TAMPA, Fla. — Simon Gagne gladly
waived his no-trade clause to leave the only NHL team he ever played for
and join the Tampa Bay Lightning.
New Lightning general manager Steve
Yzerman added a big offensive chip to his club by trading for the
longtime Philadelphia Flyers forward Monday. Tampa Bay sent defenseman
Matt Walker and a fourth-round pick in next year's draft to Philadelphia
to get Gagne, who spent 10 seasons with the Flyers.
"In adding Simon to the Lightning, we
acquire a very talented player that will play alongside our top
forwards," Yzerman said in a statement. "With his combination of speed
and skill we are excited to have him with us and grateful he was willing
to waive his no-movement clause.
"This trade not only makes us a better
team in the short term, it helps create long-term flexibility for us,
which all along has been one of our top priorities."
In 664 NHL games, Gagne has 259 goals
and 265 assists. He ranks ninth on the Flyers' career list in goals and
10th in points and games played.
He had 17 goals and 23 assists in 58
games last season and added nine goals and three assists in 19 playoff
games as Philadelphia reached the Stanley Cup finals before losing to
the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
Gagne is eligible to become a free
agent after next season.
"I'm very excited right now," Gagne
said. "I'm looking at this opportunity as a new challenge and a new
start. Tampa Bay was a team I was more than willing to waive my no-move
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Walker has
played in 304 career regular-season games over seven seasons. The
30-year-old Alberta native was originally selected by the St. Louis
Blues in the third round of the 1998 draft.
Walker had two goals, three assists
and 90 penalty minutes in 66 games last season with the Lightning. While
with St. Louis, Chicago and Tampa Bay, Walker amassed four goals, 26
assists and 444 penalty minutes during his NHL career.
"We like the way Matt plays," Flyers
GM Paul Holmgren said. "He's a character-intense player. He plays
physical. He's a stay-at-home guy that is a good penalty killer. On our
team, he can buy us dirty minutes and not be a liability, but be a
positive force and help and defend our own zone."
Walker said he has "always wanted to
play in Philly" and that he would be a "good fit" with the Flyers.
"My initial reaction was pure
excitement," Walker said.
The 30-year-old Gagne, chosen by
Philadelphia with the No. 22 pick in the 1998 NHL draft, led the Flyers
in goals three times — including two 40-goal seasons — and twice in
points. He was chosen as the team's MVP in two seasons and was selected
to the NHL All-Star game twice.
"Anytime you're talking about a young
man that has brought as much to the organization that Simon has, it's
very difficult," Holmgren said of dealing Gagne.
Gagne, who scored a career-best 47
goals during the 2005-06 season, scored the winning goal in overtime of
Game 4 against Boston in the second round and the decisive goal in Game 7
of that series to complete Philadelphia's comeback from a 3-0 deficit.