Looking around the NHL, it is tough not to notice the many former Philadelphia Flyers succeeding else where. Many are quick to blame Paul Holmgren for these acquisitions, so I thought it would be helpful to take a look at some of these trades and moves and analyze them.
A good place to start would be the Chris Pronger trade. Pronger for most of his career was a 10 goal 50 point defensemen. He also was a physical force, and was for sure one of the top defensemen in the first decade of the 21st century. However, Pronger was not getting any younger, and even though he had been healthy for most of his career to that point he was a risk for sure at that advanced age.
But the price the Flyers gave up for Pronger was very steep. The Flyers gave up Joffery Lupol, Lucas Sbisa, two first round draft picks, and a conditional third round pick.
In Philadelphia, Lupol had been a two time 20 goal scorer. It was very clear that Lupol had tremendous upside, and this has been the case has he has turned into a good player for the Maple Leafs (though he has serious injury problems).
Lucas Sbisa was another young player who in my opinion had a ton of upside. More importantly however, the Flyers are currently not strong on the back end and Sbisa would be a valuable contributor on the blue line if he were still here.
Finally, two first round picks and a 3rd round pick were given up by the flyers.
Obviously no one could have predicted the Pronger injuries, but I still contend that Holdmgren gave up far too much to get Pronger. Now of course, this trade is devastating this franchise both financially (pronger was given a huge 7 year deal after being traded to the flyers) and because of the loss of picks/players via this trade.
The next trade I'd like to look at is the Kris Versteeg trade. The Flyers gave up a 1st and a third round pick, and only a few months later the Flyers traded Versteeg to the Panthers for a 2nd and a 3rd round pick. Basically, the Flyers rented Versteeg for a few months and traded a gave up a first round pick for a 2nd. Not a very smart move in my opinion.
I definitely don't fault Holmgren for trying to get Bryzgalov, although they over paid for slightly, even if he had continued his play from his phoenix days. Holmgren couldn't predict how poorly Bryz would do in philadelphia. That unfortunately is the consequence of having on of the worst defenses in the NHL.
The next major move was the Richards deal. I like this deal because the Flyers got two young forwards who are definitely NHL quality. I think both can develop into good players. Simmonds especially has played well the past two seasons and has found a knack for scoring goalies in the dirty areas.
Next comes the Carter trade. I think this trade has turned out great for the Flyers. Carter is an elite scorer, but does not bring that much else to the game. In return, the Flyers recieved Jacob Voracek (arguably the top Flyer this year) and Sean Couturier. Couturier plays heavy defensive minutes (31.5% offensive zone start this year). While he has not yet found his offensive game, he is still very young and has a good chance to develop into a solid two-way center. The flyers also received Nick Cousins, a play making center with over 100 points this year for the Greyhounds in the OHL.
A minor trade that I despire is the Nicklas grossman trade. Grossman is a big defensman who has no speed, has slow feet, and doesn't move the puck well. His corsi and relative corsi this year are -6.9 and -6.25. He only once through his NHL career has had a positive corsi for a season and has never had a positive relative corsi (corsi stats courtesy of behind the net and are per 60 min). The flyers gave up a 2nd and 3rd round pick for a defenseman who offers no offensive value and cant do much besides hit.
The sergei bobrovski trade seems awful considering bobrovski has become a vezina candidate this year, but no one say that coming. At the start of the season Columbus didnt even know whether Bobrovski or mason was going to be their starter. We can't fully blame this fiasco on Holmgren (even though I really want to).
The final major move was when the Flyers trades JVR for Luke Schenn. This trade has turned out to favor the Leafs, as JVR is turning into a very good player.
The past few years have seen Holmgren do some good things and some very bad things. The Carter and Richards deals as of now seem to be trades that will benefit the Flyers for years to come. However, the Pronger trade, Grossman trade, and JVR trades don't seem to have brought much value to the organization.