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ALL-DECADE: Draft, Trades and Free Agent Signings

Flyers contributor Bill Meltzer examines the best Draft, Trades and Signings of the Flyers decade

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

In today's salary-capped NHL, it is harder to make trades, and homegrown prospects are of premium value, especially during their entry-level contract years. 

Here's a look at 10 of the most notable Flyers draft picks, trade acquisitions and free agent signings of the 2010s (Entries are listed chronologically).

1. Feb. 6, 2010: Flyers acquire Leino from Detroit

It seemed like a minor trade at the time. Ville Leino had fallen out of favor in Detroit, while defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen only appeared in 18 games for the Flyers. It wasn't until the 2010 playoffs that the deal started to become significant. 

Leino exploded for 21 points (7g-14a) in 19 games and completed a formidable trio with Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell. The next season, Leino chipped in 19 goals and 54 points in the regular season. During the 2011 playoffs, Leino scored three goals in the Flyers' first-round series win over Buffalo; none bigger than an OT goal in Game 6 that brought the series back to Philadelphia for the deciding match.

2. March 23, 2011: Flyers Sign FA rookie Matt Read

The undrafted Bemidji State product proved to be an astute free agent signing for the Flyers. Primarily a winger at the NHL level, he was also able to play center if needed (at least in his early years). Read scored 24 goals in his rookie NHL season (2011-12) and posted another 20-goal season in 2013-14. Although he struggled to score during the latter part of his seven-season stint with the Flyers, Read remained one of the team's most effective penalty killers.

3. June 23, 2011: Flyers Acquire Simmonds and Schenn from LA

The Flyers made two massive trades as the hours ticked down before the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. One trade saw the team trade captain Mike Richards to the LA Kings in exchange for 22-year-old right winger Wayne Simmonds and 20-year-old center/winger Brayden Schenn. 

Richards won two Stanley Cups with LA -- the first as a main contributor, the latter as a fourth-liner -- but his career went downhill rapidly. Simmonds and Schenn both went on to solid stints with the Flyers, especially Simmonds. "The Wayne Train" later posted back-to-back 30-goal seasons and six with 24 or more goals. 

4. June 23, 2011: Flyers Acquire Voracek and 2011 1st & 3rd Rounders from Columbus

The other blockbuster trade the Flyers made that day saw the team deal Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for young forward Jakub Voracek, and for first-round (Sean Couturier) and third-round (Nick Cousins) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Carter's stay in Columbus was brief and unhappy before he found happiness and success in LA after being traded for Jack Johnson. In the meantime, Voracek and Couturier became Flyers mainstays and prime contributors for the remainder of the decade. Tweet from @NHLFlyers: #Flyers acquire from CBJ Jakub Voracek, a 2011 1st Round pick (8th overall) & 2011 3rd Round pick (68th overall) in exchange for Jeff Carter

5. The 2011 Draft: Flyers Select Sean Couturier with 8th overall pick

Couturier graduated immediately to the NHL. It took until his mid-20s to become a high-end offensive point producer in the NHL but he was an outstanding defensive center from day 1. 

6. The 2012 Draft: Flyers Select Gostisbehere with 78th overall pick

"Ghost's" career in the NHL has had its ups and downs but there is no doubt that his rookie and third seasons were stellar offensively. As a rookie in 2015-16, he set a new NHL record for longest point streak by a rookie defenseman and placed second in the Calder Trophy balloting despite appearing in just 64 games. Two seasons later, the Florida native posted a career-best 65 points in 78 games.

7. The 2014 Draft: Flyers Select Lindblom with 138th overall pick

A projected first round pick for the 2014 Draft heading into the 2013-14 season, Lindblom's stock fell precipitously that season due to concerns over his skating and a slow start to the season. The Flyers wound up being able to select Lindblom in the fifth round. Prior to his recent diagnosis with Ewing Sarcoma (a form of bone cancer), Lindblom evolved into one of the fastest-rising young all-around wingers in the NHL.

8. The 2015 Draft: Flyers Select Ivan Provorov 7th overall

The Flyers coveted Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Ivan Provorov for months ahead of the 2015 NHL Draft, and were able to select him with the seventh overall pick of the first round Today, he is the Flyers' No. 1 defenseman.

9. The 2015 Draft: Flyers Select Travis Konecny 24th overall

After selecting Provorov, the Flyers traded up in the first round to be able to take Ottawa 67s center (later a winger) Travis Konecny with the 24th overall pick. Today, Konecny is the team's leading scorer during the 2019-20 season to date.

10. June 14, 2019: Flyers Acquire Matt Niskanen from Washington

Radko Gudas served the Flyers well during his years with the team, but the Flyers needed a minutes-eating, all-situations defenseman who could provide stability on the top end of the blueline. Apart from his statistics to date, Niskanen has been an outstanding defensive partner to Provorov. 

Niskanen's contract has one year to run beyond this year. In the long term, an even more important addition may be the one of center Kevin Hayes. He's been a bit streaky offensively so far in his first season, but has been excellent on the penalty kill and in terms of his 200-foot play.

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