Philadelphia Flyers History Says a Big Change Is on the Way

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IMarch 24, 2013

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 13: Nicklas Grossmann #8, Ilya Bryzgalov #30 and Maxime Talbot #25 of the Philadelphia Flyers defend the net against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 13, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Flyers 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers have had a major letdown of a season so far. Everyone can debate who or what should receive the brunt of the blame all they want, but the fact of the matter is, things need to be turned around in the future.

And if the Flyers continue over their track record from the last five or six years, there is reason to expect a lot of change in Philadelphia. When things have not been going their way, the Flyers organization has not been afraid to take drastic measures when it comes to revamping the roster.

If they stay true to their history together, Flyers owner Ed Snider will open his wallet and GM Paul Holmgren will be aggressive and take some risks in order to try and turn things around.

Whether it is at the trade deadline or in the upcoming offseason, there is reason to believe that significant changes are in store for Philadelphia.

After finishing dead last in the 2006-2007 season, Paul Holmgren took over for Bobby Clarke and immediately re-made the roster. He traded for the rights to negotiate with Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell while signing Danny Briere to a $52 million deal. Joni Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson were also traded away, for Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul.

The next year, they traded away Steve Downie, R.J. Umberger and Scottie Upshall in attempts to make salary cap room, which they really took advantage of the following offseason.

After a disappointing end to the 2009 playoffs and a first-round loss to Pittsburgh, the Flyers really underwent a big makeover. They got rid of goalies Martin Biron and Antero Nittymaki, replacing them with Ray Emery and Brian Boucher. 

They also traded for Chris Pronger, giving up Lupul, Luca Sbisa and two first-round picks. That season was their miracle run to the Stanley Cup Finals, but things have not gotten back to that level.

Since then, we've seen Simon Gagne go and return, Kris Versteeg come and go and Ville Leino and Sergei Bobrovsky do the same.

But four major moves over the past two offseasons have shown how serious Holmgren and Snider are about being willing to change over the roster. Two summers ago, Holmgren traded captain Mike Richards along with leading scorer Jeff Carter on the same day. They brought in a lot of young talent but signaled a major change of guard in Philadelphia.

That same summer, Holmgren went out and tried to finally solve the Flyers' goaltending issues by inking Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9-year, $51 million deal. If we've learned anything over the past season-and-a-half, it's that Bryz is not worth half that contract.

Then finally last summer, Holmgren attempted an unprecedented move when he signed restricted free agent Shea Weber to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet. Although it was eventually matched by Nashville, it showed that Holmgren was truly willing to do anything for the sake of improvement.

Right now, the Flyers are a few games below .500 and seem to have a lot of movable parts. Max Talbot is expendable, as is Ruslan Fedotenko. Danny Briere is valuable to the team but may be more valuable as a trade chip, although his no-trade clause could put a hold on things.

The Flyers defense is atrocious, and one would have to think that moves will be made to strengthen the group, with nobody being untouchable. Bryzgalov may also be a victim of the new amnesty clause that will be enacted for this upcoming offseason.

As far as the forwards go, Giroux is safe, and I'd think that Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek are as well. They are young, talented and worthy of building around. 

But after that, if the Flyers' history has taught us anything, it's that a move can be made for any player, at any time.