Flyers acquire Gagne, Michael Ryder headed back to Montreal

Who says you can’t go home?

In what turned out to be an eventful Tuesday afternoon, the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings connected for a trade that will see forward Simon Gagne return to Philadelphia, the team that drafted him in 1998, in exchange for a conditional fourth-round draft pick.

Gagne has experienced increasingly diminished ice time in Los Angeles and has only tallied five assists in 11 games with the team. Philadelphia, who has struggled out of the gate and currently finds themselves ninth in the Eastern Conference, will look to Gagne to provide offense in the wake of news that forward Matt Read will be sidelined for six weeks with a rib-cage injury.

“It’s always a shock first of all getting traded, but when they told me the place I was going, the place I was there for more than 10 years and where everything started…it’s going back to the place where I’m really familiar, and [I’m] really excited to go back to Philly,” Gagne said.

rydercoleGagne made his debut with the Flyers in 1999 and scored 20 goals and 48 points. He had a career year in 2005-06, tallying 47 goals and 32 assists for 79 points, but Gagne has only played more than 60 games twice over the last six years thanks to injuries. He was traded to Tampa Bay in 2010 and then signed as a free agent with the Kings in 2011 and was part of the team’s Stabley Cup-winning run last season.

Gagne will likely debut with the Flyers on Wednesday when they host the Washington Capitals.

Elsewhere in the league, the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars connected on an even trade that will see Montreal reacquire forward Michael Ryder, who the team drafted in 1998, in exchange for forward Erik Cole.

This trade appears a little more suspect as, statistically, the Canadiens are major winners in this trade. In 19 games with the Stars, Ryder has tallied six goals and eight assists with 42 shots on goal. Cole, on the other hand, has three goals and three assists in 19 games with 43 shots on net.

Dallas may simply be making an early deal after seeing the writing on the wall. Ryder will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so the Stars may have opted to trade him if contract negotiations aren’t going well or he has indicated that he will test free agency this summer. Cole still has two years remaining on his contract.

Ryder should be able to provide a scoring boost for the Candiens, who are ranked 15th in the NHL in goals scored per game. The team has experienced an incredible bounce-back season this year and currently find themselves atop the Eastern Conference standings with 27 points.

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