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The Flyers & The Trade Deadline, a retrospective.

SB Nation logo SB Nation 2/22/2019 Joe Pergola
a person wearing a uniform © Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images

The Flyers have made a number of deadline day moves in the last 20 years, but how many were actually good?

We’re rapidly approaching the NHL’s trade deadline - a day that will be full of hockey analysts twiddling their thumbs on live television for the better part of six hours during TradeCentre on TSN and Hockey Central on Sportsnet. Who could forget those exhilarating mornings where hockey closest insiders best broke down trades like Sergei Plotnikov for a 7th for hours, while we all sat wondering “Is this really what I’ve devoted my day to watching?”

There has been an interesting trend going on among NHL teams in recent years: teams simply are not waiting until deadline day to move big name players. 2018: Rick Nash traded the day before deadline day; Derick Brassard traded two days before deadline day. 2017: Kevin Shattenkirk traded three days before deadline day; Ben Bishop and Martin Hanzal, 4 days before… you probably get the point. We’ve also seen teams becoming less active on the date of the deadline. Here is a list of how many trades were made on deadline day every year since the lockout:

‘17-’18 - 17

‘16-’17 - 20

‘15/16 - 19

‘14-’15 - 24

‘13-’14 - 30

‘12-’13 - 17

‘11-’12 - 15

‘10-’11 - 16

‘09-’10 - 30

‘08-’09 - 22

‘07-’08 - 25

‘06-’07 - 25

‘05-’06 - 24

While it isn’t anywhere close to the boring deadline days of the 80’s, which would see anywhere from one to eight or nine trades, we’re still seeing less activity among teams during the trade deadline. As for us fans, this is great because trades are being spread out more and more in the weeks leading up to the deadline, and who doesn’t love trades? But having the trades spread out over the course of two or three weeks is great news for our trade-hungry bellies.

Looking at the Flyers’ upcoming deadline options

There has been a lot of chatter that Wayne Simmonds could be on his way out of Philadelphia, with the Flyers on the outside of the playoff picture and Simmonds’ contract expiring at the end of the season he’d be a great rental for any playoff team looking to add a net front presence with a scoring touch. Michael Raffl is another pending UFA for the Flyers who could add depth to a team looking to go deep in the tiring and unforgiving playoffs. Goalies Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth both have contracts that are up at the end of the year, and they could be traded to a playoff team for, well, something. Neuvirth has been included in two deadline moves in the past, first in 2014 getting shipped off to Buffalo and next in 2015 to the Islanders in exchange for everyone’s favorite two-sport athlete Chad Johnson.

Of the players mentioned, Wayne Simmonds should draw the most interest and there is no doubt he’d be a bonafide addition to any playoff bound team. And if the Devils/Predators Brian Boyle trade is any indication of the market, the Flyers could be looking at a seriously good return for Simmonds. While there hasn’t been a clear cut team chasing after Wayne, nor have we gotten to the point of endless trade rumors yet (looking at you Harper, Bryce), there should be a lot of interest in Wayne.

Simmonds has spent the last eight seasons with the Flyers and has truly embodied what it means to be a Philadelphia Flyer. Saying goodbye will be hard, when it comes. But the Flyers need to make the moves that will put them in the best position to win a Stanley Cup. And unfortunately the chances of that happening this season are slim to none, and as big physical winger on the wrong side of thirty with an expiring contract, the writing may be on the wall for Wayne Simmonds in Philadelphia. Historically signing a player who plays a physical game to a big money contract at age 30+ never really works out. Milan Lucic, seven years, 42 million, signed at 29. Ryan Kesler, seven years, 41 million, signed at age 32. Andrew Ladd, seven years, 38 million, signed at 32. David Backes, five years, 30 million, signed at age 33.

First off, the summer of 2016 was rough (three of the four contracts listed above were 2016 free agency signings), it’s almost like every team entered free agency with the mid 2000’s Rangers blueprint. Each contract listed above can be simply categorized as an ‘albatross’. There is no doubt Wayne Simmonds is looking for this kind of term and money, and well, who could blame him. Other than John Tavares’ last contract with the Islanders, there hasn’t been a more underpaid player in hockey. Wayne’s career path can be categorized with guys such as Ladd, Lucic, Backes, and all of them had their bodies break down once they entered their early thirties. While it’s always possible Wayne will be an outlier, it’s also very likely that his body will start to show more signs of aging as the years continue. And combined with a possible large contract, the Flyers should not want any part of that.

