We here at the Flyers feel for our friends across the street who reside at Citizens Bank Park.
Their season is not going how they expected it to at this point (We know the feeling. It’s oh-so-fresh in our minds…) and sometime in the next day, or so, there will be roster changes that the team never wanted to make to begin with.
With Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline coming tomorrow, the Phillies may move some bigger name players for future needs.
It got us thinking then, what might be the best moves the Flyers have ever made at the NHL deadline?
It was surprising to find that most of the moves the Flyers made at (or near) the trade deadlines in the history of the franchise were rather non-descript.
There was the one everyone hated – in 2002 when the Flyers sent top goalie prospect Maxime Ouellet, a first rounder, a second rounder and a third rounder in the 2002 draft to Washington for Adam Oates – which may have been the most memorable.
(Although, in retrospect, Ouellet never panned out, nor did any of the draft picks, so it was ultimately a wash).
But, for the most part, deadline trades have not been a big part of Flyers lore.
Still, we decided to put together a top five list anyway… if for no other reason but to generate some conversation and to feel an affinity with the Phillies at this uncertain time.
Before we get to the Top Five though, here are a few we left off the list:
2/27/68 – Wayne Hicks to Pittsburgh for Art Stratton– This trade is only mentioned because it was the first deadline deal in franchise history. And it was certainly unmemorable. Hicks only played 115 NHL games in his career – 32 with the Flyers. He had just two goals and seven assists in his one season with Philadelphia before playing 15 games with the Penguins, the final 15 games of his NHL career. Hicks, a right wing, had significant success in the AHL and the WHL where he played a combined 17 seasons.
As for Stratton, he played 12 games at center for the Flyers at the end of their inaugural season and totaled all of four assists. Like Hicks, they were his final games in the NHL and he also was more well known in the AHL and WHL then in the NHL, where he played all of 95 games.
The most interesting aspect of this deal was that it was between the Flyers and Penguins. Could you imagine those two teams trading at the deadline now?
2/19/92 – Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget and a 1992 3rd round pick to Pittsburgh for Mark Recchi, Brian Benning and a 1992 1st round pick – We left this one off because it’s immediate impact didn’t lift the Flyers to new heights (although Recchi did set a franchise scoring record in his first go-round with the team). But it was a mega deal at the time. Tocchet and Samuelsson were stalwarts for the Flyers and went on to help the Penguins repeat as Stanley Cup champions. The first round pick never panned out for the Flyers either (Jason Bowen), which made this deal favor the Pens.
Again, a trade with Pittsburgh (it happened more often then you would think back in the day). Still, now, it would be utterly taboo (even though the Flyers did trade the rights to Dan Hamhuis for a draft pick to the Pens a couple years back. Aside from that though, the last trade between the two teams was 3/17/02 when the Flyers traded Kent Manderville to Pittsburgh for Billy Tibbetts. Woah!
4/7/95 – Garry Galley to Buffalo for Petr Svoboda – This one was probably No. 6 on the list, but just missed the cut. Galley was the Flyers best defenseman during their woeful five-year run of missing the playoffs in the early 90s. But trading him for Svoboda at the deadline in the lockout-shortened season of 1995 was a sign the Flyers were ready to make a run. Svoboda was a better skater than Galley and was a gritty defenseman as well. He became a key piece to the Flyers run in the late 90s as one of the top teams in the NHL, playing parts of five seasons with the Flyers. It was a good trade for the Flyers and one worthy of consideration. But it wasn’t top five material.
Instead, here are the best of the deadline deals: