WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Off to a 1-3-0 start to the season and struggling to put the puck in the net, the Boston Bruins on Tuesday signed veteran scorer Simon Gagne to a one-year, one-way deal worth $600,000.
Gagne attended training camp with the Bruins on a tryout. He improved as camp progressed, so general manager Peter Chiarelli asked him to remain with the team as a non-roster player. With the Bruins having trouble scoring, they officially added Gagne to the roster.
"I know I had to put myself in a good position, to come here in good shape and show a flash of what I could bring," Gagne said. "I felt the last couple of preseason games I started to feel better and better."
It could be money well spent for the Bruins if the 34-year-old Gagne, who sat out all of last season, can regain his scoring touch. During his 13 seasons in the NHL, he recorded 288 goals and 309 assists for 597 points, including a plus-129 rating in 799 games. However, he hasn't scored more than seven goals in a season since 2010-11.
"Experience is No. 1," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Everybody knows he's been a good player in this league. He's had some setbacks [but] we hope he'll be able to recapture what he had and to hopefully the best level possible. He's accepted to come here, and accepted whatever role we want to give him, so when you've got that opportunity to get a guy like that -- why not? He's been loyal since Day 1 and I think he's a good addition to our team."
When Gagne first spoke with Julien during the summer, the two believed the veteran forward could contribute in Boston and help the Bruins win. It was only a matter of Gagne getting back in game shape and proving during camp the long layoff from the NHL wouldn't affect his ability to succeed. During the preseason games, Gagne was used on both special-team units and Julien said that will continue moving forward. Gagne skated with the fourth line at Tuesday's practice and is expected to make his debut Wednesday night in Detroit.
"Whatever it takes, I'm here to help the team win and I'm really happy I have a chance to get back in the league with a good team, so I'm open to anything," Gagne said.
Gagne, whose last game in the NHL came on April 27, 2013, realizes it will take him time to catch up. The preseason games he played for the Bruins will help. He's been able to practice with the team, too.
"It's a week not playing a game, so hopefully I didn't lose everything, but I've had some good practices with the coaches after morning skates, a couple of good bike rides, kind of keeping myself in good shape, but it's one thing to feel good in practice and it's another thing to feel good in a real game. We'll see [Wednesday] but hopefully I didn't lose too much speed from not playing the last four games."
Gagne gained instant credibility from the players once he arrived in Boston. Top-line center David Krejci didn't know Gagne finally signed, and when news spread around the locker room after Tuesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena, it was welcomed.
"That's good news," Krejci said. "He's a good player and he's been in the league for a long time, so he's got some experience and he can put the puck in the net. I think twice he had 40-plus goals, so everyone knows the situation we're in and we kind of need some goals and he's a guy that can put the puck in the net, so hopefully he'll do that and help the team win some games."