By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
The Philadelphia Flyers organization is no stranger to blockbuster trades. A team that has almost always been in the playoff hunt, the Flyers have a history of sparing no expense to try to win the Cup every season.
This is the Top 5 Flyers biggest impact trades.
Number 5– Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell from the Nashville Predators for NSH 2007 first round pick (Jonathan Blum) (6/18/07)
This trade looks even better with the benefit of hindsight, as Blum only played 110 NHL games. Timonen is one of the best defenseman in Flyers history, especially over the past 20 years. Playing big minutes late into his thirties, he was a staple in the Flyers defense until blood clots shortened his career and he was traded to Chicago, where he won his first Stanley Cup before retiring.
Hartnell registered two 30-goal seasons during his Flyers tenure, including a career high of 37 goals and 67 points during the 2011-12 season. He served as an alternate captain for two years until he was traded after the 2013-14 season to relieve the Flyers of his cap hit.
Number 4– Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, 2012 2nd round pick (Devin Shore) from LA Kings for Mike Richards, Rob Bordson (6/23/11)
June 23rd, 2001 will be a date that lives on in infamy for the Philadelphia Flyers organization. In order to make room for the huge contract of Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers needed to make cap room. So they traded Mike Richards to the LA Kings for young forwards Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.
While Richards won two Cups in LA, he was never able to find the same groove he had in Philadelphia, and was bought out of his contract after the 2014-15 season.
Schenn never really found his footing during his six seasons in Philly, struggling to play consistent hockey. He did manage two 50-point seasons before being dealt to the Blues for two first round picks this past summer. Simmonds was the star of the trade, and has since become one of the best power forwards in the NHL. With two 30-goal, 60-point seasons under his belt, he is a leader on and off the ice for his teammates.
Number 3– Jake Voracek, 2011 first round pick (Sean Couturier), 2011 third round pick (Nick Cousins) from Columbus Blue Jackets for Jeff Carter (6/23/11)
On the same day as the Richards trade, the Flyers continued to shake things up as they traded star forward Jeff Carter to Columbus. The Flyers would use that first round pick to draft Sean Couturier eighth overall. They didn’t know at the time, but in that trade they acquired two franchise cornerstones for the forseeable future.
Voracek has since posted three 60-point seasons, and one 81-point season. Couturier originally took on a defensive center roll, in which he excelled. He’s managed to break out this season after being moved to the top line with Claude Giroux, and has established himself as one of the best two-way centers in the league.
While Carter would later get traded to LA, recording three straight 60-point seasons and winning the Stanley cup twice, the Flyers were the clear winners of this trade. Especially since the orange and black still haven’t seen the best of Sean Couturier yet.
Number 2– Eric Desjardins, John Leclair, Gilbert Dionne from Montreal Canadiens for Mark Recchi, 1995 3rd round pick (2/9/95)
Mark Recchi was a blooming superstar with the Flyers during his first tenure, recording a 53-goal, 123-point season on the “Crazy Eights” line with Eric Lindros and Brent Fedyk. But the Flyers opened the 1994-95 season with a 3-6-1 record, forcing Bobby Clarke to deal Recchi to Montreal for top defenseman Eric Desjardins.
While Desjardins would go on to be a key member of the Flyers defense for over a decade, the big surprise of the trade was forward John LeClair. After being placed on a line with Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg, the three would be feared league-wide for their lethal mix of size and scoring ability.
Thanks to this trade, the Flyers made the playoffs for the first time since 1989, and won their divison for the first time since 1987. While Recchi was a big loss, the Flyers found two cornerstone players for their offense and defense for the next ten years.
Number 1– Eric Lindros from Quebec Nordiques for Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, 1993 1st round pick, 1994 1st round pick, and $15 million USD (6/20/92)
Easily the biggest and most important trade in Flyers history saw the Flyers sell the farm for generational superstar, “The Next One” Eric Lindros. After Big E refused to sign a contract immediately after being drafted by the Quebec Nordiques, the Flyers got in a heated dispute with the New York Rangers over who actually acquired Lindros. 11 days after the draft, an arbitration hearing ruled in favor of the Flyers and the beginning of a legacy was born.
As one-third of the famed Leigon of Doom line with John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, Lindros would go on to record 290 goals and 659 points in his eight seasons with the Flyers. While Peter Forsberg would go on to be a superstar in his own right, winning the Stanley Cup twice in Colorado, Lindros was the cornerstone of the Flyers franchise, even earning getting his number 88 retired by the Flyers in 2018.
2003 1st round pick (Jeff Carter), 2002 2nd round pick from Phoenix Coyotes Daymond Langkow (7/2/01)
The Flyers landed the pick that got them superstar Jeff Carter.
Ron Hextall, 1995 6th round pick (Dimitri Tertyshny) from New York Rangers for Tommy Soderstrom (9/22/94)
Ron Hextall’s second stint with the Flyers, where he really turned his game around.
Chris Pronger, Ryan Dingle from Anaheim Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, 2009 first round pick (John Moore) 2010 first round pick, 2011 conditional third round pick. (6/26/09)
While Pronger’s career was unfortunately cut short, it was a huge push for a number one defenseman.
1998 (Simon Gagne), 1999 (Maxime Oullet), 2000 (Justin Williams), 2001 (Tim Gleason) first round picks from Tampa Bay Lightning for Mikael Renberg, Karl Dykhuis (8/20/97)
Trading Renberg was a risk, but they got the pick that would turn into Flyers legend Simon Gagne.
photo credit: zimbio.com