I can't say I didn't see it coming.
After Flyers head coach Craig Berube scratched him for long stretches last season, it seemed my biggest fears were coming to fruition. I used the opportunity to mentally prepare for the worst -- that my all time favorite Flyer Zac Rinaldo would not be suiting up in orange and black for the 2015-2016 season.
Sure, when Ron Hextall finally handed Berube the ol' pink slip in the offseason, I assumed (as one only would) that it had to do with the Rinaldo benching. I mean, you don't just let the most effective player sit in the press box and get away with it.
I was wrong.
Today, the Philadelphia Flyers did the unthinkable and traded Zac Rinaldo to the Boston Bruins for a third round pick in 2017. It seems that last Friday's Supreme Court ruling did indeed usher in the end times.
Now, I'm sure that we're in agreement that this move is absolutely devastating for the Flyers' chances of making a cup run, but I'd be remiss if I didn't lay out exactly why I hate this move.
First off, I know the Bruins aren't exactly a divisional rival, but why is Ron Hextall in the business of helping them out? Look, last season the Bruins got rid of Shawn Thornton (another top notch NHL player) and look what happened. They missed the playoffs, much to the joy of Flyers fans everywhere.
Now the Bruins are right back on the road to success.
Well, guess what? All those game changing moments like wrecklessly injuring another team's players are going to benefit the Bruins now. With both them and the Flyers being bubble teams at best next season, Rinaldo's departure could very well keep the Flyers out of the playoffs. Thanks, Ron.
And what about the return that Ron Hextall got? A measly THIRD ROUND DRAFT PICK? Look, there's obviously a huge leadership void on this roster right now, and a third round pick just ain't going to fill that void.
The very least Hextall could have asked for is a later round pick -- something in the fifth to seventh rounds -- that way he could focus on drafting a character guy that amps up with team with on-ice shenanigans.
This is just simple hockey logic -- it's like Hextall never even played the game, for god's sake.
Now that he's saddled with a third round pick, he'll most likely draft yet another undersized "skill" guy who avoids big checks and game changing suspendible offenses. But who needs to make sure that prospect pool is well maintained? Not Ron Hextall, that's for sure.
While we're on the subject of what the Flyers got for Rinaldo, need I remind you that the guy is a decorated player in the NHL? They aren't just handing out official Gene Hart Memorial Awards to any old clown who can lace up the skates.
That award, by the way, is given to the "player who demonstrates the most heart." With the league largely populated by heartless (and useless) players like Phil Kessel and Joe Thornton, you have to think that Hextall could have played this up more and gotten something better in return. Someone like that Krys Barch-like Senyshyn guy that the Bruins smartly drafted at 16th overall this past Friday.
Of course, not all of us here at Broad Street Hockey are upset with this move. In fact, our misguided editor Travis Hughes is absolutely brimming with excitement. Hell, Hughes even wrote an article a few months back trying to (in vain) prove that Zac Rinaldo was a bad player because his time spent being disciplined was very close to his total career ice time.
Hughes must not have a sound background in hockey economics like myself, so I'd love to hear his answer to this question: Why would the Flyers pay a guy hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend so much time sitting in the penalty and press boxes if he wasn't super effective in his limited ice time? I'll hang up and listen.
But don't put any stock in that. It's clear that the other writers here just have an agenda against guys that actually play hockey the way it was meant to be played. Just look at their happiness with the (terrible) Nicklas Grossmann trade and you'll agree.
Look, the Flyers haven't won a cup since the days of the Broad Street Bullies. Getting rid of Rinaldo just shows another shift away from a proven model of success, and I just don't know if I can truly be a fan of a team so willing to embrace a losing culture.
This team had one player with heart -- Remaldo, that was it. Just how the Flyers intend to fill that void remains to be seen.