Looking Back

Nonetheless, the Flyers will be active come this deadline, and the list of potential trades is fun to sit and savor over. But let’s take a look back and grade some of the good and the bad moves the Flyers have made at or near the NHL’s trade deadline over the last twenty years.

February 19, 2018

PHI trades 2018 3rd (Seth Barton) to DET for Petr Mrazek

Grade: D

Many of us would like to forget Petr Mrazek, and well, a lot of probably have already forgotten Petr Mrazek. The Flyers were apparently kicking tires on Robin Lehner leading up to the trade deadline but either the rumors were false or they just couldn’t get a deal done. We ended up with hot headed Petr Mrazek, who wasn’t really that good! The only reason I graded this a D and not an F is Mrazek was a warm body who stood there and let the puck hit him sometimes. But most of the time he was letting in goals and doing his best Roman Cechmanek impersonation.

March 1, 2017

PHI trades Mark Streit to TBL for Valtteri Filppula and a 2017 4th round pick (Maxim Sushko)

Grade: C

The Flyers were desperate for center depth at this time, and Filppula helped fill that void. Striet, who was 39 at time time was running on empty. The Flyers needed a bottom six center, the Lightning needed cap space, which was accomplished by immediately flipping Streit to Pittsburgh. Filppula was okay during the remaining games of the 2017 season, but age was catching up. His 2017-18 campaign was painful to watch at times, as he appeared to be skating in mud.

One Filppula moment we’ll never forget happened against the New York Rangers when Val found the puck on his stick with five seconds left down by one goal. Instead of shooting the puck, or doing anything, he stood there.

March 2, 2015

PHI trades Braydon Coburn to TBL for Radko Gudas, 2015 1st and 2015 3rd

Grade: A

Braydon Coburn was good in his tenure with the Flyers and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Despite becoming the biggest scapegoat on the Flyers’ blue line, newly appointed GM Ron Hextall was able to get a haul for Coburn. It’s a trade I loved in 2015, and it’s a trade I still love today. The haul consisted of Radko Gudas, a 2015 1st and 2015 3rd. The 3rd was used to pick everyone’s favorite goalie who wears #69, Matej Tomek. Tomek doesn’t look like he’ll turn into much of anything, but we are able to point and laugh at a grown man wearing the #69. And isn’t that was sports are all about?

Radko Gudas, when he’s not serving a suspension, has been a solid contributor to the Flyers’ blue line. With Radko being included the Flyers effectively got what they lost in Coburn. A large body who plays physical and who has limited offensive upside.

Lastly, the 2015 first round pick was traded away in a package deal to Toronto, moving the Flyers up from the 29th selection to the 24th selection, where they picked Travis Konecny. Who, if you didn’t know, is pretty good at playing ice hockey (the sport in which the Flyers play).

February 27, 2015

PHI trades Kimmo Timonen to CHI for 2015 2nd (Jeremy Bracco) and 2016 2nd (Wade Allison)

Grade: A

Stanley Cup Champion Kimmo Timonen.

Stanley Cup Champion. Kimmo Timonen.

Kimmo’s last season was his hardest season yet, but capping it off by hoisting the Cup made it oh so sweet. It was announced over the summer in 2013 that Kimmo would miss an extended period of time due to blood clots in leg. Kimmo never played another game in Philadelphia, by the time he was ready to come back he was sent off to Chicago days before the trade deadline. It’d be a trade that would be a win for both sides. Kimmo brought veteran experience to the Hawks, and the Flyers would get two draft picks. One was used to trade up for Travis Konecny, and the other was used to select Wade Allison. But never forget one this one thing: Stanley Cup Champion Kimmo Timonen.

March 5, 2014

PHI trades Andrej Meszaros to BOS for 2014 3rd (Mark Friedman)

Grade: A

At this point in time the Flyers approximately had 33 defenseman on the roster, so managing to turn any of them into a positive asset is well, positive. They selected Mark Friedman with the pick they received from Boston. Friedman has NHL upside and could be a bottom pairing guy in the future. He also goes harder than anyone else during the Flyers annual rookie camps.

March 4, 2014

PHI trades 2015 2nd (Brandon Carlo) and 2014 3rd (Ilya Sorokin) to NYI for Andrew MacDonald

Grade: Six years, thirty million dollars.

