The Flyers entered the 2010-2011 with their tail between their legs -- they had just suffered a debilitating loss in the Stanley Cup Finals of the previous, with should-be Flyer Patrick Kane scoring the cup clincher. Luckily, the 2010-2011 season was largely a success.
The Flyers got off to a great start, solidifying their dominance early on, and looked like legitimate cup contenders. Later in the season, they started to slip a bit and got really frustrating to watch. I have many memories of screaming at my television. Nevertheless, they finished with an Atlantic division title that was made extra sweet because it didn't go to the Penguins.
Alas, despite a strong regular season performance that had them within one point of winning the conference, the playoffs were an absolute joke. The heavily favored Flyers came within one win of being ousted by the Buffalo Sabres in a series that saw Peter Laviolette utilize three different goaltenders. After barely inching by the Sabres, the Flyers gave up four straight to the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Boston Bruins. That series loss was just awful, and really gave the entire season a bad taste.
Probably due to that epic fail, general manager Paul Holmgren felt the need to blow the team to smithereens. Let's take a look at some of the casualties.
Blair Betts - C
What happened to him? Entering the 2011-2012 season, it seemed pretty clear that Betts was suffering some type of injury. Early in October, the Montreal Canadiens picked him up off waivers, but revoked their claim after Betts failed to pass a physical. Strangely enough, there wasn't much reporting on what was happening. Betts kind of just fizzled out and eventually retired.
How is he doing? Considering he went from being a regular roster player to an amateur golfer in a few short months, I'd say not so great.
Would you take him back? I know Betts was nothing more than a fourth line center, but I always kind of liked him. He formed a decent enough second penalty killing unit with Darroll Powe, and I don't remember him ever driving me nuts. Regardless, there's just no need for him right now -- even if he were healthy.
Brian Boucher - G
What happened to him? With Ilya Bryzgalov signed to a 50 year contract and Sergei Bobrovsky waiting in the wings, it was clear that Boucher was the odd man out in Laviolette's goalie carousel. On the first day of free agency, Boucher signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. He spent a year there backing up Cam Ward before being traded back to Philadelphia for the thousandth time to start the 2012-2013 season. He is currently retired.
How is he doing? Well, he's retired, but it's not like he didn't have a decent enough run. I like to think he's OK.
Would you take him back? BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!
Daniel Carcillo - LW
What happened to him? Laviolette obviously never liked Carcillo, and made that relatively clear by benching him multiple times throughout the 2010-2011 season. In response to a hard pass from the Flyers, Carcillo signed a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. After spending two seasons in Chicago, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in the summer of 2013, and now currently plays for the New York Rangers.
How is he doing? OK? Carcillo is pretty much a permanent bottom six guy, and when he's not doing something stupid, he can surprise you. He currently has 4 points on the season, which I guess is pretty decent when you only play a few minutes a night.
Would you take him back? Despite the fact he was a fan favourite, I never liked Carcillo. There I said it. Also, he won a cup with the Blackhawks and now plays for the Rangers. Admit it, you don't want him back either.
Jeff Carter - C
What happened to him? I don't think I need to rehash everything here, but on the craziest day in Flyers history, Paul Holmgren dealt Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Jakub Voracek and two draft picks (a 1st and a 3rd). Carter absconded to Sea Isle City, apparently upset that the team that just re-signed him to a long-term contract would trade him just weeks later. He spent part of one season in Columbus before getting traded to the Los Angeles Kings, where he currently plays.
How is he doing? Well, considering he's in Sochi as I write this, I'd say pretty damn well. Carter still has mad goal scoring capabilities, and is leaned heavily upon for the offensively challenged Kings.
Would you take him back? This is a really tough question to answer. Would I take Jeff Carter back now if he cost nothing? Obviously. But if it meant giving Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier away, I'd probably pace back and forth frantically until I reluctantly made a decision. I guess no in that case? I CAN'T DECIDE!
Ville Leino - LW
What happened to him? After months of wondering whether or not Holmgren would extend an offer, Ville Leino left the Flyers on the first day of free agency in 2011, signing a ridiculous six-year, $7 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres.
