Ten Best Trades in Flyers History

Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Note: There have been many trades made by the Flyers that are good and bad. Many of these trades can really depend on perspective.  These trades are among the best in Flyers history as chosen by me.

No. 10 — Flyers trade Langkow for picks

The Flyers acquired Daymond Langkow from Tampa Bay in a trade for Chris Gratton, an RFA who didn’t quite pan out. Langkow was a center, who could also play left wing. He was 23 years old and could score well enough for a third line center playing behind Eric Lindros and Rod Brind’amour/Keith Primeau. In fact, he was probably one of the better bottom line centers in the league at the time with a lot of upside.

So, it came as a surprise when the Flyers traded him to Phoenix for a first and second round pick in the 2003 draft. The second round pick would later be flipped, but that 1st rounder would turn into Jeff Carter.

Langkow would put up some good numbers in Phoenix and then great numbers when traded to Calgary. Overall, he had a solid 16 year career with 270 goals scored.

Carter put up better numbers, scoring 23 in his rookie season in 2005-06. He was part of a young group of scoring prodigies the Flyers found in the 2000s. And while he spent only six years in Philly, he is still playing strong as one of those reliable vets you want. He scored 19 goals this year for Pittsburgh at age 37.

Langkow was good, but Carter was better. And when the Flyers traded Carter (more on this later), the haul would be even more profound for the Orange and Black.

No. 9 — Recchi Trade #3

Mark Recchi would be traded to the Flyers three times and from the Flyers once. This particular trade would be the second time he was traded to Philly.

After being traded to Montreal, Recchi would spend parts of five seasons with the Habs. He put up good numbers, including two 30+ goal campaigns.  However, he was playing in a different style and never meshed well in Montreal. He wanted out.

In came Bobby Clarke. The GM was frustrated by the lack of offensive output put up by Danius Zubrus; the 15th overall pick in the 1996 draft (19 goals in 200 games). Clarke shipped him north of the border with a pair of draft picks, a second rounder and a sixth rounder, for Recchi.

Zubrus would have a 19 year career as a valuable third or fourth line depth piece. But he was clearly not the player Clarke thought he’d be.

Recchi jumped right back onto the Flyers and flourished on the first line with Lindros and John LeClair, scoring four goals in the 10 games he played for them in the 98-99 season. Over the next five seasons, he would score 128 goals and put up 236 assists. He would later walk as a free agent and then return for a third time.

The veteran Recchi would end up winning Stanley Cups with Carolina and Boston to close out a Hall of Fame career. But his return to Philly, for Zubrus, would be a great bookend to the trade that sent him to Montreal in the first place.

No. 8 — Flyers trade Forsberg for two fan favorites

Peter Forsberg is one of the greatest hockey players of all time. His involvement in the Eric Lindros trade is one of the great “what ifs” of all time.  But Forsberg would return to the Flyers in 2005-06. It was the year following the lockout and the Avalanche were hit hard by the salary cap. They offered a four year $13.5 million deal to him, but he chose Philly’s two year $11.5 million contract.

But before he played, he had to have ankle surgery. The following year, he had more foot surgery. When he played, he still had a scoring tough, but he battled through injuries.

The Flyers realized that he still had some value because of his name. They traded him to Nashville for a 1st round pick, a 3rd round pick which became Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent. Upshall became a decent contributor. Parent didn’t play much. Both picks were traded.

However, that 1st round pick was sent BACK to Nashville for Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timmonen.

Hartnell looked like John Kruk on skates. He fell down a lot. He scored. He was a ton of fun and spent seven wonderful seasons in Philly with his scraggly hair whipping behind him. Hartnell would also top the 20 goal mark in five of his seven seasons here.

Timmonen would also spend seven years in Philly. Somehow, the small Finnish defender caught the love of Philly fans. He would tough it out on every play and played with his whole heart. He would be traded to Chicago for draft picks in 2015 and would raise Lord Stanley’s Cup with the Blackhawks before he retired; a fitting end for a great guy.

