To say that the Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren has been in the hot seat ever since trading Richards and Carter away in 2011 is an enormous understatement. We all know the story by now and have played out a ton of scenarios in our heads on how it could have been different. We say to ourselves, “Yeah, I would have loved to have kept Richards and Carter, but we got Simmonds, Voracek, Schenn and Cotourier and Nick Cousins with the draft picks. I really like what we got out of the trades.” We reason with ourselves that the trade ended up working out for us. But in the back of our heads we constantly think, “Would Richards and Carter have won a Stanley Cup here if they stayed?” In my opinion, probably not. Even if we kept them, Bryz (at least according to the Philadelphia Sports media) lost his head, and we lost Pronger – which was the biggest problem for the Flyers and GM Paul Holmgren.
The Flyers had to rebuild without actually calling it rebuilding. And it has been a rough road since then as far as trading and signing players, and can you blame them for not signing here? You can be a superstar and get traded in an instant; not that I am defending Richards and Carter, they had to go. (They became complacent with making the playoffs, at least it seemed that way to me.) However, we now find ourselves nearing the Trade Deadline for this season and all the rumors are circulating – which I hate because some of them are complete nonsense, if you don’t know what I’m talking about check out Hockeybuzz.com – and for once Bobby Ryan to the Flyers is not one of these rumors! But this Trade Deadline may be key for Holmgren because this season in general is key to him keeping his job. Snider didn’t bring Hextall in as assistant General Manager to advise Homer. Hextall will be the GM someday – its just a question of when. The answer may be this June if the Flyers fail to make it to the Conference Finals.
Now, what should Homer do this Trade Deadline if we want the most success this year, as well as in the future? By looking at the recent years trade deadline moves by Holmgren, I think we may see a trend as to what to expect. Starting with 2010, the year we made it to the Cup Finals, we made one miniscule trade that ultimately payed huge dividends for us for the rest of the season and the 2010 playoff run. We sent Ole-Kristen Tollefsen and a 2011 5th round pick to Detroit for Ville Leino. At the time, at least to me, I felt like it was a move that was not going to be extremely beneficial – I was proven very wrong later that season. This is the kind of move I see the Homer making right now: a small trade for a decent player, probably a defenseman considering that is what we are most in need of. A big splash is a bad move right now, I want Shea Weber as much as anyone right now – but we cannot forget the future again at the trade deadline. I do not want to see Laughton, Morin, Cotourier, Schenn, or Cousins or any of our other young talent get traded away. I do not just want to be able to compete for the Stanley Cup now, but also 5 years from now. We have done that, we traded away picks for players before, that is what happened in 2011.
We got Tom Sestito from Columbus for Michael Chaput and Greg Moore, a rather pointless trade in the end. But also we traded for Kris Versteeg from Toronto for a 1st and 3rd round pick that year. We all saw how that turned out. I’m not saying that Shea Weber is Kris Versteeg, but can we afford to lose our young players like Schenn and our draft picks to build our team for the future? If we could send Mezaros and a couple picks for Weber I would do it – but that wont happen. And as for the Ryan Kesler rumors floating around, if that happens Holmgren deserves to get fired. We emphatically do not need another forward. He will just block Cousins or Laughton from coming up and then tail off after a season or so and then we will question why we traded for him in the first place. I have seen that player before on other Philadelphia sports teams and I really do not want to see it happen right now with a Flyers team this talented.
I love the Flyers the way they are right now. They don’t need a huge trade right now. Maybe in the offseason, but we are hot right now. Everyone is clicking and playing well together. Even Mezaros is playing well, something he hasn’t done in his time with the Flyers. Why bother trying to force a big move when we have big things coming with our prospects? I would love to win the Cup this year, but I would also love to have a team that competes for years to come. To sum it up: Holmgren should keep the team as is, or trade for a 2nd or 3rd line defenseman.