The Worst Flyers Trade That You’ve Never Heard Of

Everyone loves to play the “What If” game today. It happens. Teams make bad trades and you go back and wonder what would have happened if the trade never had come to light.

What do most Flyer fans think of when it comes to these trades? Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, James vanRiemsdyk, and Sergei Bobrovsky. You

James van Riemsdyk Flyers
James van Riemsdyk as a Flyer (Icon SMI)

usually almost never see draft picks included in those, until now.

Steve Eminger may ring a name with Flyer fans. He had a short stint for the Flyers in the 2008-2009 season playing 12 games for the orange and black. What’s even more concerning, is what the Flyers forked out to get Eminger.

Before the 2008 NHL Entry Draft the Flyers traded their 1st round (27th overall) pick to the Washington Capitals. In exchange they were given Steve Eminger, and a 3rd round pick. Well, that pick turned out to be John Carlson. Steve Eminger played 12 games as a Flyer and amassed 2 assists and 8 penalty minutes.

John Carlson became a staple for the Washington defense. Now in his 6th NHL season, Carlson has never missed a game due to injury, has 165 points in 357 NHL games, and is a career plus-40. If that isn’t the exact type of defenseman the Flyers are in need of right now, then quite frankly I don’t know what is.

Now of course, you have to figure that if the Flyers had that pick, they may have skipped over the American-born defender, even so, just look at some of the names that were drafted after him. Roman Josi, Justin Schultz, Derek Stepan, Travis Hamonic, Jori Lehtera, Adam Henrique, Braden Holtby, T.J. Brodie, and Gustav Nyquist were all taken post-Carlson. All of these names are starting to really take their stronghold in the NHL.

Had the Flyers taken John Carlson, they certainly would have been drastically different on the defensive front. Carlson has a history of scoring timely goals, such as the Gold Medal Winner at the World Juniors in 2010, or the Calder Cup Winner later that year, after scoring a huge goal in game 2 against the Canadiens in the playoffs.

Nearly six years after he was drafted, Carlson is poised to be a solid defender in a league that is always looking to fill that void. The Flyers missed out on their chance by settling for their quick-fix mentality once again. He’s exactly the type of defenseman the Flyers could have used. But hey, like I said, we can only ask, “What If?”, right?

20 thoughts on “The Worst Flyers Trade That You’ve Never Heard Of”

  1. This article bases the quality of the trade on Carlson being selected by Washington EVEN THOUGH the author admits that the Flyers may not have even selected him. The next 10 picks after Carlson:

    Viktor Tikhonov
    Daultan Leveille
    Thomas McCollum
    Jacob Markstrom
    Slava Voynov
    Philip McRae
    Jake Allen
    Nicolas Deschamps
    Corey Trivino
    Cody Goloubef

    If the Caps take anyone of these guys (except maybe Voynov although bad things now), no one cares about the Eminger trade. I agree that it was bad and he wasn’t worth a 1st rounder but it only looks worse because the pick was used for Carlson. If you’re going to bring Carlson into it, then you have to take into account the Eminger and Downie for Carle deal. Matt Carle had some really good years here.

    We also don’t know who the Flyers had in their draft rankings. Their scouts may not have even liked Carlson or had him ranked behind other available players. If you remember, the Flyers had already selected Luca Sbisa 19th overall so even if they have the 27th pick, they may not want to select another defenseman.

    This is all hindsight bias and ripping the team for something that was out of their control. It lacks too much context as well.

    • I respectfully disagree. The problem is that Paul Holmgren believed that Steve Eminger was worth a first round pick. Eminger was draft bust who couldn’t make the Capitals roster for years despite the Capitals being a lousy team for much of the time Eminger was in their system. If the Flyers had taken someone other than Carlson and he turned into a bust, that’s one thing. It’s difficult to project down the line with 18 year old kids. But the fact that Holmgren gave up a first round pick for a scrub is just one of many lousy moves Holmgren made and it’s one of the big reasons the Flyers are a mediocre team today.

      • I agree with you. But judging the trade on the fact that the Capitals drafted Carlson is silly and that’s what this article does.

        He is right that the Eminger trade was bad but it comes across that the reason for it being bad was because the Capitals drafted Carlson. That’s hindsight bias. You could then make and argument that the Flyers should have drafted Carlson at 19th overall instead of Sbisa. That’s wouldn’t be fair either though.

        If you’re going to criticize something, you have to do it fairly.

  2. The Lindros trade was a bad one because the Flyers weren’t far from being good before the deal. The team took about 10 steps back and never quite could win the Cup. Trading Forsberg and Ricci in that deal, ugh. The best trades in Flyers history: trading Bernie Parent to Toronto and then trading back for his rights. Parent playing in Toronto with Jacques Plante is still the best thing that has ever happened to the Flyers.

  3. how about worst flyers draft of all time. Try Mike Ricci one spot ahead of Jagr. Think about that, lets say they take Jagr, then don’t trade for Lindros. That leaves them with the entire decade of the 90’s with Forsberg Yagr and who ever they would have drafted in the first round of 93 and 94.

  4. Your all wrong the worst trade in Flyers history was the Lindros trade. They didn’t get Forsberg(2 SC, perenial Two Way player 50+ points, and a future HHOF), Steve Duschene, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Philly’s first-round pick in 1993 and 1994, and $15 million in cash. yeah no doubt.

  5. Philly then traded Eminger (along with Steve Downie) to get Matt Carle. Carle was a top line defender for them(that they should have resigned) so you can’t say they didn’t get any value from Eminger.

  6. @ Bill C
    The last defenseman drafted and developed by the Flyers, who actually played was maybe Pitkanen. Also, they do have 3 or 4 in the system now that have promise

  7. Name the last defenseman the Flyers drafted and developed into a player who played a significant role on their team??? They would have never drafted him. They cant sniff out defensive talent in the draft.

  8. Every team has these “what if” stories… In 2006 my Kings drafted Joey Ryan in the second round which was two slots ahead of Milan Lucic. Rumor has it that the Kings scouts wanted Lucic but it was Lombardi’s first draft and he wanted to build the Defense first. Oops

    • Try being a Rangers fan when looking back on the 2003 draft. So much potential and we took Hugh Jessiman.

  9. You also have to thank the New Jersey Devils who with the previous pick drafted Mattias Tedenby instead of Jersey boy John Carlson. Tedenby is playing in Sweden now. I nearly kicked my TV when the Devils announced that pick instead of Carlson and still want to every time I see him play.

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