By Paul Armbruster • KingsNewsDaily.com •
That’s the question on the minds of many Kings fans this afternoon after it was learned that veteran left winger Simon Gagne was shipped back to the Flyers for a measly 4th round (possibly 3rd round) draft pick after playing only 49 games in for the club. In one of the stranger stints by a high-end player in an LA uniform, Gagne’s short-lived career as a King left little to be desired.
After signing as a free agent in the summer of 2011, it was believed he would help shore-up a weak left side in the Kings lineup. But after only 34 games last year he succumbed to concussion-like symptoms for the remainder of the regular season and deep into the playoffs, only to reemerge in the last 4 games against the Devils to earn his engraving on the Stanley Cup.
Not long after the Cup celebrations were over, it was revealed Simon had neck surgery to remove a benign tumor that limited his mobility and possibly contributed to his concussion-like symptoms. Heading into this year apparently healthy, it seemed he was poised for a solid season for the Kings after the disappointing first year.
But after starting strong in his first 6 games, racking up 5 assists, he trailed off earning no points in what would prove to be his last 5 games as a King. He was then benched for 4 straight games before being shipped back to the team where it all began for the Quebec City native.
So the question remains, why?
Could it be he was unhappy in LA, not unlike a Ryan Smyth type situation? Gagne is married with two young children. Could it be he was disgruntled regarding sitting and watching the last 4 games and Lombardi had seen enough? Or maybe he’s not quite up to speed yet and the Kings don’t feel his effort was strong enough towards returning to his old form. Of course, we don’t know but one thing is clear.
Simon Gagne’s time spent in LA was a huge disappointment.
Update: This from Philly.com’s blog
“I’m happy to get that chance,” Gagne told RDS’ Renaud Lavoie. “It was tough not to play. I’m going to a place I know well. It’s like going home, I know everyone there and I’m going back to where it all started.” The scouting report, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, is that Gagne is as healthy as he has been in a long time, but simply did not fit into Kings coach Darryl Sutter’s plans.
Dean Lombardi on Simon Gagne Trade
- “He wasn’t fitting in.”
- “This was not in any way motivated by cash or space.”
Ron Hextall On Simon Gagne Trade