Philadelphia Flyers: How Have Recent Trade Deadline Deals Worked Out?
In my last article I posed a question regarding the necessity of a major trade to the Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup chances.
In the comments a reader pointed out how risky and unreliable deadline trades can be. Making a change on a team that has fought together all season can often erode chemistry, both on the ice and in the locker room, to the point where the player acquired is not able to produce as expected.
In considering this, I figured why not run down the post-lockout era deadline deals (although Homer likes to get his work done a little early) and assess how they worked out for the Flyguys.
Let's give it a look.
2011: Kris Versteeg
Kris Versteeg's acquisition from the Toronto Maple Leafs for 2011 first and third-round draft picks was an all-time bust.
In 27 regular season games Versteeg managed 11 points (7G, 4A) and 24 PIM (had 29 PIM in previous 53 games with the Leafs).
Even worse than Versteeg's underwhelming production and knack for turning the puck over, was the team's record with him in the lineup.
Versteeg's first game in orange and black was on February 15th in Florida against the Panthers.
From that date on the Flyers were 11-9-7 after holding down first place for most of the season.
Versteeg's contributions to the disappointing playoff run were minimal as well, posting one goal (game four in Boston) and five assists (all against the Buffalo Sabres) before being shipped to the Florida Panthers for second and third-round draft picks as a part of the Flyers' summer purge.
Versteeg's success in Florida this season (45 points, +6) has some fans wondering where that production was last season, but I see his numbers as fraudulent.
His failures in Toronto and Philly suggest to me he's just not a big-market player. In Chicago he was far from the focal point and found a role for himself on a very good team. But even after winning the Stanley Cup, the Blackhawks didn't seem to value him greatly.
Now, in the Sunshine State, he can put numbers on a stat sheet without anybody watching.
A move that worked out a bit more positively for the Flyers was their January 28th trade sending prospects Michael Chaput and Greg Moore to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Tom Sestito, who appears to be the "enforcer of the future" (if there is such a thing) for the Broad Street Bullies.
2010: Ville Leino
Another under-the-radar move at the time was stealing Ville Leino from the Detroit Red Wings, who just could not find a place for him in their lineup, for Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and a fifth-round draft pick.
Leino only played 55 regular-season games in 2009-10 and posted 11 points (6G, 5A) in total.
But in 13 games with the Flyers, Leino had four points (2G, 2A) and +2 rating (Was -10 in Detroit).
The Flyers improved play down the stretch got them into the playoffs and once Leino found his way into the lineup he was impossible to take out, scoring 21 points (7G, 14A) and posting a +10 rating, finding a role on the Flyers best line, alongside Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell.
Leino hung around in 2010-11, becoming a regular in the line up and posting 53 points (19 G, 34A) in 81 regular-season games before the 11-and-out playoff flop and signing a lucrative contract with the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent this past summer.
Ville was productive for the Flyers, but his disinterest in defense made him expendable, especially considering the production of Matt Read, Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds to this point (those three players combined cap hit is $4.9 million. Leino alone is costing Buffalo $4.5 million per season).
2009: Dan Carcillo
What can be said about the Dan Carcillo trade? The Flyers were in need of toughness and they found some in Car Bomb.
Unfortunately the undisciplined, toothless scrapper cost the Flyers Scottie Upshall and second-round draft pick.
Besides acting as Captain Morgan and Admiral Nelson's bodyguards on their drunken forays around the Delaware Valley and Jersey Shore, Carcillo served no real purpose with the Flyers, besides painting an even bigger target for the officials on his team's back.
And, of course, he cost the Flyers a 3-0 lead with his senseless fight against Max Talbot in the 2009 playoffs.
Luckily the Flyers were essentially able to trade Carcillo for Talbot in the offseason, signing Talbot to a five-year, $8.75 million contract and allowing the Blackhawks to take Carcillo off their hands when they signed him to free-agent deal.
Hey, Carcillo was entertaining at times with the Flyers, but it's hard to say he was worth the initial asking price.
2008: Vinny Prospal
Flyers retread Skinny Vinny came back to Broad Street at 32-years-old after being traded away by the same organization a decade earlier.
