Trading Gagne may be a must

The Flyers appear to be amid a salary-cap squeeze that can only be solved by trading Simon Gagne.

According to various reports in Russia and Canada, the Flyers are close to an agreement with free agent right wing Nikolai Zherdev but need to shed Gagne’s $5.25 million salary to clear room for the talented Ukrainian.

Meanwhile, Gagne told French-speaking television station RDS that he has not yet waived his no-trade clause.

“I have a no-trade clause and I didn’t waive it,” Gagne told RDS. “The Flyers have a salary cap problem, and I’m a player that is on the tail end of his contract, with still a year to complete. The next few days may help us to see what’s going to happen for me.”

Gagne has not returned messages left for him by the Courier-Post.

Zherdev, 25, is reportedly seeking a multi-year contract worth close to $4 million a season. The only way the Flyers can make room for that kind of contract is to trade Gagne or place him on waivers.

Zherdev has 99 goals and 239 points in his five seasons in the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers. He became an unrestricted free agent last summer after the Rangers walked away from a $4 million arbitration award.

If the Flyers find a way to clear salary space for Zherdev it would preclude any possible deal to land free-agent goaltender Marty Turco, who is believed to be seeking at least $2.5 million a season.

http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20100709/SPORTS04/7090325/Trading-Gagne-may-be-a-must