Ranking the 5 Biggest Trades in Philadelphia Flyers History

Dan FremuthContributor IIIFebruary 27, 2014

Ranking the 5 Biggest Trades in Philadelphia Flyers History

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    The Philadelphia Flyers are no strangers to big trades.

    A franchise determined to compete for the Stanley Cup each and every season, the Flyers are a name that surfaces seemingly every time a marquee name hits the rumor mill.

    But what qualifies as a big trade?

    Is it simply the stature of the names involved in the transaction? Or is it the extent to which a trade favors one side over the other?

    The truth is, a trade's value should be based on its overall impact, for better or for worse, on the organizations involved.

    As such, the following breakdown will account for marquee names as well as transaction equity but will focus on the fundamental impact the swap had on Philadelphia as a franchise.

    With that, here's a look at the five biggest trades in Flyers history.

Honorable Mentions

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    September 22, 1991—Flyers acquire Rod Brind'Amour and Dan Quinn from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Murray Baron and Ron Sutter.

    Quinn managed just 102 games with the Flyers, but Brind'Amour was a centerpiece of Philadelphia's franchise for better than eight seasons from 1991-99. All told, the Ottawa native amassed 235 goals and 601 points in 633 career games with the Orange and Black.

    February 19, 1992—Flyers acquire Mark Recchi, Brian Benning and a first-round pick in the 1992 NHL draft from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget and a third-round pick in the 1993 NHL draft.

    The first of two occasions in which Recchi was traded to Philadelphia, the Flyers had to surrender a pair of stalwarts in Tocchet and Samuelsson, who had spent a combined 14 seasons with the Orange and Black but were able to secure a 24-year-old Recchi, who would go on to produce 105 goals and 262 points in just 200 games in Philly before being moved to Montreal in an even bigger transaction.

    August 20, 1997—Flyers acquire first-round selections in the 1998, '99, 2000 and '01 NHL drafts from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Mikael Renberg and Karl Dykhuis.

    An unimaginable swap in today’s NHL, Philly was looking toward the future in 1997 when it shipped blossoming offensive star Renberg to the upstart Lightning for four first-round picks. Sadly, only one of those selections (Simon Gagne in 1998) became a franchise talent for the Flyers.

    February 24, 2007—Flyers acquire Braydon Coburn from the Atlanta Thrashers for Alexei Zhitnik.

    One of the most lopsided transactions in recent memory, Philadelphia fleeced a Thrashers squad desperate to qualify for the postseason. Zhitnik played just 83 games for Atlanta over the next two seasons contributing a paltry five goals and 22 points.

    The Thrashers made the playoffs in 2007 but were promptly swept by the New York Rangers. Meanwhile, Coburn has been a mainstay on the Flyers blue line ever since compiling 35 goals, 146 points and 450 penalty minutes in 523 games since the exchange.

    June 23, 2011—The Flyers acquire Jakub Voracek and first- and third-round draft picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Jeff Carter. The Flyers also acquired Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Mike Richards.

    One of the most eventful pre-draft overhauls in NHL history, Philadelphia shipped its two marquee stars out of town on the same day.

    The Flyers snagged the seemingly untouchable Schenn from the Kings and the draft picks secured from Columbus became forwards Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins. In doing so, Philly began the rebuild that produced the Flyers squad competing today.

5. Scott Hartnell & Kimmo Timonen Come to Philadelphia

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    June 18, 2007—The Flyers acquire Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen from the Nashville Predators in exchange for Philadelphia's first-round pick in the 2007 NHL draft.

    Fresh off a 22-win season and a last-place finish in the Atlantic Division during the 2006-07 campaign, the Flyers were in desperate need of changes to return this proud franchise back to respectability.

    Danny Briere came via free agency and James van Riemsdyk was secured with the second overall pick in the draft, but the move that has had the largest and longest-lasting impact on the Orange and Black was the acquisition of Hartnell and Timonen from Nashville.

    With both players set to become unrestricted free agents, general manager Paul Holmgren sent Philly's first-round pick in the upcoming draft to the Predators in order to secure exclusive negotiating rights with both players for two weeks before they were to hit the open market.

    Neither ever did.

    Almost immediately, Hartnell inked a six-year, $25.2 million pact with the Flyers and, shortly thereafter, Timonen signed a six-year, $37.8 million agreement with the club.

    In nearly seven seasons since, Hartnell has produced 152 goals and 312 points while missing just 23 of a possible 517 games with the Orange and Black. At the same time, Timonen has missed just 18 games during that stretch and has won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team's top defenseman in four of the last six years.

    Meanwhile, the first-round pick Nashville received produced defenseman Jonathan Blum with the 23rd overall selection. Blum has managed only 95 career NHL games to date including just four this season with the Minnesota Wild.

4. Chris Pronger Becomes a Flyer

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    June 26, 2009—The Flyers acquire Chris Pronger and Ryan Dingle from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa and Philadelphia's first-round picks in the 2009 and '10 NHL drafts.

