Sign Simon and You Won’t Gagne

It’s always a rare occasion when Don Brennan makes a player personnel suggestion that isn’t in someway linked to whether or not a player had some Ottawa 67s lineage. But there it was in this morning’s paper:

The Senators plan to sign a scoring winger to play with Spezza come free agent time, and 31-year-old Simon Gagne is among the best available. Sure, he has a history of injury trouble, but he is a former 47-goal sniper who is finding his touch these days (six goals in six games prior to Tuesday). Gagne, who is paid a $5.25-mil salary by the Bolts, would prefer to stay put. “I like it here, my family likes it here, I like the group of guys that we have here,” he said. “But the most important thing is I like where the team is going. I like the direction with the new ownership … they want to bring the Cup back.”

As the British accented season ticket holder — who sat close to my parents’ seats — used to bellow whenever Wade Redden made a bad pass, “Wrong decision!!!”

Truth be told, this is a terrible fucking idea. Although, to his credit, it’s not even the dumbest thing that he has written today – the decision to call out Georges Laraque… again was.

Simply put, Simon Gagne is a regressing bag off ass who hasn’t played well since 2008. But don’t take my word for it, just look at his numbers:


Year Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM Hits BkS PPG PPA SHG SHA GW SOG Pct
1999-00 PHI 80 20 28 48 11 22 N/A N/A 8 13 1 0 4 159 .126
2000-01 PHI 69 27 32 59 24 18 N/A N/A 6 11 0 0 7 191 .141
2001-02 PHI 79 33 33 66 31 32 N/A N/A 4 9 1 1 7 199 .166
2002-03 PHI 46 9 18 27 20 16 N/A N/A 1 4 1 1 3 115 .078
2003-04 PHI 80 24 21 45 12 29 N/A N/A 6 8 0 0 6 211 .114
2005-06 PHI 72 47 32 79 31 38 N/A N/A 12 11 2 3 7 334 .141
2006-07 PHI 76 41 27 68 2 30 N/A N/A 13 8 2 1 4 291 .141
2007-08 PHI 25 7 11 18 -8 4 N/A N/A 5 5 0 1 2 76 .092
2008-09 PHI 79 34 40 74 21 42 N/A N/A 12 13 4 4 3 221 .154
2009-10 PHI 58 17 23 40 -1 47 38 26 5 14 0 0 4 183 .093
2010-11 TB 57 16 18 34 -18 18 46 18 7 7 0 0 3 139 .115
Career 721 275 283 558 125 296 84 44 79 103 11 11 50 2119 .130

Since the 2006-07 season, he’s had one good season (2007-08) in which he put up decent numbers. And by the time that Gagne hits free agency this summer, that will have been two seasons ago. Brennan put it mildly when he said that Gagne had a history of injuries.  His health record is spottier than Cameron Diaz’s complexion – Double hernias? Check. A myriad of concussions? Check. Shoulder problems? Check. A mysterious neck injury that forced him to miss 18 games this season? Check.

Sweet. When can we get this guy to sign on the dotted line?

Maybe I’m being a tad facetious here. Gagne has posted some modest offensive numbers this season but using Dobber Hockey’s line combination resource tool, Gagne’s also played approximately 68-70% of his ice-time alongside one (or more) of Lecavalier, St. Louis, or Stamkos.

As I noted in yesterday’s Senators Extra Prediction Panel, Tampa’s the only Eastern Conference team that features a negative goal differential. Like Gagne’s name value, their placement in the standings is probably a bit inflated. In consequence, I can’t ignore that glaring -18 on what is currently a 5th seeded Lightning team. Looking at the latest version of Behindthenet.ca‘s latest Goals Versus Threshold (GVT) rankings (taken from March 3rd), Gagne had the worst rating amongst Tampa forwards who had played more than 30 games.

But of course, Gagne’s been lighting the lamp of late – six goals in six games prior to Tuesday. Here’s what Gagne has done in his past seven games:

Date Opponent Result G A Pts +/- PIM PPG Hits Bks PPA SHG SHA GW GT SOG Pct
Mar 29 OTT W 5-2 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Mar 26 @ CAR W 4-2 2 0 2 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1.000
Mar 25 CAR L 3-4 2 0 2 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 1.000
Mar 22 NYI L 2-5 0 0 0 -3 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Mar 17 @ MON OTL 2-3 1 1 2 -2 2 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 .500
Mar 14 @ TOR W 6-2 0 1 1 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
Mar 12 @ FLA OTL 3-4 1 2 3 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 .333

Montreal notwithstanding, that’s some pretty inferior competition. (My apologies to Leafs fans deluded with playoff aspirations.)

Even though Gagne’s the most recognizable name on the free agent list. It’s a weak class this summer. There should be no impetus upon the Senators to overpay to bring in this kind of aging player. It’s this archaic, cut-and-paste and hockeyocratic philosophy to sign these past their prime former stars that we should be encouraging the organization to ignore. How many Kubas, Gonchars or Kovalevs does the organization need to burn through before some specific individuals in Ottawa’s traditional media get it? Signing Gagne out of a weak free agent crop is akin to doing some online dating and picking the best girl out of Renfrew County on the basis that she has the most teeth. (Unless you’re one of those people who prefer the gummy novelty of a toothless woman.)

Of course, judging from Gagne’s comments (lip service?), I doubt he would even consider taking a paycut to leave a warm, pressure-less environment to come play for a rebuilding team in Ottawa, so the idea is probably moot.

Da Costa Update:

dacostafrance

The latest news pertaining to Da Costa is that Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher flew to Toronto to meet face to face with Da Costa and his representative Wade Arnott. I don’t want to read too much into this and speculate that this is the kind of action that will seal the deal in Minnesota’s favor. However, does this not strike you as the act of a desperate man? Or at least one who lacks confidence in signing the player and has to make such a last ditch effort?

I was talking to Tim recently about Ottawa’s bargaining position with Da Costa and he raised a valid point. Assuming that Da Costa can appreciate a bastardized version of the french language, perhaps Ottawa has a distinct advantage over Minnesota or Florida in that it has an accessible francophone population.

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