Philadelphia Flyers: June 23rd is a historic date in team history

Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

June 23rd holds a special place in Flyers’ history. Some of the biggest deals took place on this very day.

For a few years, it seemed like the Flyers liked to get deals done on June 23rd. In four years, the team made four deals on that day. The first came in 2011 with the last one taking place in 2014. Only 2013 was the year in which they didn’t make a single trade on that day.

The Flyers seemed to take a break from making trades on that day. It wasn’t until 2017 when they made another potentially franchise-altering deal. And while it may still be too early to truly determine that, it was certainly a surprise deal.

The Flyers have made a total of 10 trades on June 23rd. Four of the trades included just draft picks. The first deal they ever made on that day was for a player who played just a single season in Philadelphia.

It’s the more recent deals that we will be focusing on. The first came in 2011 which saw two trades and a big signing take place all on the same day. And it was very significant moves in team history.

June 23rd, 2011

Out of all of the Flyers trades that took place on this date, the ones in 2011 shocked the world the most.

Then, captain, Mike Richards was shipped off to the Los Angeles Kings. That’s how the team got Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

Moments later, Jeff Carter was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets. That deal would give the Flyers Jakub Voracek and eventually Sean Couturier.

The two seemed to be getting too comfortable in Philadelphia and this was likely a wake-up call. Carter would end up being traded once more, this time to the Kings.

Both Richards and Carter would end up winning the Stanley Cup with Los Angeles in 2012 and 2014. They came close to doing that with the Flyers the season before their trades.

It’s a move that shocked everyone at the time. But it has given the Flyers some of their franchise players.

Those trades allowed the team to sign Ilya Bryzgalov to a massive deal. One they are still paying for to this day. He signed a nine-year, $51M deal.

He made it two seasons into that contract before the team bought him out in 2013. The team will be paying him until after the 2026-27 season.

It’s just over $1.6M every year until then. But it proves how a long-term deal isn’t always the way to go.

June 23rd, 2012

This move wasn’t as shocking as the prior year. But it did involve sending a young James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In return, the Flyers received Luke Schenn.

There are a large number of people who view this as one of the worst trades the team has made. At the time, Schenn was someone that former GM Paul Holmgren was interested in.

He was willing to sacrifice a potential budding star to get what he wanted. Van Riemsdyk had posted 35 and 40 points during his first two seasons. Injuries cut his season down in 2011-12 as he only appeared in 43 games.

He did break out in Toronto, posting 50+ points four times in six seasons with the team. The Flyers did reacquire him during the offseason in 2018.

He has still been bothered by injuries, but he’s still managed to be towards the top of the team in points.

June 23rd, 2014

The trade on this day was more of the head-scratching variety. Scott Hartnell was traded to the Blue Jackets for R.J. Umberger.

It’s hard to find many positive ways to swing this one. Hartnell was a top-six player at the time. Umberger was an inferior player.

Their contracts did factor into the deal. Umberger’s contract would be off the books in 2017 while Hartnell would be under contract until 2019. And despite Umberger barely making less, it was still a better contract.

Umberger didn’t do much with the Flyers during his time. His second stint was far worse than his first. He posted 15 and 11 points before having his contract bought out before the 2016-17 season.

Hartnell excelled in his first season in Columbus, posting 60 points. That was tied for the second-most in his career. Things steadily declined after that as he finished up his playing days with the Nashville Predators in 2017-18.

June 23rd, 2017

This is one of the more recent trades the team made. And it is one that is currently producing results. During the 2017 NHL Draft, the Flyers traded Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues. In return, they received Jori Lehtera, a 2017 first-round pick and a conditional 2018 first-round pick.

The Flyers ended up drafting Morgan Frost (2017) and Joel Farabee (2018). Farabee has already started to contribute at the NHL level this season. He posted 21 points in 52 games this season. Frost debuted in the league as well, grabbing seven points in 20 games.

Now Lehtera was more of a throw-in within the deal. He was never expected to match Schenn’s input. The two draft picks were the most important part of the trade. Lehtera was why the Blues had to sweeten the pot with those picks. He lasted one and a half seasons with the Flyers before finishing with the Phantoms in the AHL. Lehtera posted a measly 11 points in 89 games. He left the team in a very interesting way.

As it seems to go, Schenn would end up winning the Stanley Cup with the Blues during his second season with the team. He posted 12 points in 24 playoff games.

It is possible to look at this trade as a potential win-win for both teams, though. The Blues grabbed an impact player who helped lead them to their first-ever cup. And the Flyers added another set of top prospects to their arsenal. And the two look like they could develop into stars for the Flyers.

When June 23rd comes around, there is always a feeling that the Flyers could make a deal. It is extremely unlikely to happen this year as teams prepare for the playoffs after a long delay. But we always have these big deals to look back on.