On June 18, 2007, the Philadelphia Flyers made a trade with the Nashville Predators, sending a first-round pick for winger Scott Hartnell and defenseman Kimmo Timonen. They both quickly signed long-term contract extensions with the Flyers, and made a huge impact for the club throughout the late 2000s up until the mid-2010s. They were significant additions who became faces of the franchise during the time they were there. Without this trade, the Flyers might not have been as good as they were, and they might not have had as much success as they did.
Part II of Another Trade
Some might not remember this, but the trade to acquire both Timonen and Hartnell was actually the second trade between both Philadelphia and Nashville within a few months. The Predators were looking to make a run during the 2007 Playoffs and were looking to bring in another big piece to help them compete.
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The Flyers sent them Hockey Hall of Fame forward Peter Forsberg in exchange for forward Scottie Upshall, defenseman Ryan Parent, and a first and third-round pick in 2007’s NHL Draft. The first-round pick in 2007 that Nashville sent to the Flyers in the Forsberg trade was sent back to the Predators in the deal to bring in both Timonen and Hartnell a few months later.
Combining both trades together, the Flyers acquired Hartnell, Timonen, Upshall, Parent, and a third-round pick in exchange for Forsberg and a first-round pick. Giving up a legend like Forsberg is tough to do, especially with everything that he accomplished in the league, but the haul Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren walked away with at the time was impressive.
Becoming Flyers Staples
Hartnell and Timonen both suited up for the Orange and Black for seven seasons. For Timonen, he solidified himself as one of the best defensemen not only on the rosters he was on but also as probably one of the best defensemen in Flyers history. He was a significant cog on that defense, a locker room leader for the younger talents and wearing an “A,” and also was able to produce stellar offensive numbers. His regular-season statistics during his Flyer career are below:
- 2007-08: 8 goals and 36 assists in 80 games
- 2008-09: 3 goals and 40 assists in 77 games
- 2009-10: 6 goals and 33 assists in 82 games
- 2010-11: 6 goals and 31 assists in 82 games
- 2011-12: 4 goals and 39 assists in 76 games
- 2012-13 (lockout-shortened): 5 goals and 24 assists in 45 games
- 2013-14: 6 goals and 29 assists in 77 games
His production with the team made him currently the third defenseman in franchise history in points (the two ahead of him are defensemen Mark Howe and Eric Desjardins). Timonen finished his Flyers career in 2014 having chalked up 38 goals and 232 assists for an accumulation of 270 points. In addition, his postseason numbers while in Philadelphia saw him notch three goals and 26 assists over a span of 71 games (six playoff seasons total) and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.
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Hartnell, meanwhile, brought his share of offense into the lineup, playing with other talents on the team over the years such as Danny Briere, Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr, Ville Leino, and Jakub Voracek among others. He was able to have chemistry with anyone the Flyers coaching staff put him with. He made his linemates that much better with his skill set. His stats as a Flyer are below:
- 2007-08: 24 goals and 19 assists in 80 games
- 2008-09: 30 goals and 30 assists in 82 games
- 2009-10: 14 goals and 30 assists in 81 games
- 2010-11: 24 goals and 25 assists in 82 games
- 2011-12: 37 goals and 30 assists in 82 games
- 2012-13 (lockout-shortened): 8 goals and 3 assists in 32 games
- 2013-14: 20 goals and 32 assists in 78 games
Hartnell also played an aggressive style of hockey, fitting well with the “Broad Street Bullies” mindset that existed decades before. He was in other players’ faces, and this led him into getting under the skin of his opposition.
He had his share of fights throughout his time in the NHL and ended his playing career with an accumulation of 1,809 penalty minutes in regular season play (908 of those minutes were with the Flyers). He was not afraid to stand up for his teammates if they were wronged and put his body on the line for his team throughout his career. These quality characteristics landed him an “A” as well while with the Flyers.
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He also earned his fair share of postseason action. While suiting up for Philadelphia, he scored 16 goals and 25 assists for 41 points in 75 games (over a span of six playoff seasons). He also continued his tough style of play, totaling 112 penalty minutes from all of his postseason contests. Hartnell was also a member of the Flyers team that made it to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.
Earning Their Recognition
Everything that Hartnell and Timonen were able to accomplish they earned. Some honors that were bestowed upon Timonen included him making the All-Star Game as a Flyer in 2008 and 2012. Other honors from his time beyond Philadelphia include his number getting retired with the Finnish team KalPa, as well as him getting inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame this year. He also was honored by the Flyers in 2015. Hartnell himself made it to the All-Star Game in 2012.
Looking back, the trade the Predators and Flyers completed in the summer of 2007 to land Hartnell and Timonen in Philadelphia was one that altered the franchise. Holmgren did a superb job bringing in the right players to help shape his lineup, and making that trade with Nashville ended up being probably one of the most important deals he made as a general manager with the team.
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It is considered one of the best trades in Flyers history. Timonen and Hartnell were leaders in their own ways, and stepped up when the franchise needed them most. They no doubt hung up their skates as fan favorites, and they will not be forgotten for giving it their all as Flyers.