The Keith Primeau-Rod Brindamour Flyers trade 23 years later

Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
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Rod Brind’amour

Until his final season, the 1999-2000 season was Brind’amour worst season of his career. Between Philly and Raleigh, he scored only nine goals with 13 assists. The effects of his foot injury were still lingering that year. However, if that’s the case, why is this trade listed among the worst trades ever in Flyers’ history?

Brind’amour would bounce back the following season with a 20-goal campaign.  When he was traded to Carolina, he went to a team that missed the playoffs. In his first full season there, the Canes made the playoffs. The following year, they made an incredible playoff run only to lose in five games to the Red Wings (and Shanahan again!) in 2002.

Carolina would miss the playoffs the next two seasons, followed by the lockout. In the first season following the lockout, Brind’amour lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup high as the Hurricanes were named Cup Champions in 2006. Two years later, they were swept by the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Meanwhile, after the trade, Brind’amour played for 10 seasons in Carolina. He would score 31 goals in the year that he brought the Canes to the Stanley Cup Championship as their captain. He would be named the Selke Trophy winner in 2006 and 2007. In 694 games in Raleigh, Brind’amour would score 174 goals and have 299 assists. That’s good for 11th all-time in goals, third in assists, and fourth in points for Carolina.  Likewise, he is still ninth in career assists and 11th in career points for the Flyers.

This trade has gone down, in the eyes of Hurricanes’ fans, as the team’s greatest ever. And it still paying dividends. Brind’amour is the current head coach of the Hurricanes and he is teaching his players how to play as he did. Watch them sometime.

You’ll see the players battling for the puck in the corners, creating havoc in front of the net, delivering a hard hit when necessary, not turning the puck over but creating turnovers, and winning those faceoffs. It’s a reason why the Carolina Hurricanes have been near the top of the Eastern Conference standings every year since he took over as head coach. His emphasis on a “team first” mentality has fit them well.

Overall, Brind’amour has 452 goals and 1184 points. He is a borderline Hall of Famer whose case is picking up steam.

Keith Primeau

Primeau would score seven goals with 10 assists in the 23 games he played in during his first year in Philly. During the team’s playoff run, he made one of the most famous goals in Flyers history when he scored in the fifth overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4. While it didn’t clinch the series, it pretty much sucked the life out of the Penguins. But when Lindros got smashed apart by Scott Stevens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, that would seal the team’s fate.

Ironically, if Brind’amour was traded to appease Lindros, the star of the team, that problem solved itself when Lindros himself was traded in the 2001 offseason after sitting out the previous year following the 2000 playoff run. The Flyers were now Primeau’s team, as he was named captain when Eric Desjardins stepped down. the 2001-02 year was the best season of Primeau’s career in Philly as he scored a career-high with 34 goals and tied a career-high with 73 points.

But injuries would start to hamper him. After the 2004 team fell in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, there was a lockout. Upon returning, Primeau got a concussion that ended his career. He played just six seasons in Philly. And while he was able to get the team behind him for big playoff moments, including nine goals in the 2004 run, he was never the scoring threat he was billeted to be as a youngster.

Despite his reputation as a “brat” when he was younger, he matured a lot in Philly and became a great team leader. However, his stats were never stellar and the cost paid to get him was too high.