When the Tampa Bay Lightning’s season abruptly ended on May 27, the clock representing Simon Gagne’s remaining time in Florida began to tick down.
With the July 1 unrestricted free agent deadline approaching and the high-priced, oft-injured winger concluding a deal that paid him over $26 million in five years, Gagne, 31, could be looking at a new home or possibly even an old one.
“Gagne, I’d say slim,” said Lightning beat reporter Erik Erlendsson on Twitter, when asked the chances of the player’s return to Tampa.
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According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Thursday, the Flyers have placed 30-year-old defenseman Matt Walker on waivers. If he clears, Walker is expected to join the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL.
Walker, acquired in the offseason from the Tampa Bay Lightning as the key return in the Simon Gagne trade, was set to make $1.7 million per season for the next three years. The move could act as a precursor for a roster addition, as Walker’s cap space, matched with the space received from waived goaltender Michael Leighton, gives the Flyers around $3 million of free space.
Joining the Flyers prior to training camp, Walker was hampered with hip injuries which began toward the end of the preseason. The tough blue liner with a right-handed shot needed two separate surgeries on both the left and right hip, which kept him out of the line up for much of the season. Walker played his first game of the year on Jan.18, then played three more after that, before the return of Chris Pronger forced Walker back into a depth position.
Poor Matt Walker.
Nearly two months since having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, the Flyers defenseman now needs left hip surgery and is expected to miss a minimum of six weeks.
Walker, 30, was participating in a conditioning stint with the Adirondack Phantoms on Sunday before the Flyers, on Monday, unexpectedly placed the seven-year veteran on injured reserve.
Acquired in the trade that sent forward Simon Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Walker, who hurt his hip in the preseason and underwent surgery on Oct. 20, has yet to play a game with the Flyers.
The Tampa Bay Lightning wanted nothing more than to take home a win in Philadelphia for former Flyers and current Lightning forward Simon Gagne.
It’s safe to say Gagne left his old hometown happy.
Pavel Kubina’s goal early in the third period would serve as the game-winner, as Tampa Bay handed Philadelphia it’s first regulation loss of the season, 3-2, Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
On Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the typically hateful Philadelphia crowd stood and provided a loud and emotional cheer for former Flyer and now Tampa Bay Lightning forward Simon Gagne, who made his first return to the city he played in for 10 seasons.
The tribute video, thanks to The 700 Level.
The video debuted during a TV timeout in the first period and was followed by a standing ovation and curtain call by Gagne.
With sadness but understanding, the wait is mercifully over — the Flyers have officially traded forward Simon Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lightning for defenseman Matt Walker and a fourth round pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft.
As expected, the Flyers have officially signed forward Nikolai Zherdev to a one-year deal worth $2 million.
Zherdev, 25, is a 6’2, 203 lbs. skill forward with incredible hands and an uncanny ability to finish. Armed with a great deal of natural scoring ability, the Ukrainian’s naysayers have stated that despite his skill, he is a head case with a lazy work ethic. The Flyers hope that a steady organization with a high-paced offensive game helps Zherdev gain some consistency.
“Nik is a highly skilled player who, at 25-years-old, we feel will be a good fit to our core of forwards,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. “Prior to playing last season in Russia, Nik ranked as one of the top young point-producers in the NHL. We are pleased to add him to our team.”