Guys, I hate trading Simon Gagne. Believe me, I do... but after what Homer has done in the past few years, how can we legitimately be this mad at him (read first before you tell me I'm an idiot)
Paul Holmgren inherited the worst team in the league with the first pick overall. Because thats what happens when you suck the most, you get the first pick, right? Um... no. Good bye Patty Kane, hello JVR. Instead of an immediate impact player that helps us win from day one, Homer was dealt a project who stayed in school for two years and who still hasn't formed into what he should be yet. No biggie- so homer rebuilt this team from scratch starting a little bit before the draft. He aquired: Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere, Marty Biron, Kimmo Timonen, Scotty Upshall, Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul. Add all of that to a core of youngsters who just won the Calder Cup and you have a strong foundation. Three years ago he took a team from worst, to top 4. Any way you cut it, its impressive. Yeah, he probably overpaid for one or two guys (or everyone but hey, I'm not complaining), but he turned a loser into a winner and got on everyone's good side.
We had high hopes going into the 08-09 season, and with a few key departures (Captain Jason Smith being the big one and RJ Umberger being traded) and some incoming helpers (Luca Sbisa for the Umburger pick, Matt Carle (eventually), Ossi Vannanen, Glen Metropolit) we looked good. Then came the deadline and then Homer went from loved to hated because of the Upshall trade. Why did we trade the beloved Scotty Upshall? Two words- Claude. Giroux. For you new fans, the Flyers farm system didn't always suck. Claude was called up due to a Briere injury and really excelled to the point where we couldn't send him back down when Danny came back, so we made some cap room. Out was Vannanen, Metro, and Upshall; in was this crazy dude Dan Carcillo. We all know the story about how Upshall cried in the interview, Carcillo played like a man posessed (in a bad way) and that would go down as the move that killed the chemistry and in turn- our season. (Looking at it now, it was a solid move, Carcillo has developed into a very solid role player who even finds the net once in a while, and Claude and Danny are both amazing playoff guys).
Last off-season some more guys leaving (Knuble and Biron) and some others coming in (JVR finally and Ray Emery were the big names). Then there was that little trade that made everyone (or atleast some people) mad at Homer for NO REASON. Homer traded essentially 3 first rounder and Joffrey Lupul for CHRIS PRONGER. One of the top 4 defensemen in the league. At the time people hated trading the farm. Looking back now... we might not make the playoffs with out the giant on D, and with him we were a weak OT goal, and a road victory away from winning the cup. I think homer won that one.
Now comes this off-season: Losing Asham: even. Re-signing Coburn: generally not liked. Signing Shelly: universally not liked. Trading for Meszaros: slightly good in the people's eyes. Trading Gagne: Everyone kill homer. Yeah the one Gagne trade looks poor, but assuming we get Turco, look what we did in a nut shell this off-season: Got tougher (Shelly/Carcillo signings), got better of offense (Zherdev for Gagne is a wash, but the development of all of our young players greatly improves our offense, not to mention the return of Hartnell, Briere, a full season of Lieno, and a sophomore JVR), tremendously improved defense (Meszaros + O'Donnell vs. Kraijeck + Parent), and improved net minding with Turco. Not to mention the small moves he made that helped us out (trading Hamhuis for a 3rd rounder was a great move).
If you honestly didn't think we got better look at this:
Gags/Richie/Carcillo vs. Carter/Richie/(Carcillo/Zherdev)
Briere/Lieno/Hartnell vs. ditto
Giroux/JVR/Ash vs. Giroux/JVR/(Carcillo/Zherdev)
Powe/Betts/Lappy vs. Powe/Shelly/Betts/Lappy
I think this year wins each line. And quite frankly its not even close.
Defense: The top two pairs are a wash, yeah Timmo and Prongs get older, but so does Carle/Coburn. Not to mention the less minutes they will play BECAUSE: Kraijeck/Parent<<<<<<O'Donnell/Meszaros
That all being said- IF- we get Turco: Turco/Leights>Leights/Boosh.
All of that being:
CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR
Daniel Briere ($6.500m) / Mike Richards ($5.750m) / Jeff Carter ($5.000m)
Scott Hartnell ($4.200m) / Nikolai Zherdev ($2.000m) / James Van Riemsdyk ($1.654m)
Ian Laperriere ($1.166m) / Jody Shelley ($1.100m) / Daniel Carcillo ($1.075m)
Claude Giroux ($0.821m) / Ville Leino ($0.800m) / Blair Betts ($0.700m)
/ / Darroll Powe ($0.650m)
Kimmo Timonen ($6.333m) / Chris Pronger ($4.921m)
Andrej Meszaros ($4.000m) / Matt Carle ($3.437m)
Braydon Coburn ($3.200m) / Oskars Bartulis ($0.600m)
Sean O'Donnell ($1.300m)
Michael Leighton ($1.550m) /Marty Turco ($2.000m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $59,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $58,759,763; BONUSES: $937,500
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $1,577,737
If someone told you on July 30th that that would be the case, would you be ok with it? I know I sure would. Give Homer a break. 3 years, 2 Conf championship appearance, 1 Eastern conf finals, and 1 first round loss to the eventual cup champs. Give the guy a break, I don't mind these results year after year, although a cup is ideal.