NHL trade deadline: A recent history of Flyers moves

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

How have Flyers done at the NHL trade deadline in the past?

With the NHL trade deadline today, there has been a good amount of speculation about what the Flyers will do next. By now you undoubtedly know about the Andrew MacDonald acquisition, and there seems to be a general consensus that the front office isn't done yet. But before we reach Wednesday's 3 o'clock deadline, let's take a quick look back.

When I got down to writing this, I intended to do a deep look into each player the Flyers had traded or acquired at previous season's deadlines. Then I took a look at the total number of transactions, and realized it would simply be far too much work.

Instead, I decided to write a more general assessment of what the Flyers do at the deadline.

To keep things simple (and somewhat relevant), let's start with the 1999-2000 season and define a "trade deadline deal" as one that happened in the three weeks leading up to that year's particular deadline.

Even after chopping the data down, it became clear that since the start of the new millennium, the Flyers have been pretty active around the deadline. The (very large) table below -- pulled from FlyersHistory.com -- shows every deal in detail.

To Flyers Trade Partner To Trade Partner
Travis Brigley, 2001 6th Rounder (Andrei Razin) Calgary Flames Marc Bureau
Rick Tocchet Phoenix Coyotes Mikael Renberg
Kent Manderville Carolina Hurricanes Sandy McCarthy
Kirby Law Atlanta Thrashers VAN's 2000 6th Rounder (Jeff Dwyer), 2001 6th Rounder (Pasi Nurminen)
Dean McAmmond Chicago Blackhawks 2001 3rd Rounder (transferred to TOR - Nicolas Corbeil)
Matt Herr Washington Capitals Dean Melanson
Jarrod Skalde Atlanta Thrashers Joe DiPenta
David Harlock, 2003 3rd Rounder (transferred to PHX - Tyler Redenbach), 2003 7th Rounder (transferred to SJS - Dany Roussin) Atlanta Thrashers Francis Lessard
Billy Tibbetts Pittsburgh Penguins Kent Manderville
Adam Oates Washington Capitals Maxime Ouellet, 2002 1st Rounder (transferred to DAL - Martin Vagner), 2002 2nd Rounder (Maxime Daigneault), 2002 3rd Rounder (Derek Krestanovich)
Dimitri Yushkevich Los Angeles Kings 2003 4th Rounder (transferred to BOS - Patrik Valcak), 2004 7th Rounder
Claude Lapointe New York Islanders 2003 5th Rounder (transferred to Pitts - Evgeni Isakov)
Tony Amonte Phoenix Coyotes Guillaume Lefebvre, 2004 2nd Rounder (transferred to NYR -Brandon Dubinsky), ATL's 2003 3rd Rounder (Tyler Redenbach)
Vladimir Malakhov New York Rangers Rick Kozak & 2005 2nd Rounder (transferred to ATL - Ondrej Pavelec)
2004 8th Rounder (Martin Houle), 2005 3rd Rounder (transferred to TBL - Chris Lawrence) Dallas Stars Chris Therien
Denis Gauthier Phoenix Coyotes John Gratton, TBL's 2006 2nd Rounder (transferred to DET - Shawn Matthias), FLA's 2006 2nd Rounder (transferred to Det - Cory Emmerton)
Niko Dimitrakos San Jose Sharks 2006 3rd Rounder (transferred to CBJ - Tommy Sestito)
Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, 2007 1st Rounder (transferred back to NSH - Jonathon Blum), 2007 3rd Rounder (transferred to WSH - Phil Desimone) Nashville Predators Peter Forsberg
Braydon Coburn Atlanta Thrashers Alexei Zhitnik
Lasse Kukkonen,  2007 3rd Rounder (Garrett Klotz) Chicago Blackhawks Kyle Calder
Martin Biron Buffalo Sabres 2007 2nd Rounder (T.J. Brennan)
Jaroslav Modry Los Angeles Kings 2008 3rd rounder (Geordie Wudrick)
2009 3rd Rounder (Simon Bertilsson) Calgary Flames Jim Vandermeer
Vaclav Prospal Tampa Bay Lightning Alexandre Picard, 2009 2nd rounder (Richard Panik)
Daniel Carcillo Phoenix Coyotes Scottie Upshall, 011 2nd Rounder (Lucas Lessio)
Ville Leino Detroit Red Wings Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, 2011 5th Rounder (Mattias Backman)
Kris Versteeg Toronto Maple Leafs 2011 1st Rounder (Stuart Percy),  2011 3rd Rounder (Josh Leivo)
Tom Sestito Columbus Blue Jackets Michael Chaput, Greg Moore
Matt Ford Washington Capitals Kevin Marshall
Nicklas Grossman Dallas Stars LAK's 2012 2nd Rounder (Devin Shore), MIN's 2013 3rd Rounder
Pavel Kubina Tampa Bay Lightning Jon Kalinski, FLA's 2012 2nd Rounder (Brian Hart), 2013 4th Rounder (Tobias Lindberg)
Kent Huskins Detroit Red Wings Conditional 2014 7th rounder
Jay Rosehill Anaheim Ducks Harry Zolnierczyk
Steve Mason Columbus Blue Jackets Michael Leighton,  2015 3rd rounder

Since 2000, the Flyers have had 34 total transactions around the deadline. I'm not entirely sure how this stacks up against other teams, but it certainly seems like an above-average amount of activity. Below, we dig into the data a little bit more.

