Are the Kings interested in Simon Gagne?

simongagne3.jpgWe wrote earlier about how the Flyers asked scoring winger Simon Gagne to waive his no-trade clause and now some teams are being bandied about as to a possible destination. The main team getting mentioned is the Los Angeles Kings as Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly tells us.

Aside from their obvious Flyer ties, the Kings are considered a prime target area because both general manager Dean Lombardi and assistant GM Ron Hextall are huge fans of the 10-year veteran, who is among the most likable Flyers on the roster and a fixture in the City of Philadelphia.

Certainly Ron Hextall having a role in the Kings front office is at play here, but there’s something else to think about as well. The Kings have been talked about since the get-go of free agency that they’re heavily involved in talks to sign left wing free agency super prize Ilya Kovalchuk.  The word from numerous sources checking in on Kovalchuk talks have reported that he wants $10 million a year.

The Kings taking a long look at Simon Gagne as a trade possibility (perhaps dangling starting goaltender Jon Quick or prospect goaltender Jonathan Bernier) would be pretty ideal leverage to use against Kovalchuk to get his asking price down. Rich Hammond of the LA Kings Insider got an answer from Kings GM Dean Lombardi as to what, exactly is going on both on the Gagne and Kovalchuk fronts. Lombardi was rather straight-forward in his reply.

“We have been, and continue to, work, on a number of different scenarios. We do not anticipate any resolution tonight. if something changes, we will let you know.”

Sounds like a busy guy there and giving the, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” reply hammers things home a bit. Gagne would provide a nice scoring touch on the left wing of star center Anze Kopitar, but with Kovalchuk out there and taking in all offers, don’t expect the Kings to really get involved in anything involving Gagne unless negotiations with Kovalchuk go very sour.

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    Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs

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    Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

    Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

    At any rate it’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

    The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

    Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

    Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

    Carey Price,
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    Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

    That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 30-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

    On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

    Related: The latest on Price’s injury

    Report: Jets offered Byfuglien for Hamonic, Isles said no

    Dustin Byfuglien

    If Travis Hamonic could choose one team to be traded to, he’d probably choose Winnipeg. The 25-year-old Islanders defenseman wants to be closer to his family, and his family is from Manitoba. Hamonic already owns a condo in Winnipeg.

    So far, though, the Jets and Islanders haven’t been able to work out a deal. The Jets have three right-shot defensemen in Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, and Tyler Myers who could, theoretically, be swapped for Hamonic, also a right shot.

    “I think the Islanders were offered Byfuglien and they said no,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said this morning on Sportsnet 960 (audio), per Today’s Slapshot. “And I understand why, because Byfuglien’s got no term left.

    “I think they’d love to have Trouba, but the Jets aren’t really there to do it. Myers, if it’s happened – I can’t say for sure it has or hasn’t – I’m not sure that’s the deal either team really wants to make, to be perfectly honest.”

    Byfuglien is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s expected to cash in big-time on his next deal. The 30-year-old may not be the most disciplined player, but at his best, he’s an absolute force on the back end.

    That the Isles reportedly said no to Byfuglien shouldn’t really come as a surprise, given his contract uncertainty. However, it does make one wonder about his future in Winnipeg. Remember that the salary cap is not expected to go up by much, and the Jets have another pending UFA in captain Andrew Ladd, plus a couple of key RFAs in Trouba and Mark Scheifele.

    While it’s never easy to tell what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is thinking, the big question with Byfuglien and the Jets may end up being when, not if, they part ways. Will it be after the season or before the Feb. 29 trade deadline?

    Preds still haven’t found their scoring touch

    Mike Fisher

    The Nashville Predators got off to a relatively good start this season, but something seems to have happened to their offense over the last six games.

    Prior to Nov. 20, the Preds had only been shut out once in their first 17 games. Since then, they’ve been blanked three times and have just six goals in their last six contests.

    If you remove Mike Fisher from the equation, the numbers are even more dreadful.

    Fisher’s scored three of those six goals, while Filip Forsberg, Shea Weber, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro have none.

    After Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Buffalo , here’s what coach Peter Laviolette told the Tennessean: “I thought we could’ve had more gas, to be honest with you. The energy just wasn’t there; maybe the second period had something to do with that or the road trip, which was a long trip. I’m not making any excuses, but I think when we play at a higher tempo that’s when we’re at our best, and we had more to push in that area tonight.”

    The first game back home after a long road trip is typically a difficult one for most teams, so we’ll see how the Predators respond on Tuesday night when they host Arizona.