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BREAKING: Gagne Traded to Tampa Bay Lightning [UPDATED]

Daily News of Philadelphia is reporting via Twitter that Simon Gagne has been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Philadephia Flyers. We’re awaiting confirmation as well as players involved. We’ll keep you up to date here as more information becomes available.

[Note by John Fontana, 07/19/10 2:38 PM EDT ] Damian Cristordero is reporting that the Flyers traded LW Gagne for defenseman Matt Walker and a 4th round selection in 2011. That’s the second veteran D-man that the Flyers have taken off the Lightning’s hands this off-season.

[Note by John Fontana, 07/19/10 2:44 PM EDT ] There had been reports online earlier as the story first broke about players such as forward Dana Tyrell and defenseman Ty Wishart going back to the Flyers for Gagne. That was painful to see but I could understand it. You have to give to get… Then there were unconfirmed online reports that a goaltender would be part of the package — Mike Smith? Dustin Tokarski? Can’t say, I only found out the reports of a goalie through third-parties (without the sources of the rumor being clarified).

But Matt Walker?  Old Tex himself and a fourth round pick in 2011?  I did not see that coming and it is stunning Lightning fans and hockey foes alike.  Walker is solid but not flashy…  Yet he’s overpaid while the Bolts have a load of defensemen in the system just waiting to prove themselves.  For the Flyers to take Walker and his $1.7 Million per-year contract off the Bolts hands is breathtaking…  Especially while wanting o clear cap space.

The official press release has been added below the jump


D Matt Walker, 4th-Round Pick In 2011 Sent to Flyers

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired two-time 40-goal scorer Simon Gagne (gah-N’YAY, see-MOHN) from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Matt Walker and a fourth-round draft pick in 2011 today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

“In adding Simon to the Lightning today, we acquire a very talented player that will play along side our top forwards,” said Yzerman upon making the announcement. “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.”

Gagne, 6-foot, 195 pounds, has played in 664 career NHL games, all with the Flyers, recording 259 goals, 72 power play goals, 11 shorthanded goals, 47 game-winning goals and 524 points with a career plus-143 rating. He has put together two seasons with 40 goals or more, four with 30 goals or more and seven with 20 or more. Gagne ranks ninth on the all-time Philadelphia goals list, 10th for points and 11th for power play goals. He was awarded the Bobby Clarke Trophy, given annually to the Flyers’ most valuable player, following both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

“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 clause for. I really like the direction the team is headed in with a solid owner, Steve Yzerman as GM and Coach Boucher. I’m really looking forward to playing with guys like Lecavalier, Stamkos and St. Louis. I’m excited to be a member of the Lightning and I’m looking forward to starting next season in Tampa Bay.”

A native of Ste. Foy, Quebec, Gagne was selected to the NHL All-Star Game in 2001 and 2007. He was also named to the 2000 NHL All-Rookie Team. Gagne has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs just twice during his 11-year NHL career. He has played in 90 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, recording 32 goals and 47 points.

Gagne played in 58 games with the Flyers last season, recording 17 goals, five power-play goals, four game-winning goals and 40 points. He missed much of the first portion of the season due to injury and returned to action December 19. He amassed 16 goals and 35 points in the 49 games after he returned to the line-up. His 18:37 in average ice time ranked third among Flyers forwards.

Gagne shined in Philadelphia’s journey to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, recording nine goals and 12 points in 19 contests. He led the team during the postseason in power play goals with five (tied for the NHL lead), was third in goals and tied for second with two game-winning goals.

Gagne has also excelled in international competition, representing Canada in multiple tournaments. He won the Gold Medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and won the Silver Medal at the 1999 World Junior Championships, where he lefd the tournament with seven goals.

The 30-year-old was drafted by Philadelphia in the first round, 22nd overall, of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft out of Quebec of the QMJHL.

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