Flyers Made the Right Move By Not Re-Signing Simon Gagne: They Just Handled It Poorly

As many of you might know, the Philadelphia Flyers are need of a third-line left winger. They were reportedly on the cusp of bringing in former Red Wing Daniel Cleary on a pro try-out contract, but that deal fell through earlier this week.

Gagne has 32 career postseason goals with the Flyers (via SBNation)

A legitimate option was former Flyer Simon Gagne, who is currently a free agent but seemed to be on the Flyers radar. Long story short, the Flyers have distanced themselves from Gagne very late in the signing process, and he seems to have no alternative at this point.

Now, let’s not muddy the waters on this point: deciding not to re-sign Gagne, 33, at this point in his career is the right move for a team looking to get younger at forward. He is nearing the end of his career, and signing a washed-up veteran like him is the move Flyers fans constantly criticize the front office for.

On the other hand, Paul Holmgren, ostensibly a more “player-oriented” General Manager, truly dropped the ball in his handling of the situation. He’s not necessarily a fan favorite, unlike Gagne, and after reading Gagne’s comments one gets the sense that Holmgren led him along with the knowledge that Gagne would not be in the team’s future. And this has left Gagne in a poor situation with only three weeks until the start of the regular season.

From Gagne (per Hockey Rumors and Trades): “All summer, the Flyers kept hinting that they wanted to offer me a new contract and I even told Robert Sauvé, my agent, not to negotiate with other teams. We trusted them. We put all our eggs in one basket and we got caught. We never thought we’d be stuck in this situation at this time of the year . . . I knew that hockey was a business, but with all the positive discussions we had with the GM Paul Holmgren, I can’t believe I’m not back with them.”

He also said that it “felt like a slap in the face.” Those are not very affectionate words coming from a veteran who has spent 11 of his 14 professional seasons with this organization.

Maybe those comments should be a “slap in the face” to Paul Holmgren and his new assistant GM Ron Hextall: Hockey is not 100 percent a business, and if you want to be a successful General Manager, you have to know how to walk that fine line.



Tags: , , ,

Categories: Beat Writing, Flyers

Author:Manav Khandelwal

I am the founder of Khandyman Sports, and follow all Philadelphia pro sports teams religiously. I also write for the Hoop76, covering the Sixers for ESPN, and am a credentialed Flyers reporter for Main Line Media News.

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