Forsberg would rejoin Colorado after finishing the season out with Nashville in 2007. In the next two seasons, he would play in only 11 games. While it would’ve been nice to have Forsberg when he was young and healthy and a scoring machine, we got glimpses of it at the tail end of his career.

Getting Hartnell and Timmonen was one of Paul Holmgren’s first great coups.

No. 7 — Flyers blow the team up in 2011

Carter and Mike Richards were the Flyers go to studs in the late 00s. They could score…and they could party. It was their off ice antics that drew the ire of coach Peter Laviolette.

The other impetus for this trade was a “want” of a goaltender. The team had soured on rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and his play in the playoffs and wanted a veteran netminder. So, the Flyers made two trades on June 23, 2011 in an effort to clear cap space to make a sign-n-trade deal with Phoenix of Iyla Bryzgalov. While that didn’t work out well at all, the trades made to free up space still have MASSIVE implications to this day.

First, the Flyers traded Carter to Columbus for Jakub Voracek, a first and third-round pick in the 2011 draft. Then, the Flyers traded Richards with a second round pick and a prospect to LA for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

Carter went on to have a good career, as we stated earlier. He got hurt before he started off in Columbus and struggled a little bit. He would be shipped off to the Kings and reunited with Richards where they would go on to win to Stanley Cups together. Carter is still playing while Richards would struggle with injuries and ran into trouble when he tried to bring oxycodone in from Canada. He would retire in 2016.

Now for the Flyers haul. Voracek would be Claude Giroux’s linemate for the next decade, scoring over 600 points with the team. When he was traded, he was traded for Cam Atkinson, who expected to be one of the team leaders with John Tortorella coming in.

The draft picks taken from Columbus have turned in Sean Courtier and Nick Cousins, the former a mainstay on the roster today. Simmonds became a fan favorite, much like Hartnell was. During his eight years in Philly, NOBODY played harder than he did. Simmonds would top the 30 goal mark twice in Philly.

Schenn spent six years in Philly and grew a little bit every year, scoring 20+ goals in three of those seasons. When he was traded to the Blues, the Flyers got a few picks, which would become Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee. And while Frost has battled injuries over his career, he is still just 23.

So, Richards and Carter became Voracek, Simmons, Courtier, Cousins, and Schenn, and by extension Atkinson, Frost, and Farabee. That’s not bad. These trades as a package deal could be up higher on this list if it weren’t for the plethora of Hall of Famers to come.

No. 6 — Flyers trade for Pronger

Throughout the 2000s, the Flyers made several bad trades trying to snag a powerful defender. Many of these trades fell flat and gave up too much to acquire what they got in return.

In 2009, Holmgren swung for the fences. He traded Luca Sbisa, Joffrey Lupul, two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for future hall of famer Chris Pronger.

Fun fact: this would be the second time that Lupul was traded for Pronger as Lupul was part of a package that brought Pronger to Anaheim from Edmonton. Lupul, a former first round pick, was a decent scorer, hitting the 20+ goal mark three times in his first five seasons. Losing him was a risk. Sbisa was also a former first rounder with just a year under his belt. He was expected to be a contributor to the Flyers blue line for years to come.

Lupul would have a good career, retiring in 2016 with 205 goals scored. However, the Flyers had a lot of scoring options (Giroux, JVR, Richards, Carter, Danny Briere) at the time and could afford to give him up. Sbisa never lived up to his potential, but still managed to have a 13 career, retiring last year. But none of them were Pronger.

Yes, Pronger spent only three years in Philly; the last year cut short by the concussion that ended his career. Yes, he was 35 when he was acquired. But you go back to that Stanley Cup run of 2010 where he AVERAGED 29.03 minutes of ice time a game. He put it all on the ice against Chicago and almost single handedly shut them down. There were some talks, at the time, that he was strongly considered for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP because of his performance.

Yes, his career in Philadelphia was far too brief. But his impact was huge. Without him, the Flyers do not go to the Cup in 2010.