After earning 40 million dollars over 15 years in comparative tax havens like Philadelphia, Tampa and Los Angeles, like Daniel Briere, Simon Gagne now wants to come home to Quebec. Or that’s what his agent Bob Sauve would have us believe.
Sauve says he is awaiting an answer from general manager Marc Bergevin on whether the Canadiens are interested in his services. By the silence in the Canadiens front offices I think it’s safe to say Bergevin’s enthusiasm can best be described as is muted.
We’re used to player agents playing the trial-balloon game. Jaromir Jagr’s agent Petr Svoboda does it to near perfection.
It goes like this: Agent says he is negotiating on behalf of his client with the Canadiens. At the same time he states there are several other teams bidding for his player’s services so the Canadiens shouldn’t drag their feet or it will be too late. All of it is a crock of course. The agent’s goal is to artificially create a market where, as in Gagne’s case, there has been none. Fortunately, unlike some of his predecessors, Bergevin doesn’t play the game.
Hard to manufacture a September bidding war for a 33 year old player who scored only 5 goals last season, was a healthy scratch on a regular basis while with Los Angeles and was returned to the Flyers in February for a fourth round draft choice. In addition, although relatively healthy last season, between 2010 and 2012 Gagne missed 91 games. With the Flyers it was issues with his groin and feet. In Tampa and LA there were head and neck problems.
Even if Bergevin were to give the Sauve proposal a second thought, he would first have to ask himself where would he improve a position on the Canadiens top three lines. The answer is, nowhere could he make the team better. Beyond that, bringing Gagne aboard as some kind of injury insurance would only throw up a roster roadblock for one or more of the promising forwards who hope to earn an opportunity for promotion from Hamilton this season.
That Simon Gagne didn’t start his career with the Canadiens is a monument to the blunder filled incompetence of Canadiens 1990’s amateur scouting. In 1998, the Canadiens held the 16th choice in the entry draft’s first round. At that point, most thought then Canadiens chief scout Pierre Dorion would draft the Quebec Remparts Gagne, by all reports the best skater in the QMJHL outside of number one overall pick Vincent Lecavalier. Gagne was coming off a 39 goal-69 point season. Once again as they had in almost every futile draft over the previous decade, the Canadiens went for size a took Gagne’s linemate, a lazy, moody goalscoring left wing named Eric Chouinard. The Flyers, who have always had a better scouting presence in Quebec, could hardly believe The history books write the rest of the story. Chouinard played 13 of his 90 NHL games with the Canadiens, never scoring more than four goals. Gagne, in just over 1000 games so far, has 368 goals and 770 points.