Philadelphia Flyers Trade Deadline History

The Philadelphia Flyers will be one of the most interesting teams to watch leading up to the NHL trade deadline on March 21. A forgettable season and looming roster turnover have made them clear-cut sellers in this year’s market. Claude Giroux has been the subject of rumors in recent weeks. The long-time captain is arguably the most coveted player on the trading block.

Related: Flyers Failures Have Hindered Claude Giroux’s Career 

The position as a seller has not been particularly common throughout the history of the Flyers. Their late founder and former chairman Ed Snider developed a reputation for aggressively pursuing the top available names regardless of financial ramifications. The annual buyer’s mentality has faded somewhat since the implementation of the salary cap, but the Flyers have found themselves in the middle of plenty of prominent deals in their past.

Last 5 Trade Deadlines

2021

The Flyers limped to the end of a disastrous month in March 2021 and fell out of the playoff hunt in the temporarily formed MassMutual East Division. General manager (GM) Chuck Fletcher waved the white flag on April 21 with two trades that clearly defined the Flyers as sellers with no realistic plans of making a postseason push.

Claude Giroux Philadelphia Flyers
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Fletcher dealt Erik Gustafsson to the Montreal Canadiens for a seventh-round pick in 2022, while retaining half of his remaining salary. Despite the weak return package, this was the right move. The decision to sign Gustafsson prior to the season simply didn’t work out, and he likely wouldn’t have played another game with Philadelphia if he hadn’t been traded. Fletcher also sent Michael Raffl to the Washington Capitals for a fifth-round pick in 2021. Both trade chips were impending free agents who didn’t fit into the organization’s plans for 2021-22.

2020

The Flyers were in the midst of their best stretch of hockey in the past decade on Feb. 24, 2020. Their lineup was meshing as well as any team in the NHL, and major acquisitions that could threaten the chemistry weren’t necessary. Fletcher acquired bottom-six forwards Nate Thompson and Derek Grant to add veteran depth and experience while minimizing the role of 21-year-old Connor Bunnaman. The Flyers only gave up one fourth-rounder, one fifth-rounder, and Kyle Criscuolo in the two trades. 

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Thompson jumped right into the mix for a red-hot team. His fight with Tom Wilson during his fourth game after the trade looked like a rallying cry for a team headed to the postseason with a full head of steam. The pandemic pause of March 2020, unfortunately, stifled that momentum. Both Thompson and Grant played depth roles in the playoff bubble, and the Flyers lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in seven games to the New York Islanders.

2019

Wayne Simmonds had passed the peak of his career by the time the deadline came in 2019, and the Flyers were a long shot to earn a playoff spot. Trading the 30-year-old impending unrestricted free agent made all the sense in the world. Simmonds was a fan favorite who unsurprisingly dropped the gloves with Anthony Mantha just a week before his final game in orange and black to stand up for his long-time teammate Giroux. The fight was somewhat of a farewell to the Philadelphia crowd with a trade clearly looming.

Wayne Simmonds
Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Nashville Predators sent Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick in exchange for Simmonds. Hartman wasn’t the same player in 2019 that he is in 2022, and he only played 19 games in Philadelphia. The Flyers traded him during the 2019 offseason for Tyler Pitlick, who gave them one good season as an aggressive bottom-six forward.

2018

Former Flyers GM Ron Hextall traded a third-rounder in 2018 to the Detroit Red Wings for goaltender Petr Mrazek on Feb. 19, 2018. The move came after the team had suffered a rash of goaltender injuries, forcing American Hockey Leaguer Alex Lyon into a major NHL role. Mrazek played 17 lackluster regular-season games and made one relief appearance in the 2018 Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He did not return the following season.

2017

Hextall sent defenseman Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Valtteri Filppula, a fourth-round draft pick that was eventually used to draft Maxim Sushko, and a conditional seventh-round pick before the 2017 trade deadline. The Lightning immediately flipped Streit to the Penguins, which satisfied the condition for the seventh-rounder. Filppula scored 16 goals and added 25 assists in 101 games for the Flyers, while the 39-year-old Streit lost his spot in Pittsburgh’s lineup during the postseason and played only two more games in his last NHL season in 2017-18.

Best 5 Deadline Deals

Flyers Send Coburn for Gudas, Pick to Select Konecny

The Flyers entered unfamiliar territory as sellers at the 2015 trade deadline. They traded Brayden Coburn to the Lightning, who ended up winning the Eastern Conference, in exchange for injured defenseman Radko Gudas, a first-round pick in 2015, and a third-round pick in 2015. Gudas returned healthy in 2015-16 and became a solid defenseman for four seasons. He played with an edge characteristic of very few remaining NHL players, and he won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team’s best defenseman in 2018-19.

The Flyers also made good use of the draft capital when they maneuvered up to the 24th overall spot to select Travis Konecny. Although he hasn’t proven himself as a star NHL player like many hoped he would, Konecny holds considerably more value than Coburn would have if he had stayed in Philadelphia.

Timonen Chases First Stanley Cup

Just a week before dealing Coburn, Hextall sent 39-year-old Kimmo Timonen to the Chicago Blackhawks for second-rounders in 2015 and 2016. The veteran blueliner hadn’t played the entire 2014-15 season because of a serious health issue involving blood clots, but he ended up retiring in the most ideal scenario he could’ve envisioned when the Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six seasons. Jonathan Toews picked up the Cup first, as all captains do, but quickly handed it to Timonen during the celebration.

The Flyers benefitted more from this deal than their trade partners. They lost a player who was extremely unlikely to play another game for them and gained two valuable picks. They used one to draft Wade Allison, a prospect with high upside currently looking to make his way back from injury and rejoin the Flyers.

