Scott Hartnell's contract certainly wasn't the best one the Flyers had, and at times Hartnell did feel a little out of the mix on Craig Berube's team. He shuffled between lines a little bit and seemed to hold Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux back a touch, but he was still legitimately a top-6 player on a very deep offensive Flyers team. That's obviously good.
We can't say the same for R.J. Umberger. He plays both center and wing, and sure ... he scored just two goals fewer than Hartnell last year. But he also had the highest shooting percentage of his career, and that's going to go down basically next year no matter what. He's not going to come close to matching Hartnell's production. Maybe he slots in on the top line, maybe he falls elsewhere in the lineup. No matter where he plays, he's not going to be better than Hartnell.
Then there's the contract situation. The Flyers traded away a bad contract ($4.75 million against the cap until 2019), but they got another one right back ($4.6 million against the cap until 2017). And sure, Umberger's contract does expire two years before Hartnell's does, but is worth basically the same against the cap for the next three. It's a contract so bad that his old team was going to use a compliance buyout on him until this deal was made.
This is a huge lift off #CBJ GM Kekalainen. Club was contemplating a compliance buyout on Umberger if they couldn't move him before draft.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) June 23, 2014
Not good. Not only is Hartnell a better player than Umberger, the 2015 4th round pick the Flyers also got in the draft isn't worth the difference between the two players. The Flyers still have a bad contract on their books, and Umberger is a worse fit for the Flyers than Hartnell. Either he's a center, and he's not better than at least two centers on the Flyers current roster. Or he's a winger and he's worse than the winger he was traded for.
A bad contract that contributes and fits on your team is so much better than a bad contract that doesn't fit at all. This makes no sense for Ron Hextall and the Flyers.