The Flyers sent Alexandre Picard and a second round pick to the Tamp Bay Lightning for the rental player to bolster their offense for the stretch drive in 2008.
In 18 regular season games Prospal tallied 14 points (4G, 10A) and continued to find a scoring rhythm in the playoffs playing with Danny Briere.
In 17 playoff games Prospal put up three goals and 10 assists as the Flyers made it to the Eastern Conference Finals where they were ousted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games.
Following the season Prospal was promptly traded back to Tampa for a seventh round and a conditional draft pick.
In all, the Prospal move did what it was supposed to do, give Danny B a playmaker to match his dynamic skill set and accentuate his "clutch gene."
A more forgettable move in 2008 was acquiring Jaroslav Modry from the Los Angeles Kings for a third-round draft pick.
Digging into the archives on the Flyers' website, Modry was advertised as, "Jaroslav (Modry) is a steady two-way defenseman that will bring us leadership and experience down the stretch," by GM Paul Holmgren.
In 28 total games with the Flyers (19 regular, nine playoff) Modry totaled six points (0G, 6A) and a -17 rating.
The 36-year-old defenseman's career ended following the 2007-08 season.
2007: Marty Biron
2007, the "lost season," was one of the busiest in recent Flyers history.
Sure, the Flyguys moved Peter Forsberg for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent and a first-round pick they turned around and traded back to Nashville for Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen the following summer.
The Flyers also picked up Braydon Coburn and Lasse Kukkonen.
But the most important trade was sending a second-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for Marty Biron.
Biron had a successful run in orange and black, backstopping the Flyers in the 2008 and 2009 playoffs, posting an 11-12 record through 23 games.
But more importantly, Biron was the first step in negotiations with prized soon-to-be free agent Danny Briere.
Teammates in Buffalo, Briere and Biron were good friends and it is believed Marty's presence was at least a part of the selling point to sway Briere to choose Philly over his hometown Montreal Canadiens.
Biron is now gone, backing up for the New York Rangers, but Briere has proved his worth as a leader, playmaker and clutch playoff performer.
2006: Petr Nedved
Nedved, along with a fourth-round draft pick, was acquired in January of 2006, the first season out of the lockout, from the Phoenix Coyotes for Dennis Seidenberg and a fourth-round draft pick.
Nedved scored 14 points (5G, 9A) in 28 regular season games with the Flyers. In the postseason Nedved was equally unproductive, putting up two goals and no assists in a six-game first-round elimination at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres.
Petr the Mediocre played 21 games with the Flyers in 2006-07 before being placed on waivers and claimed by the Edmonton Oilers, and ended the season with 40 games played, two goals, 10 assists and a -25 rating. 2007 was the last season of Nedved's career.
Dennis Seidenberg, while far from a superstar, has been a solid NHL defenseman over the past six seasons, and has found a role in Boston playing alongside Zdeno Chara.
In 175 regular season and playoff games with Boston, Seidenberg has 13 goals, 48 assists (61 points) and a +35 rating.
Wouldn't the 6'1" 210-pound 30-year-old defenseman look good on our depleted and under-sized blue line right now?
The rumors have been swirling about the Flyers' potential trade targets. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter from Nashville. Luke Schenn from Toronto. I've even heard Joni Pitkanen's name a few times.
Given the Flyers history, it is clear the expected outcome of deadline deals is far from their usual turnout.
What should the Flyers do this season?
The orange and black appear close to great, but not yet elite.
There is a young core in Philly that many are wary of breaking up, although all fans recognize the huge hole in the defense created by Chris Pronger's season-ending concussion.
The Flyers need to approach the trading season with caution. While the on-ice performance has been sub-standard of late, this group clearly has a synergy together and should be allowed to grow and reach their full potential.
But there are pieces that could land the Flyers a game-changing stud and literally put them over the top.
JvR, Jake Voracek, Matt Carle and Sergei Bobrovsky are all potential trade-bait, but I wouldn't like to see any of them moved for "depth." Rather, unless the Flyers are able to reel-in a big fish, they are better off letting this team play out its season and learning from the experience.