Holmgren Swaps Defensemen

The 2006-07 season was the worst in Flyers history. The team was far removed from the playoff race by the time trade deadline season came around, but former general manager Paul Holmgren used somewhat of an unexpected strategy. Instead of making deals as a traditional seller, he did some maneuvering to set the Flyers up to contend in 2007-08. In one of his best moves, he acquired Coburn from the Atlanta Thrashers in a straight swap for Alexei Zhitnik. The 6-foot-5 blueliner averaged over 20 minutes of ice time in each of his nine seasons in Philadelphia. He played in 72 playoff games and advanced in seven series wins, contributing as a solid second-pair defenseman.

Forsberg Deal Sets Up Future

Holmgren also traded an aging Peter Forsberg to Nashville for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, and two draft picks in February 2007. After the season, he sent one of the picks back to Nashville for the rights to unrestricted free agents Timonen and Scott Hartnell. Both players became core members of the franchise over the course of the next seven seasons. Upshall also made solid contributions in parts of three seasons with the Flyers.

Amonte Adds Veteran Depth

The Flyers continued their trend of acquiring big-name veteran players to sure up their roster at the 2003 trade deadline. They acquired Tony Amonte from the Phoenix Coyotes for Guillaume Lefebvre, a third-round pick in 2003, and a second-round pick in 2004. The 32-year-old winger did exactly what he was supposed to do. Although he wasn’t an NHL star anymore, he provided a reliable scoring presence next to his lifelong friend Jeremy Roenick.

Tony Amonte Chicago Blackhawks
Tony Amonte, Chicago Blackhawks (Getty Images North America)

The Flyers lost in the second round of the 2003 Playoffs, but Amonte returned for a second season with the Flyers in 2003-04. He finished fourth on the team in scoring during the regular season and added eight points in 18 playoff games during a run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. The 2004 pick that the Flyers lost ultimately traveled to the New York Rangers, who used it to select Brandon Dubinsky. It’s hard for the Flyers to regret losing a second-rounder that was passed down the lane before it unpredictably yielded good results years later. 

5 Worst Deadline Deals 

Petr Mrazek Loses the Crease

The move to acquire Mrazek didn’t pan out well for Hextall. The slew of injuries meant that the newly acquired netminder was practically handed the starting job for a team that would ultimately earn a playoff berth. However, he proved that the Flyers couldn’t rely on him. Brian Elliott returned from injury much sooner than expected, and probably sooner than he should have, because of Mrazek’s struggles. The goaltending position was a weakness during the playoffs, as the Penguins scored 25 goals in their four victories in an opening-round series against the Flyers.

Flyers Invest in MacDonald

The Flyers acquired Andrew MacDonald from the New York Islanders on March 4, 2014 in exchange for a third-round pick in 2014, a second-round pick in 2015, and Matt Mangene. The picks were used to select Ilya Sorokin and Brandon Carlo, two NHL players currently contributing to rival teams. However, the success of the draft picks isn’t the real downside of the trade.

Andrew MacDonald, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

MacDonald signed a six-year, $30 million contract extension just over a month after the trade. Holmgren jumped the gun on the deal, and the Flyers felt the effects in a big way. They scratched the defenseman frequently toward the end of his tenure in Philadelphia and bought out the final year of his contract. 

Flyers Deal Upshall for Carcillo

The Flyers made a mistake by sending Scottie Upshall and a 2011 second-round pick to the Phoenix Coyotes for Daniel Carcillo in 2009. They overemphasized their preference for fighters by sending a serviceable offensive player in exchange for a player who didn’t add much value to the roster. Carcillo dropped the gloves with Maxime Talbot at one of the most ill-advised times in Game 6 of the opening round of the 2009 Playoffs. The effort by Talbot shifted momentum to Pittsburgh, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit to close out the Flyers in Philadelphia. Carcillo played a trivial role for the majority of his three seasons with the Flyers, with the notable exception of one playoff overtime goal in 2010.

Tibbetts Causes Controversy

Bobby Clarke made a bad mistake when he traded Kent Manderville to the Penguins on March 17, 2002. Losing his fourth-line center wasn’t a big part of that mistake. The real problem was that Clarke overlooked very serious legal trouble in the past of his new acquisition Billy Tibbetts. The Philadelphia fans loudly expressed their displeasure for the acquisition and refused to get behind someone they didn’t respect. The experiment lasted about three weeks. Tibbetts racked up more penalty minutes than ice time in nine games with the Flyers and even earned a two-game suspension during the short stint. The organization cut ties with the PR nightmare and released him, ending the chorus of boos at each home game. 

Flyers Acquire McAmmond

The Flyers had very little hesitancy to give up draft picks for immediate help in the years before the salary cap was implemented in 2004. They stuck to their trigger-happy tendency by acquiring Dean McAmmond from the Blackhawks in 2001. The 27-year-old was only three years removed from a 50-point season, but he never found his bearings with the Flyers. He had one goal and one assist in 10 regular-season games, and he averaged less than 10 minutes of ice time in four playoff games. The move was not disastrous, but it appropriately represents how the aggressive approach the Flyers took at the deadline during this era sometimes went overboard.

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers (a href=httpswww.facebook.com38PhotographyAmy Irvina The Hockey Writers)

The Flyers will shop Rasmus Ristolainen, Martin Jones, Derick Brassard, and Justin Braun in addition to Giroux at the 2022 trade deadline. Younger players like Konecny and Ivan Provorov might even be on the table if the right deal comes along for Fletcher. Time will tell if the moves turn out like the successful trade deadlines in 2007 and 2015 in Fletcher’s hopes to retool the roster to compete in 2022-23.

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