BOSTON - Simon Gagne is homeless.
Well, not literally. After returning to the Flyers via trade on Feb. 26, Gagne decided to rent a house in South Jersey close to the team's practice facility. His lease expired June 1.
So, Gagne packed up his family and moved back home to Quebec City for the summer, where he's waiting to hear where he'll land next.
Gagne, 33, hopes it's with the Flyers. But he also hoped to be re-signed by this point in the summer, too.
That can't happen, of course, because of the same reason the Flyers' deal with defenseman Mark Streit hasn't been officially announced: The Flyers do not currently have any available salary-cap space. Teams are not permitted to spend more than 10 percent above next season's $64.3 million cap during the offseason.
Gagne's agent, Bob Sauve, has remained in contact with Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren since the season ended.
"I had two really good meetings, with both 'Lavy' [coach Peter Laviolette] and 'Homer' after the season ended," Gagne said yesterday from Quebec City. "They thought that I did a lot of good things toward the end of the season and liked what I brought to the team.
"Right now, they have some money issues, which would prevent us from doing anything. The salary cap is complicated and there are rules.
"My agent has kept in touch with 'Homer' and he told us that he would call us before the draft."
Holmgren wasn't available to comment on Gagne's status. He used a back exit at the Hyatt Boston Harbor to avoid speaking to the media after yesterday's GM meetings at the hotel.
The NHL draft is June 30 in New Jersey. The Flyers have exclusive negotiating rights with Gagne until July 5, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
If Holmgren is set to speak with Gagne's camp before June 30, that would mean Holmgren likely will have cleared the necessary salary-cap space to sign him by then. That makes sense, considering the Flyers can begin to exercise their compliance "amnesty" buyouts 48 hours after the Stanley Cup finals end - with that window opening on June 28 at the latest, should the Chicago-Boston series go the distance.
Gagne was one of the Flyers' best players over the last month of the season. He finished the year with just 11 points in 27 games, but seven of them came in the final 13 contests when he joined Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek on a line.
He told the Daily News on April 18 that he'd be willing to take less money to remain a Flyer, calling Philadelphia "the best place for me to play." Perhaps a deal in the $2 million to $2.5 million range, down from the $3.5 million he made last season, would work for both sides.
"I'm at the point of my career where I made really good money for a while," Gagne said in April in Montreal. "At the end of the day, money is just a small question. Being happy is important. If I like the place, I'll make things work - for everyone to be happy, to make sure it doesn't hurt the team."
Gagne said yesterday his finish with the Flyers has reinvigorated his offseason workouts, boosted his confidence and reminded him that he can still perform at a high level.
"I'm 33 and you can start to see the end," Gagne said. "I'm really happy with how the season ended. I hadn't played a lot of hockey. I was hurt, and then the lockout, I only played in the  Stanley Cup finals. Maybe four games in a whole calendar year. It took me some time. But I'm still able to play."
Quick hits from the GM meetings:
* Toronto is largely considered to be the Flyers' biggest competition for Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier. Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis admitted he's looking to upgrade at every position, but didn't sound like he'd be willing to pay a big price when asked specifically about Bernier.
"I think our goaltending was solid last year," Nonis said. "I think [James] Reimer did a very good job. Ben [Scrivens] did a good job early in relief of him. So it's not a situation where we feel compelled to do something. But if there's an opportunity to improve, we'll look at it."
* One name to keep an eye on at the Stanley Cup finals: Chicago's Bryan Bickell. Yes, teams will be lining up to try and sign the gritty, bulldozing free agent, but he's piqued Paul Holmgren's interest. Bickell, 27, earned just $541,667 this season, but he'll be cashing in after netting 13 points during this playoff run for the 'Hawks.
* Last year it was Jordan Staal. This year, could Norris Trophy finalist Kris Letang be on the move? That's the vibe out of the Steel City, where the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported yesterday that if Letang's price reaches a certain number, GM Ray Shero won't be afraid to deal him.
Staal was dealt last year at the draft. Letang, 26, has 1 more year left on his deal at $3.5 million before becoming a free agent, but he may not be as willing as Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby to take less money to remain in Pittsburgh.
Shero's phone would be exploding if Letang, one of the best defensemen in the game, is on the market.
"Having met with Kris last week, I know his feelings about trying to stay in Pittsburgh, but we all know it's a business," Shero said. "There's a lot of speculation if we can't have a deal next week what might happen, but I can't go that far. When we get into next week, we'll cross that bridge and see what happens."
* In the preseason, the NHL will test hybrid icing, a situation where linesmen can blow an icing play dead after a footrace to prevent serious injury to players. If players like the addition, as voted by them after training camp, it will be installed for Game 1 of the regular season.