How is he doing? Leino has to be one of the biggest bullets the Flyers have dodged in recent years. We all knew that Buffalo overpaid him, but had no idea how bad that deal would eventually become. Let's put it this way -- Leino scored more points in his final season with the Flyers than he has his entire time in Buffalo. That will probably be true for little while longer.
Would you take him back? Absolutely not. But it is fun to reminisce about the good old Hartnell - Briere - Leino line. That line was awesome.
Sean O'Donnell - D
What happened to him? Failing to receive an offer from the Flyers, O'Donnell joined Carcillo and signed a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. After one season, the veteran defenseman retired.
How is he doing? Well, he's retired, but he's one of a few lucky guys who regularly played at the NHL level well into his late 30s. Crack open a cold one for that, I guess.
Would you take him back? Even if he still played, no. O'Donnell was simply a sixth defenseman with the Flyers, and I think we all know that there's an abundance of those around these parts.
Darroll Powe - RW
What happened to him? Shortly before free agency hit in July, Powe was traded to the Minnesota Wild for a third round draft pick. He played a little over one season in Minnesota before being traded to the New York Rangers in early 2013. He mainly spends his time in Hartford playing in the AHL for the Wolfpack.
How is he doing? By what standard? Powe was never really much of a big deal in the NHL, and spent only a few seasons up with the big boys. He's seen a little more offensive production in the minors, but hey, it's the minors.
Would you take him back? Again, Powe is just a fourth line guy who can't make a current NHL roster. Do. Not. Need. Do. Not. Want.
Mike Richards - C
What happened to him? It's hard to write this without crying. On the same day that Jeff Carter was shipped off to hockey hell, we all got the news that our beloved captain had been traded to the Kings, where he currently plays. I don't want to dwell on it.
How is he doing? Pretty good -- 36 points so far this season and a positive Corsi percentage (well, who doesn't on the Kings?). But we all know Richards is so much more than just points on a stat sheet. OK, I'll stop (or at least try to).
Would you take him back? Yes. I know, I know, Richards poses the same problem as Carter -- would we really be willing to give up the return we got for him? Trust me, I have thought about this for quite some time. But even though Wayne Simmonds has emerged as a top six talent and Brayden Schenn may prove to be an elite player, I'd still give them up to have Richie come back. He is an elite player on both sides of the ice, kills penalties like a beast and is none-too-shabby on the power play. He probably wouldn't want to come back, though :-(
Kris Versteeg - RW
What happened to him? In a move that to this day I still don't understand, the Flyers traded Versteeg to the Florida Panters in July 2011 for some draft picks. Versteeg ended up playing a little over two seasons in Miami before being shipped over to Chicago for his second stint in the windy city.
How is he doing? After slumping a bit earlier this year in Florida, it seems Versteeg may have returned to his former self. He currently has 21 points in 41 games with the Blackhawks, which is pretty decent if you ask me.
Would you take him back? I'd strongly consider it for sure. Versteeg was a tad disappointing on the Flyers (that guy loved passing in front of the net), but went on to have a really strong first season in Florida. Considering he looks like he's returned to form, why not give him another look?
Nikolay Zherdev - RW
What happened to him? Ah, Zherdev. What a crazy time he had with the Flyers. After spending pretty much the entire season in Peter Laviolette's doghouse, the Flyers let the door hit Zherdev's ass on the way out at the end of the 2010-2011 season. Since then, he's hopped around a few clubs in the KHL, and currently plays for Cherepovets Severstal.
How is he doing? I'm no expert on international hockey stats, but it seems like after a few strong seasons back in Russia, he's dropped off a bit. He currently has just six points in 17 games.
Would you take him back? Now? No. Do I wish that things went differently while he was here? Absolutely. Zherdev and Laviolette obviously had issues with each other, but man did he show signs of promise when he got ice time (and bothered to try). It's a shame that his attitude (or at least the perception of it) kept him from staying in the NHL. Obviously the talent was there, but when you get waived and no one wants a crack at you despite solid point production, you know something is wrong.
Well that's it. 10 guys gone in a few short weeks.
It's hard to imagine that there were even enough players to dress the following season, but I promise they somehow put a team together. Thanks for reading, and see you next week.