significantly less. Also, he's Simon f*cking Gagne, damnit.
Imagine a top nine of Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek, Vincent Lecavalier, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Simon Gagne. Now wipe your drool off your keyboard, you filthy animal.