How long do deadline pickups stay in Philadelphia?

It's conventional wisdom that trade deadline deals are usually for rental players, but the data for the Flyers somewhat dispels that notion.

The 31 total skaters that have been acquired around the deadline since 2000 have logged 1,877 total regular season games with the Flyers. That's about 61 games on average. Considering the trade deadline typically happens with around 20 - 30 games left in the season, this fact kind of bucks conventional wisdom.

It seems that (at least on average) trade deadline pickups tend to spend more time in Philadelphia than just to play out the season. Sure, there are guys like Pavel Kubina and Kent Huskins who left right at the end of the season (as we knew they would), but the list of deadline pickups is peppered with multi-season players.

And hell, Braydon Coburn was a deadline deal, and as of writing he has logged 517 games with the Flyers.

How good are the players that are picked up?

If you take a look at the master table, you're bound a see a good number of names that you don't recognize or have just forgotten about. Of course, this is a byproduct of the fact that teams are generally wary of making blockbuster deals until the summer.

That being said, when you look at that list there definitely will be some names you recognize -- Coburn and Steve Mason are pretty darn important to the Flyers right now. Adam Oates was good at one point, too.

Overall, the Flyers haven't picked up any offensive power houses at the deadline -- the average player has scored 18 points in his time in Philadelphia. So based on their history, you can expect a typical deadline pickup to give you a point roughly every three games.

All in all, we're talking generally below average players.

What positions are targeted?

When I went through this data, I expected to see a lot of defensemen coming over to the Flyers -- let's chalk that up to short-term memory and current narratives about what the team needs. But when you look at the data, it seems that over the past decade and a half, the Flyers trade deadline acquisitions have been fairly balanced.

Flyers_acquisitions_medium

What about the draft picks?

I thought you'd never ask. Of course, the trade deadline tends to see a lot of movement of draft picks -- teams that are making a playoff push are willing to part with a small piece of their future to win now.

As you might suspect, the Flyers have been on the "buying" side of trade deadlines since 2000 -- they've shipped out a total of 28 picks and have gotten back 9.


To Flyers From Flyers
First Rounders 1 2
Second Rounders 0 10
Third Rounders 5 8
Fourth Rounders 0 2
Fifth Rounders 0 2
Sixth Rounders 1 2
Seventh Rounders 1 2
Eighth Rounders 1 0
TOTAL 9 28

Of the picks they've given up, most are concentrated in the 2nd-3rd round range. A good number of those picks (that have been used already) have turned into guys that have logged some NHL time. So far, those players have logged a total of 1,545 NHL games, with the leaders being Brandon Dubinsky, Ondrej Pavelec, and Shawn Matthias.

The Flyers haven't gotten any picks that turned into anything of value. Of the four picks they actually cashed in, only one played in the NHL-- Martin Houle, and it was only one game.

So what was the best trade?

For me, there really is no contest here -- it has to be the Braydon Coburn acquisition.

Sure, Coburn isn't exactly a game changing defenseman, and he perhaps didn't live up to his pre-draft expectations, but he certainly is a key piece in the Flyers system. Looking up and down that list of trade deadline acquisitions, no one really comes close to the contributions that Coburn has given to this team.

What's more, the Flyers got him for relatively little -- all they had to give up was Alexei Zhitnik. Zhitnik was a top defenseman at one point, but by the time the Flyers let him go, he was definitely past his prime.

So the Flyers ended up getting a cornerstone on the blue line for a guy who would spend only 87 more games in the NHL. I'd say it's a winner.

And the worst one?

This is too easy. Look at what the Flyers gave up to get Adam Oates -- Maxime Ouellet, a 1st round pick, a 2nd round pick, and a 3rd round pick.

What did they get out of it? An aging star would only dress with the Flyers for 19 games. The Flyers basically sat out of the 2002 draft for 19 games. I still can't get over it.

***

The takeaway here is that on very rare occasions, the Flyers pull off a trade at the deadline that really helps out the team or completely screws it for the future.

But more often than not, moves are likely to be fairly low-impact. Given the way this front office has acted in recent years, maybe that's for the best.

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