What the signing of Simon Gagne Means for Bruins


Sep 30, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins left wing

Simon Gagne

(12) against the New York Islanders during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins are in desperate need of a spark after the disappointing 1-3 start. Newly signed veteran Simon Gagne might just be that spark. Gagne was signed Tuesday morning to a one year, $600,000 deal and will make his black and gold debut Wednesday night in Detroit. While the signing of a 34 year old might not entice excitement in many Bruins fans, Gagne is still an offensive threat and, if put in the right line, could be the missing piece to the Bruins puzzle.

It’s no secret that the Bruins have struggled to find offensive consistency through their first four games. The absence of 30-goal-scorer Jarome Iginla has been pointed out by many as the reason for these struggles however, losing one player can not equate to four lines of offensive mediocrity. The reason the Bruins can not find the back of the net is that they do not have the full four line cavalcade they have grown accustomed to in their string recent success. While it is true that Iginla wearing a Colorado jersey has hurt the Bruins productivity, it is not the primary cause of ineffectiveness.

The addition of Simon Gagne makes the Bruins a much deeper team, offensively speaking, than they were Monday afternoon in the gut-punching 2-1 loss to Iginla’s Avalanche. This addition gives head coach Claude Julien the freedom to make changes without putting too much pressure on rookies to fill Iginla’s role. By no means is Gagne a first line forward, but there are many players already on the black and gold roster that can fit in well with David Krejci and Milan Lucic on the team’s premier grouping.

Chris Kelly would be an option for Julien to experiment with come Wednesday night. Kelly is currently playing with Loui Eriksson and Carl Söderberg, and while this line has been one of the most dangerous through the first four games, its success is not nearly as important as Krejci and Lucic’s line. Kelly is a jack-of-all-trades, he can shoot the puck, apply pressure on the forecheck, and come up big in the defensive zone. He is one of the few grinder/two-way forward hybrids in the league. A player like Kelly can easily mimic the role of Jarome Iginla’s on last year’s first line which was considered one of the best lines in hockey.

"“Everyone knows he’s a good player in this league and he’s had some setbacks, so we hope that he’ll be able to recapture what he had to hopefully the best level possible.” – Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien"

The hole left by Kelly on the third line could easily be filled by the newly acquired Simon Gagne. Gagne could seemingly score at will during his prime, scoring over 40 goals in both the 2005 and 2006 seasons. While he is no longer the threat he once was, that much talent can never disappear, Gagne will continue to contribute offensively no matter what line he plays on. Gagne can also bring the same veteran presence to the young Swedes that Chris Kelly brings to the line, which is an invaluable asset in itself.

Gagne might not be the player he once was, but he is exactly what the stumbling Bruins might need. He is a low-risk, high-reward player that could turn out to be a key piece to the 2015 Stanley Cup puzzle. He is the much needed WD-40 to the stiff Bruins lineup. Giving mad scientist Claude Julien the freedom to experiment may give the Bruins the result they have been searching for.