As Tuesday’s 5pm eastern time deadline for teams to reduce their rosters to 23 men, and be cap compliant, fast approaches, Simon Gagne continues to wait for a contract from the Boston Bruins.
Gagne, 34, had a solid showing in camp and through the preseason reports CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty and though he doesn’t have a contract yet, it appears a deal isn’t far off.
Gagne who didn’t play in 2013-14, split the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season between the LA Kings and Philadelphia Flyers where he scored five goals and 16 points in 38 games.
The forward said he was motivated to get back into the game watching the Kings march to the Stanley Cup last spring.
“I missed the game last year, especially during the playoffs,” said Gagne. “I feel energized. I feel really good physically and mentally, so I’m ready for another (season). When I got the call from Boston, I thought it was the perfect scenario for myself, and for my family.”
Even after moving Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders, the Bruins only have $330,000 in cap space to work with as of Monday morning according to CapGeek.
Gagne isn’t deterred by the the Bruins cap situation.
“I had a little chat with (GM Peter Chiarelli)… we’ll see what happens over the next few days,” said Gagne. “I’ll be a part of the team, and I’ll stick around. It’s something where I’m ready to do whatever it takes to make the team. It’s good for them, and it’s good for me.
“I’m not going to another team. I’m here now and I want to be here now. I’m not going anywhere.”
For their part, Boston is happy with how Gagne has progressed through camp given he spent a year away from the game.
“My impressions are that he’s getting better. I think he’s skating better and he’s starting to get his hands back. He’s been away from the game – he’s skated for most of the year, but he’s been away from the game for the whole year,” said Chiarelli. “I spoke with him (Saturday) morning, and I made a proposal to him in the sense of, ‘Look Simon, I see you getting better, I want you to stick around and practice with the team.’
“He didn’t say yes or no, but I think he suggested he would want to stick around. He feels that he’s getting better. So that’s kind of a play-it-by-ear, day-by-day see how his legs feel, see how his hands feel, and just kind of see how it goes.”
Originally a first-round pick of the Flyers in 1998, Gagne has appeared in 799 NHL games with the Flyers, Lightning and Kings where he’s scored 288 goals and 597 points.
Boston is no stranger to giving older players contracts following camp invites. As Haggerty points out in his piece, the Bruins once signed Jay Pandolfo following a professional tryout.
“I didn’t play last year, so I’m happy to be here,” said Gagne. “If it takes a week or a couple of days, I will take the time and work hard in practice waiting for something to happen.”
The Bruins ironically open the season Wednesday against the Flyers.
Gagne could ultimately turn into a bottom six depth type player in Boston should he sign.