Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Paul Gagne
While playing in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey Association at the age of 15, speedy winger Paul Gagne scored 45 goals and 85 points in 43 games with the Iroquois Falls Abitibi. The following year he was a rookie in the OMJHL with the Windsor Spitfires where he had 24 goals and 42 points in 67 games. In 1979-80 he finished third in team scoring with 101 points on 48 goals and 53 assists. It was that fantastic output while just 17 years of age that resulted in his being selected in the first round, 19th overall by the Colorado Rockies in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft.

Of course in 1980-81 the Colorado Rockies were the doormats of the NHL, so it was not overly surprising that Gagne made the team's roster, despite being only 18. If he had it to do all over again, Gagne may well have chosen to stay in junior for at least one more of his two remaining years of eligibility if for no other reason than to avoid the growing pains of the young Rockies franchise. He admitted into his second season that he often wondered if he was the cause of the team's poor performance. In 61 games he responded with 25 goals and 42 points but the team was constantly losing. After one more year in Denver, the franchise moved to New Jersey and were re-named the Devils. Unfortunately the change in scenery did little for the team's on-ice fortunes as they remained one of the worst clubs in the NHL. In fact it was those bad Devils' teams that prompted Edmonton's Wayne Gretzky to call them "a Mickey Mouse organization."

The constant losing clearly was getting to Gagne. After six NHL seasons he had never played in an NHL playoff game. "It gets frustrating," he said at the time. "You just hope that you are building towards something that leads to making the playoffs." It never happened. Gagne missed the last half of the 1985-86 season after suffering a serious back injury, which sidelined him for two entire seasons.

After an exhaustive rehabilitation program Gagne signed a free-agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the summer of 1988 but played in just 16 games with the team, spending the rest of the year with their minor-league team in Newmarket. In December, Gagne was traded to the New York Islanders where he suited up for nine games before the experiment came to an end.

Gagne had run out of NHL options by 1990, but felt far from finished with pro hockey so he headed to Europe, playing two years in Germany before moving on to Switzerland where he skated for seven years, through the 1998-99 season before taking up coaching for a year.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1977-78 Iroquois Falls Abitibi NOJHA 43 45 40 85
1978-79 Windsor Spitfires OMJHL 67 24 18 42 64 7 1 1 2 2
1979-80 Windsor Spitfires OMJHL 65 48 53 101 87 13 7 8 15 19
1980-81 Colorado Rockies NHL 61 25 16 41 12 -24
1981-82 Colorado Rockies NHL 59 10 12 22 17 -27
1982-83 New Jersey Devils NHL 53 14 15 29 13 -2
1982-83 Wichita Wind CHL 16 1 9 10 9
1983-84 New Jersey Devils NHL 66 14 18 32 33 -22
1984-85 New Jersey Devils NHL 79 24 19 43 28 -11
1985-86 New Jersey Devils NHL 47 19 19 38 14 -15
1986-87 New Jersey Devils NHLMGNT
1987-88 New Jersey Devils NHLMGNT
1988-89 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 16 3 2 5 6 -8
1988-89 Newmarket Saints AHL 56 33 41 74 29 5 4 4 8 5
1989-90 Newmarket Saints AHL 28 13 14 27 11
1989-90 New York Islanders NHL 9 1 0 1 4 -1
1989-90 Springfield Indians AHL 36 18 29 47 6 13 10 6 16 2
1990-91 EV Landshut Germany 44 37 30 67 35 5 7 7 14 7
1991-92 EV Landshut Germany 44 30 23 53 49 8 6 8 14 18
1992-93 EHC Olten Swiss-2 36 39 28 67 47 7 7 7 14 18
1993-94 EHC Olten Swiss 30 16 16 32 52 6 4 3 7 35
1994-95 EHC Olten Swiss-2 32 37 30 67 98 3 1 1 2 35
1995-96 EHC Olten Swiss-2 28 22 19 41 62
1995-96 Zurcher SC Swiss 8 5 2 7 6 4 0 1 1 8
1996-97 EHC Biel-Bienne Swiss-2 41 33 33 66 73 4 1 3 4 2
1997-98 EHC Biel-Bienne Swiss-2 37 29 37 66 86 12 6 10 16 2
1998-99 EHC Biel-Bienne Swiss-2 40 29 29 58
1999-00 EHC Biel-Bienne Swiss-2
2000-01 Iroquois Falls Eskimos NOJHL
NHL Totals 390 110 101 211 127


OMJHL Second All-Star Team (1980) Transferred to New Jersey after Colorado franchise relocated, June 30, 1982.
Missed remainder of 1985-86 season and entire 1986-87 and 1987-88 due to back injury vs. Winnipeg, March 25, 1986. Signed as a free agent by Toronto, July 28, 1988. Traded to NY Islanders by Toronto with Derek Laxdal and Jack Capuano for Gilles Thibaudeau and Mike Stevens, December 20, 1989.
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