Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Free Agent Preview: Gagne Another Cheap Offseason Gamble For Rangers?

Over the past two summers the New York Rangers have had luck with players coming to New York having something to prove with Vinny Prospal and Ruslan Fedotenko respectively.  Both players came to New York on cheap one year deals and outperformed their salaries in various ways.  Can the Rangers strike gold for a third straight season and find another player that is looking to prove there is still more in the tank than many might think at this stage of their career.  One such player to consider would Simon Gagne of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Gagne is someone that Rangers fans are very familiar with from his years with the rival Philadelphia Flyers and has the skill to be a top six winger on the left side and provide the Rangers secondary scoring.  In his first season in Tampa, Gagne recorded 17 goals and 23 assists in 63 games.  Over an 82 game season that is a very solid 52 point pace, but that is precisely issue with Gagne who cannot seem to stay healthy enough to play an 82 game year. 

Over the past four seasons Gagne has missed a total of 103 games and only played more than 63 games once.  The most serious of those injuries going forward is the concussion history of Gagne.  Gagne has had significant concussion and recently had another during this year’s postseason so counting on him for production could be detrimental to the team over the course of the season if he cannot stay healthy.  It is that injury history though that should make Gagne a reasonably cheap option for the Rangers to take the gamble on this summer, if they so choose.

Personally I would avoid Gagne this summer, but if the deal is for one year at $2 million or less, then the Rangers could certainly do worse than gambling on the potential upside of Gagne and the secondary scoring he could bring.