    In the summer of 2009, the Flyers were in need of a franchise defender.

    Sadly, just four years later, they still are.

    In one of the great draft-day blockbusters, Philadelphia snagged the elite Pronger just three years removed from a Stanley Cup Final appearance with the Edmonton Oilers and only two years after a Stanley Cup championship with the Ducks.

    The impact of the 6'6", 210-pound defender was immediate.

    Pronger recorded 10 goals and 55 points while playing every game during the 2009-10 regular season. He then guided the Flyers all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, where the Orange and Black suffered a devastating six-game defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.

    Sadly, it's been all downhill from there.

    The following season began the seven-year, $34.55 million extension Pronger signed with Philadelphia shortly after the swap with Anaheim. He played only 53 games that season, including just three in the playoffs.

    The Dryden, Ontario native managed just 13 games the following year before his career was effectively ended as a result of post-concussion syndrome.

    Strange as it may seem, Pronger's last game with the Flyers came on November 19, 2011, yet his contract with the club won't expire until the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.

3. Philadelphia Acquires Mark Howe

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    August 19, 1982—The Flyers acquire Mark Howe and the Hartford Whalers' third-round pick in the 1983 NHL draft in exchange for Greg Adams, Ken Linseman and Philadelphia's first- and third-round selections in the 1983 draft.

    The Flyers received a blossoming defenseman in the summer of 1982 and turned him into a Philadelphia legend.

    In three seasons with Hartford at the start of his NHL career, Howe produced 51 goals and 198 points in just 213 games and he continued that offensive dominance on the back end in South Philly.

    In 10 seasons with the Orange and Black, the Detroit native compiled 138 goals, 342 assists and 480 points in 594 games.

    He recorded double-digit goals and more than 50 points in each of his first six seasons with the Flyers. A three-time All-Star with the Flyers, Howe is Philadelphia's franchise leader for goals by a defenseman in both a season and a career as well as points by a blueliner in both a season and a career.

    A four-time winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy, Howe is both a member of the Flyers Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    On March 6, 2012, his No. 2 jersey became just the fifth number to be retired by the Flyers.

2. Flyers Acquire John LeClair & Eric Desjardins from Montreal

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    February 9, 1995—The Flyers acquire John LeClair, Eric Desjardins and Gilbert Dionne from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Mark Recchi and Philadelphia's third-round pick in the 1995 NHL draft.

    Coming off back-to-back 100-point campaigns, Recchi was a hot commodity in advance of the 1994-95 season, and the Flyers sold high on the spark plug winner garnering a pair of franchise cornerstones in return.

    Recchi never again eclipsed the 100-point plateau. In fact, his best season with the Canadiens came in 1996-97 when the Kamloops, British Columbia native recorded 34 goals and 80 points.

    Meanwhile, LeClair and Desjardins were two of Philadelphia's best players for the next decade.

    In 649 career games with the Orange and Black, LeClair netted 333 goals and registered 643 points. He produced one of the great goal-scoring runs in franchise history when the Vermont native tallied three straight 50-goal campaigns from 1995-98. All told, LeClair ranks fifth on Philadelphia's all-time list for career goals scored.

    Meanwhile, Desjardins spent the final 11 years of his NHL career in Philadelphia and produced 93 goals and 396 points in 738 games in a Flyers sweater.

    A seven-time winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy, Desjardins claimed the honor six straight times from 1995-2000.

    Recchi lasted just more than four seasons in Montreal and recorded 120 goals and 322 points with the Canadiens before he was returned to Philadelphia in the trade previously noted.

1. The Eric Lindros Trade

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    June 30, 1992—The Flyers acquire Eric Lindros from the Quebec Nordiques in exchange for Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Mike Ricci, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Hoffman, $15 million cash, Philadelphia's first-round pick in the 1993 NHL draft (Jocelyn Thibault), Philadelphia's first-round pick in the 1994 NHL draft (Nolan Baumgartner) and future considerations (Chris Simon).

    Phew. Got all that?

    This transaction was not only the biggest trade in Flyers history, it's one of the biggest transactions in the history of professional sports.

    Philadelphia sent the equivalent of one-quarter of an NHL roster to Quebec for a player who had stated openly that he would never play for the Nordiques.

    Still, the Flyers saw an opportunity to seize a once-in-a-lifetime talent and put together the package to ensure they got their man.

    It's hard to imagine any player realizing the kind of hype that surrounded the 6'4", 240-pound Lindros. In the end, the London, Ontario native recorded 290 goals, 369 assists and 659 career points in a Flyers uniform but never was able to push Philly to the Stanley Cup title it so coveted.

    Meanwhile, Forsberg, who was drafted just five spots behind Lindros, spent 10 seasons with the Quebec/Colorado franchise and managed 216 goals and 741 points.

    What's more, he helped deliver a pair of Stanley Cup championships to the Avalanche in 1996 and 2001.