Few days in Flyers history have ever been busier than today, with several high profile trades altering the franchise in the last decade alone.
For starters the Jeff Carter and Mike Richards trades were executed on June 23rd of 2011, as was the ill-fated James van Riemsdyk trade (for Luke Schenn) a year later, the Scott Hartnell for R.J. Umberger swap two years later, and finally the Brayden Schenn trade three years later (for two first-round picks and Jori Lehtera).
Those are some massive trades and ironic that they all occurred on the same day though years apart. Nonetheless each of those trades sent ripples through the organization for one way or another —some good and some real bad (hello, Luke Schenn).
But none were perhaps bigger —or more impactful— than then-GM Paul Holmgren’s decision to blow up the core of his playoff team in the summer of 2011 by dealing away Carter and Richards in separate deals though both would end up in Los Angeles with the Kings before long.
The haul was impressive for both — including Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier, and Brayden Schenn — but Richards and Carter won two Stanley Cups together in Hollywood and the Flyers have won exactly one playoff series since their departure. The topic of their departure has been covered extensively, but it’s still a massively important moment in the Flyers’ recent history without debate.
As for the move a year later, was that ever an ill-advised move in the one-for-one deal straight up for Luke Schenn in exchange for JVR.
Though not quite a polished product, JVR blossomed into a 30-goal scorer for the Maple Leafs while the Flyers took on a defenseman playing about 15 years past his era. The older Schenn was a disaster for the Flyers, and far from the steady defender the Flyers were hoping they were getting at the bare minimum in return for JVR.
But as the slope wasn’t slippery enough following Holmgren’s last big trade flop, his successor wasn’t afraid to shake things up by trading the ever-popular —and productive— Scott Hartnell for RJ Umberger (and a fourth-round pick).
Then-GM Ron Hextall defended the move as a way to get out from under a longer salary cap commitment in Hartnell in favor of the shorter deal in Umberger, but the results were disastrous. Hartnell enjoyed two more productive seasons before falling off a cliff while Umberger jumped off right after landing back in Philly. The Umbergler managed just 26 points in 106 games during his second stint with the Flyers before mercifully being bought out in the summer of 2016.
Even though the Flyers did save themselves some cash along the way with the swap, it was a hugely unpopular move that marginally benefitted the team as Hextall’s first “big” move at the helm.
As for a move that didn’t go super badly for Hextall, he procured two first-round picks from St. Louis for the younger Schenn in 2017. Those picks became Morgan Frost, widely regarded as the Flyers’ top prospect, and Joel Farabee, who has stuck with the big club all season for the most part as a 19/20-year-old. Though Schenn has been productive with the Blues (182 points in 225 games), the return has been far better than it was in Hextall’s first high profile trade and hopefully Frost and Farabee key the Flyers’ top-six for years to come.
What a wild day, and who knows what would’ve been on tap had the NHL season continued as planned? Perhaps the Flyers would be making that big play to save Jack Eichel from Buffalo, who knows?
Also on June 23nd in franchise history...more trades, including the infamous 2018 seventh-round pick for a 2019 seventh-round pick in 2018...an epic trade from the Flyers and Canadiens that still boggles the mind to his day...