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Philadelphia Flyers: The 5 Most Devastating Trades in Franchise History

Jason SapunkaCorrespondent IINovember 6, 2016

Philadelphia Flyers: The 5 Most Devastating Trades in Franchise History

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    The Philadelphia Flyers' recent rapid roster shakeups combined for an instant revolution unmatched in franchise history.

    Among the blockbuster moves was signing Ilya Bryzgalov and Jaromir Jagr, along with trading away Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.

    Fan reaction to the trades are mixed, the moves are shocking.

    General Manager Paul Holmgren's decisions in the 2011 NHL offseason cause dismay for some, though this summer is not the first time a trade has left Philadelphia devastated.

No. 5: Mike Richards to Los Angeles

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    Mike Richards reached commodity as a physical, two-way forward. His effort and drive on the ice gained popularity among fans.

    "Richie" seemed to fit the Philly mold as a skilled player who hit, fought, and worked hard.

    Dilligent defensive play made him a finalist for the NHL's Selke trophy. Dedication to his teammates led to his captaincy at age 23.

    His incredible shift that turned around Game 5 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals resulted in an image that Flyers fans will remember forever.

    During the next season, Richards seemed to grow complacent and failed to match the fire which made his jersey the most popular piece of attire in Philadelphia.

    Shortly after trading Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the captain was sent to the Los Angeles Kings for gritty power forward Wayne Simmonds, highly-touted prospect Brayden Schenn and a second round draft pick.

    Philadelphia's return on the trade seems quite promising, though the outcome of the trade has yet to be seen.

    Despite mixed reactions to the trade, the split Flyers fanbase was undoubtedly shocked by the news of this trade.

No. 4: Simon Gagne to Tampa Bay

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    Richards' deal to Los Angeles marks the second consecutive offseason in which a fan favorite was dealt away from Philadelphia.

    Anyone visiting the Wachovia Center during the 2010 playoffs could not avoid seeing numbers 12 and 18 frequently amidst a sea of orange.

    After defense and goaltending proved to be a soft spot for the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals, Holmgren acquired Andrej Meszaros from the Tampa Bay Lightning and signed Sean O'Donnell. This tandem would replace the frivolous third pair of Lukas Krajicek and Oskars Bartulis.

    Unfortunately, Meszaros' $4 million average salary put Philadelphia over the cap. In order to clear space, someone had to go.

    The injury-prone Gagne's $5.25 million salary was the most logical answer, and the longest-tenured Flyer was sent to Tampa Bay in exchange for tough defenseman Matt Walker and a 4th round draft pick.

    When Gagne's contract expired this past season, many Flyers fans were hoping the winger might return to Philadelphia. The asking price was beyond what Holmgren could afford, and Gagne reunited with Richards in L.A. with a two year deal averaging $3.5 million per season.

    Gagne's skilled and classy playing style was paired with some of the most clutch goals in franchise history.

    During his first game back in Philadelphia after the trade, Gagne received an ovation that speaks for itself.

No. 3: Rick Tocchet to Pittsburgh

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    Rick Tocchet embodied an entire franchise; he was the perfect Flyer.

    One of three players in NHL history to score 100 points in a season while amassing 200 penalty minutes, the power forward exemplified what the city of Philadelphia loves in a player.

    Tocchet was one of few players in NHL history to successfully pair playing skill with fighting ability.

    Philadelphia was en route to missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season in 1992 when they traded their captain.

    Tocchet went to the Pittsburgh Penguins along with Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget and a 1992 3rd round draft pick in exchange for 23-year old Mark Recchi, Brian Benning, and the Los Angeles Kings' 1992 1st round pick.

    Logistically, the Flyers acquired a promising prospect in Recchi, who had scored 114 points in the previous season, and would score more than 100 points in his next two seasons before being traded to Montreal.

    Philadelphia also eliminated the team's highest-paid player (a whopping $800,000 in 1992) after Tocchet had produced a slow start, and picked up a first round pick.

    The trade would eventually prove to work out very well for Philadelphia.

    When Recchi was traded to Montreal, the Flyers received Eric Desjardins (who would win seven Barry Ashbee trophies as the Flyers' best defenseman), and John LeClair, who went on to be another fan favorite and outscored Recchi until the Flyers reacquired him from Montreal in 1999.

