The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired winger Simon Gagne from the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Matt Walker and a 4th round draft pick. Gagne waived his No Trade Clause to join the Lightning from the cap-strapped Flyers.
â€œIn adding Simon to the Lightning today, we acquire a very talented player that will play along side our top forwards,â€ said Lightning GM Steve Yzerman upon making the announcement. â€œWith his combination of speed and skill we are excited to have him with us and grateful he was willing to waive his no movement clause. This trade not only makes us a better team in the short-term, it helps create long-term flexibility for us, which all along has been one of our top priorities.â€
â€œIâ€™m very excited right now,â€ Gagne said in a team release. â€œIâ€™m looking at this opportunity as a new challenge and a new start. Tampa Bay was a team I was more than willing to waive my no move clause for. I really like the direction the team is headed in with a solid owner, Steve Yzerman as GM and Coach Boucher. Iâ€™m really looking forward to playing with guys like Lecavalier, Stamkos and St. Louis. Iâ€™m excited to be a member of the Lightning and Iâ€™m looking forward to starting next season in Tampa Bay.â€
In the past two months, Yzerman has dumped a $5.7M cap hit over the next three years on Philadelphia, while adding a 2012 second rounder (for Meszaros) and a much-coveted top-6 forward.
If Gagne can stay healthy - a big if - the Lightning's top-6 forwards are as good or better than most teams' in the league. Yzerman will no doubt spend the remainder of the offseason plugging in affordable holes in the bottom-6 and at the back of the defense.
In terms of prospects, in the short term, this means one of Matt Lashoff, Vladimir Mihalik, and Matt Smaby - all waiver eligible - could slot in as the No.6.
Also, the chances of Brett Connolly or Carter Ashton being rushed and getting a top-6 job just went from mediocre to very low. Ashton has the ability to excel as a third line forward, but with Dana Tyrell and James Wright perfect for that role, along with Johan Harju, it hardly seems necessary. Teddy Purcell and recently signed Niklas Persson also are third line possibilities. Ashton can return to Regina if he fails to make the Lightning. He cannot play in the AHL.