The Flyers needed help defensively, and yes I mentioned above that the had an abundance of 33 defensemen, however none of them were actually good. So, they went out and got another not good defenseman. The AMac saga has been beaten to death, and instead of writing feelings that you, the reader, already know and feel, here is a photo from the Broad Street Hockey group chat from the moment Amac became a Flyer.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Vox Media, Inc.

April 3, 2013

PHI trades Michael Leighton and 2014 3rd (Martins Dzierkals) to CBJ for Steve Mason

Grade: A

Steve Mason is arguably the best goalie the Flyers have had since Ron Hextall retired. Mase is third all time in Flyers history for wins, with 104, and for games played, with 231. However, when the Flyers acquired Mason, his entire hockey career was hanging on by a thread. Mason has previously stated that he was entertaining the idea of quitting hockey during his final season in Columbus. In his first season with the Blue Jackets, Mason won the Calder Trophy as the most valuable rookie. And unfortunately, that’s where the good would end. He would go on to post four lackluster seasons before being traded to Philadelphia.

The Flyers, still desperate for a goalie even after signing Ilya Bryzgalov for a bazillion dollars, took a chance on Mason. Mase played seven games with the Flyers after the trade deadline and posted a SV% of .944. And yes, reader, it was a small, tiny, microscopic sample size, but it was enough to earn him a contract extension. Our buddy Mase would play four more seasons in Philadelphia, before leaving in free agency for Winnipeg.

The Flyers took a low risk, high reward type of player and it worked out fantastically.

February 28, 2011

PHI trades Michael Chaput and Greg Moore to VAN for Tom Sestitio

Grade: F

Tom Sestitio played a grand total of, drum roll please * drum roll sound * twenty one games in Philadelphia. Across those twenty one games he score two goals. Those two goals came fourteen minutes apart from each other. Sestito was a goon, it was fun to point and laugh at the game he scored two goals in for approximately one and a half days. Greg Moore went over to Germany after the 2011 season, and for some reason Michael Chaput is still playing in the NHL at the time of writing this.

February 14, 2011

PHI trades 2011 1st (Stuart Percy) and 2011 3rd (Josh Leivo) to TOR for Kris Versteeg

Grade: C

At the time this trade made a lot of sense. And to preface, I know this isn’t a deadline deal and it was fourteen days before the deadline, but when do we actually get a chance to talk about this trade? The Flyers were looking to make a deep run after their Cinderella trip run to the Finals a season prior and picked up a good scoring winger in Versteeg. He was a good second line winger and was locked up for one more season at a reasonable price tag. On paper, this move was great.

However, Versteeg never found a place to stick in the lineup. He’d move all around but there just wasn’t a spot where he’d stick. He would play a total of 38 games with the Flyers, 27 in the regular season and 11 in the playoffs. In those games he collected 17 points. The Flyers somehow made it out of the first round against the Buffalo Sabres before getting swept out by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins.

Versteeg would be shipped off to the Florida Panthers during the summer for two draft picks, and one of those draft picks became someone you may have heard of; his name is Shayne Gostisbehere.

March 4, 2009

PHI trades Scottie Upshall AND (emphases on and) a 2011 2nd round pick (Lucas Lessio) to PHX for Daniel Carcillo

Grade: D

Scottie Upshall AND a second. SCOTTIE UPSHALL AND A SECOND. Look, the Flyers needed cap space desperately. The Coyotes had an abundance of cap space and took advantage of the Flyers situation. The Flyers sent a great bottom six forward for a not so good bottom six forward. It also stung initially because Upshall was a fan favorite, but Carcillo would go and carve out his own fan niche during his time in Philly. Carcillo had his moments on the ice with the Flyers— he had the first ever fight in the Winter Classic and he also has a playoff overtime goal under his belt. The circumstances in which the trade was made stunk, but the Flyers could have gotten back a bag of pucks. But instead that got back Carcillo, who was able to stick around for two more seasons before going to Chicago and winning a Cup.

Earlier this month BSH Radio sat down with Dan Carcillo and if you haven’t gotten the chance to listen or read the transcript please do yourself a favor and read that here.

March 4, 2009

PHI trades 2009 6th to SJS for Kyle McLaren

Grade: N/A

McLaren failed his physical and luckily the Flyers were within their return policy were able to return him back to the Sharks without needing to speak with a manager.

