“The Flyers’ attempts to clear space under the salary cap by trading veteran left wing Simon Gagne appear to be indirectly related to the New Jersey Devils’ attempt to re-sign Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Devils reportedly are close to signing Kovalchuk to a seven-year, $60 million extension. Once that deal is finalized, other NHL teams in the running for Kovalchuk — namely, the Los Angeles Kings and New York Islanders — will need to look in another direction to add offense.
The Kings currently have $17 million in cap space and are believed to be interested in acquiring Gagne, who has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $5.25 million a season.
The Islanders, Avalanche, Thrashers and Blues might also be in a position to add Gagne’s salary.
Gagne has agreed to lift his no-trade clause and likely has given Flyers GM Paul Holmgren a list of teams for whom he would play.
Los Angeles remains the most likely destination because of Gagne’s relationship with assistant general manager Ron Hextall, head coach Terry Murray and assistant coach John Stevens, all of whom worked with the Flyers during Gagne’s playing career here.”