    Philadelphia would return to the playoffs in 1995, and have missed the extended season just once since.

    Further consolation is that Tocchet eventually returned to Philadelphia for his final two seasons.

    Regardless of how well it worked out, losing the player who symbolized the franchise was certainly distressing.

No. 2: Rod Brind'Amour to Carolina

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    Rod Brind'Amour bled orange and black, playing two-way hockey with the heart of a warrior.

    Brind'Amour was a workhorse throughout his career. "Rod the Bod" earned that nickname through dedication to a legendary workout regimen.

    As captain of the Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, Brind'Amour averaged an incredible 24:17 of ice time each game. The 35-year old's astonishing amount led all NHL forwards by more than 1:30.

    Carolina's Keith Primeau had refused to play for the Hurricanes in the 1999-2000 season following a contract dispute.

    General Manager Bobby Clarke picked up the large center in exchange for Brind'Amour, who had recently recovered from a broken foot.

    Primeau cannot be looked over; he became team captain and scored two of the franchise's most memorable goals in 2000 and 2004.

    However, it's hard to believe Philadelphia won the trade.

    Brind'Amour outscored Primeau in the seasons before Primeau retired in 2006 due to concussion issues. He also won two Selke Trophies as the NHL's top defensive forward, long after Primeau had ceased playing hockey.

    Brind'Amour's worth the the Flyers' franchise was respected on the night his no. 17 was retired in Carolina.

    During pregame warmups, all Philadelphia players wore Brind'Amour jerseys to show respect for the man who should never have been traded.

No. 1: Everything, for Eric Lindros

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    The Eric Lindros trade carries a magnitude which few deals in the history of the NHL exceed.

    Labeled by many as "The Next One" prior to being drafted first overall in the 1991 draft, Lindros was expected to develop into an NHL legend.

    Lindros refused to play for the Quebec Nordiques and sat out an entire season before a trade was worked out.

    The price for no. 88 was ridiculous and affected the two franchises heavily for the next ten years.

    Quebec received former Vezina winner Ron Hextall, young 50-point scorers Steve Duchense and Mike Ricci, point-producing enforcer Chris Simon, Kerry Huffman, two 1st round draft picks, $15 million, and recently-drafted Peter Forsberg.

    Before considering the other seven players and the lump of cash, compare the cornerstones of the trade.

    From the time Forsberg entered the NHL until Lindros' last game in Philadelphia, Forsberg produced more points. Had the trade been a player-for-player exchange, the Nordiques would have gotten the better of it.

    The extensiveness of how one-sided this trade is unfathomable considering that fact. After Forsberg, the Flyers essentially gave Quebec the Nordiques' 3rd and 4th-leading scorers for the next season (only Mats Sundin and Joe Sakic produced more points than Duchense and Ricci).

    Also included in the gift package was a starting goalie, two first round draft picks (one of which lead to the pickup of Patrick Roy), and enough money to pay Wayne Gretzky for 5 years.

    After drafting Jocelyn Thibault with one of the first round draft picks, the (now relocated) Colorado Avalanche traded the young goalie to Montreal with Andrei Kovalenko and Martin Rucinsky in exchange for Patrick Roy and Mike Keane.

    Colorado was ready to be a powerhouse, much due to the Lindros trade.

    In all fairness, Eric Lindros was an excellent player, he just wasn't worth what he was traded for.

    Lindros tied Jaromir Jagr for the league lead in points in the 1994-1995 season, won a Hart Trophy, and led the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997.

    Lindros could dominate hockey games while centering the Legion of Doom scoring line with John LeClair and Mikael Renberg.

    At 6' 4," 245 pounds Lindros played an equally as dominating physical game. He also fought 41 times in his first six seasons, losing just one fight to Marty McSorley.

    Lindros' abilities were heavily embraced by Flyers fans until concussion issues led to a dispute with general manager Bobby Clarke and resulted in Lindros' departure from Philadelphia.

    A habit of skating with his head down resulted in the play featured in this slide being the most memorable of Lindros' career.

    This shift was the last played in a Flyers' uniform and the one Philadelphia will remember him for.

    Twenty years after this trade, the Flyers have still not won their third Stanley Cup.

    Meanwhile in Colorado, Forsberg is set to have his number raised alongside Roy's 33 and a couple of Stanley Cup Champion banners.

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