February 25, 2008

PHI trades Alexandre Picard and 2009 2nd (Richard Panik) to TBL for Vinny Prospal

Grade: A

The Flyers were one year removed from their 22-48-12 season and found themselves in a playoff spot at the deadline. As most teams do when they’re in a playoff spot at the deadline, they go shopping. The Flyers went into the mall of hockey players and came out with a new, but old friend. Vinny Prospal was brought back, after being traded away ten years earlier to Ottawa. Vinny hit the ground running in Philly, collecting 14 points in the team’s remaining 18 games. The Flyers, and Vinny, would go on a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals where they’d face off against the Penguins. Vinny collected 13 points in 17 playoff games, as the Flyers fell to the Penguins in five games. After the season the Flyers would trade the rights to Prospal to Nashville for a 7th, who then flipped him back to Tampa for another 7th.

February 27, 2007

PHI trades 2007 2nd (T.J Brennan) to BUF for Martin Biron

Grade: B

Oh hey, a goalie trade. Marty Biron was not the long term answer in Philadelphia, which we now know thanks to this magical thing called hindsight. But Marty was solid in net and has the best eyes in the entire world. The Flyers were in the middle of a pathetic attempt at a hockey season, and GM Paul Holmgren was already preparing for his rebuild. He brought in the 29-year-old Biron who lost his starting role to Ryan Miller in Buffalo. Marty went on to back the Flyers to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance the next season, and would spend the next two years in Philadelphia.

February 24, 2007

PHI trades Alexei Zhitnik to ATL for Braydon Coburn

Grade: A

(See trade to Tampa for thoughts on Coburn)

To sum this up simply, Atlanta was on their way to their first, and only, playoff appearance. They were buying at the deadline and traded a shiny new Braydon Coburn for an old and used Alexei Zhitnik. Zhitnik would play one more season in the NHL before going to the KHL, and Coburn would be a workhorse on the Flyers blue line for eight more seasons.

March 9, 2006

PHI trades Josh Gratton, 2006 2nd (Cory Emmerton) and 2006 2nd (Shawn Matthias) to PHX for Denis Gauthier

Grade: D

The 2006 playoffs were a massive disappointment for the Flyers. One season (technically two, thank you the lockout) removed from a trip to the conference finals the Flyers were looking to make a deep playoff run. They acquired a big defense man in Gauthier to help shore up their blue line in a hopeful long playoff run. But the playoff run that season would last six games and they were bounced in the first round by the Buffalo Sabres. Gauthier would play 43 games for the Flyers the following season before being placed on waivers and send down to the Philadelphia Phantoms. Then, during the summer of 2008 the Flyers packaged Gauthier along with a 2010 2nd round pick and sent him off to the Kings in exchange for not one, but two bags of pucks.

March 9, 2006

PHI trades 2006 3rd (Tom Sestito) to SJS for Niko Dimitrakos

Grade: C

The first of two deadline moves by the Flyers in 2006, they picked up depth forward Niko Dimitrakos. Dimitrakos, who has an awesome name, was a solid pick up for the Flyers; he collected nine points and five goals in the teams remaining nineteen games. Following the Flyers’ premature playoff exit in 2006, Dimitrakos would play only five more games for the Flyers the following season. He would be placed on waivers and sent down to the Philadelphia Phantoms where he’d finish out his time in Philly. He would sign a one year contract in free agency with the Ottawa Senators during the summer of 2007.

March 10, 2003

PHI trades Guillaume Lefebvre, 2003 3rd (Tyler Redenbach) and 2004 2nd (Brandon Dubinsky) to PHX for Tony Amonte

Grade: A

What time is it folks? Oh hey, it’s time for the playoffs! The Flyers locked in the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference and brought in good ol’ American boy Tony Amonte. Tony hit the ground running in Philadelphia, collecting fifteen points in the teams remaining thirteen games. The Flyers, along with Amonte, would go on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs before losing to the #1 seeded Ottawa Senators in the second round.

But unlike many others on this list, Tony would stick around to see one more season in Philadelphia. He’d play 80 games the following year, and would follow alongside the team as they made a push to the Eastern Conference Finals. And who knows what could have happened in those Eastern Conference Finals, but for some strange reason the NHL canceled Game 7 that year. I suppose we’ll never know who the true winner would have been. Game 7 had such potential too after Simon Gagne scored in overtime in Game 6. Oh well, maybe we’ll find out some day.

March 19, 2002

PHI trades Maxime Ouellet, 2002 1st (Martin Vagner), 2002 2nd (Maxime Daigneault) and 2002 3rd (Derek Krestanovich) to WSH for Adam Oates

Grade: B

This is the type of trade that a team will make when they’re going all in. The Flyers moved former first round draft pick Maxime Ouellet and three draft picks for old-but-still-good Adam Oates. In what feels like a common theme up and down this post, the Flyers - who were poised for a deep playoff - run flopped like a wet noodle in the first round against the Ottawa Senators. Adam Oates was a great addition to the team, and actually led the Flyers in points in the playoffs. How many points did he collect, you ask me, the guy in charge of giving you this valuable information? Well, reader, he collected two points. Two points that led the team in playoff scoring, and nobody was even tied with him. He was alone, at the top, with two points.

Let’s get weirder here; those two points by Oates, both assists, were on the only goals the Flyers scored in their series against Ottawa. Game 1, goal scored by Ruslan Fedotenko, final score 1-0. Game 5, goal scored by Dan McGillis, final score 2-1. Games 2-4 the Flyers were shutout 3-0 in every game. The offensive didn’t just disappear, but fell ass backwards into a black hole where forty nine stars were exploding at the same time.

Adam Oates would leave the Flyers in free agency and sign a contract with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He would call it a career at age 42 after finishing out the 2003-’04 season.

March 13, 2001

PHI trades 2001 3rd (Nicolas Corbeil) to CHI for Dean McAmmond

Grade: D

In this addition of: The Flyers trading for a depth player we have, in the red corner Dean McAmmond and in the orange corner a 2001 3rd round draft pick. There really isn’t much to say about Dean McAmmond, he had some solid seasons in Edmonton and Chicago but after leaving Philadelphia he became a journeyman. McAmmond appeared in fourteen games for the Flyers; ten regular season games and four playoff games. He collected one goal and one assist. The Flyers didn’t make it past the first round in 2001, falling in six games to the Buffalo Sabres. And as for McAmmond, he would go on six more NHL teams over the span of eight years, and would retire in 2010.

March 23, 1999

PHI trades cash considerations for Craig Berube

Grade: A

a man holding a sign © Provided by Vox Media, Inc.

The Flyers brought back an old friend in Craig Berube for the cost of nothing, well okay they sent Washington some of those sweet, sweet benjamins. But you can’t exactly put a jersey and skates on a dollar bill and have it skate out on the ice can you? Therefore this trade gets the grade of an “A” because the Flyers came away with one asset who can play ice hockey for them, and the Capitals walked away with no assets that can skate and play ice hockey. Craig would play out the remaining regular season games and appear in all six of the Flyers’ playoff games. He would even collect himself a goal, which tied him for third on the team for goals scored in the playoffs that year.

March 23, 1999

PHI trades Dave Babych and 2000 5th (Nathan Marsters) to LAK for Steve Duchesne

Grade: B

Dave Babych was in the final round of his career when the Flyers sent him off to LA for Steve Duchesne, who was four years younger than Babych. This was Duchesne’s second stint in Philadelphia; he spent one season here prior in 1991-’92. The Flyers used Duchesne as a rental, and he was a solid rental player at that; he would play 11 games for the team and appeared in all six playoff games.

Bringing everything together

The Flyers have made number of trade deadline deals, 21 in the last 20 years to be exact. And the amount of Stanley Cups won over the last 20 years? Zero. Does this mean that each trade deadline trade was a failure? No, of course not. The moves the Flyers have made at the deadline have been very good overall. Unfortunately, the Flyers have no hardware to show for those good moves.

After researching and writing out this list, I feel like the best way to sum everything up is ‘whelmed’. I’m not positively overwhelmed, but I’m not negatively underwhelmed. I’m just whelmed. Now, reader, I’d like to know how you feel. Do you feel like this list of trades was overall good, just okay, or bad?

Anyway, it looks like my time is up here. And would you look at that! It’s almost time to tune into TradeCentre and watch a bunch of hockey guys in suits twiddle their thumbs. Maybe we’ll see some fake tweets read on the air. Maybe some teams will make bad trades, opposed to making good trades. Maybe someone will absurdly overpay for a player, and hopefully that player is currently on the Flyers roster. Well, here’s to hoping the Flyers make trades this deadline that can be described as good, and not bad.

All trade information from nhltradetracker.com

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