Homer’s Do’s and Doh’s: Coburn trade v. Forsberg trade and Eminger trade v. Klotz

Paul Holmgren became the interim General Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers on October 22, 2006. That interim title was removed only weeks later on November 11. Holmgren was able to take a team that finished last in the National Hockey League, and rebuild it to make a deep run all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals the very next season.

Yes, some of Holmgren’s moves have been amazing, but he’s also a guy who has gotten this organization into some hot water with the salary cap and was forced to make deals that were head scratchers to say the least.

If you enjoyed our Dazzlers and Duds polltastic tournament feature, we’ve got another one all lined up for you. Flyers Faithful proudly presents Homer’s Do’s and Doh’s: Our Favorite and Least Favorite Deals Under Paul Holmgren.

Starting Monday, November 19, there will be a single bracket with 32 trades, signings, and waiver-wire claims and losses, to determine exactly which deal everyone thinks is Holmgren’s best so far, his less than favorable so far, and whether the good outweighs the bad or vice-versa.

I don’t think anyone can deny that it’s been a real entertaining and exciting time in Flyers history with Holmgren at the helm. That’s a fact. But is Holmgren the king of exchange swinging, or does his penchant for quick fixes get him into more trouble than he’s worth?
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Today’s contestants:

Alexei Zhitnik to Atlanta Thrashers for Braydon Coburn
write-up courtesy of Marcello De Feo

Take a minute to think on and analyze this. Go on, I’ll wait.

Done? OK. You just wasted a minute. Good job. This trade set the high-water mark for Paul Holmgren’s tenure. Homer fleeced the Thrashers so hard that they had to relocate to remote Winnipeg, Manitoba out of sheer embarrassment.

Peter Forsberg to Nashville Predators for Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, and 2007 1st round pick
write-up courtesy of Nick D

While Peter Forsberg was one of the best players in the world when healthy (he played just 40 games that year before being traded), the Philadelphia Flyers were the worst team on ice in the 2006-2007 season. Paul Holmgren knew his team needed a change in direction and philosophy. He dealt Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, and the Preds’ first round pick in the 2007 draft. That’s a pretty good haul for just one player. Holmgren got a forward who played an uptempo game in Upshall, a young defenseman in Ryan Parent, and the fact that Homer flipped the first round pick back to Nashville for Kimmo Timonen’s and Scott Hartnell’s signing rights, well this trade was an out and out win for the Flyers and Holmgren.

Which Paul Holmgren deal was better?

  • Alexei Zhitnik to Atlanta Thrashers for Braydon Coburn (71%, 60 Votes)
  • Peter Forsberg to Nashville Predators for Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, and 2007 1st round pick (29%, 25 Votes)

Total Voters: 84

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2008 1st round pick (Jon Carlson) to Washington Capitals for Steve Eminger and 2008 3rd round pick
write-up courtesy of Nick D

Not one of the best moves Holmgren has ever made. This didn’t benefit the Philadelphia Flyers whatsoever. Even if you factor in that they used Steve Eminger as a piece to bring in Matt Carle, Jon Carlson has shown that he’s going to be a top four defender for a long time in this league. Granted, the Flyers did have two first round picks in 2008 and selected Luca Sbisa at 19th overall, they had no reason to give up a first round pick for a mediocre defender. Considering how well the Flyers draft in the first round, and how poorly they draft in every other round, this was a tough one especially given that Eminger would play just 12 games before being packaged with Steve Downie to the Lightning for Matt Carle.

Drafting Garrett Klotz
write-up courtesy of Geoff Detweiler of Broad Street Hockey

It is easy to criticize failed draft picks, especially those taken outside the first two rounds, due to the value of hindsight. And yet, you don’t need hindsight to criticize the selection of Garrett Klotz.

Entering the 2007 draft, Klotz was coming off a season in which he had 107 penalty minutes in 63 games, scoring only 4 points. He was not even listed in the top-200 North American skaters by Central Scouting.

The Klotz selection is not offered up as the worst move of Holmgren’s tenure due to its impact on the NHL team. It’s offered up as the worst move of Holmgren’s tenure as representative of the worst the Broad Street Bullie philosophy has to offer. In no universe should a player who scores 0.06 points per game in Juniors be drafted, let alone in the third round.

Even though the players drafted immediately after Klotz became nothing more than AHL/ECHL talent (Spencer Machacek, Jake Hansen and Maxime Tanguay), the following players were available:

* Evgeny Dadonov
* Drayson Bowman
* Yannick Weber
* Alec Martinez
* Linus Omark
* Jamie Benn

Sure, the Flyers seem to have learned their lesson: They waited until the seventh round in 2011 to draft Derek Mathers over Tomas Hyka and Ondrej Palat (39 goals in 61 Q games year before, currently at a point per game for Syracuse in the AHL this year). Progress.

Which Paul Holmgren deal was worse?

  • 2008 1st round pick (Jon Carlson) to Washington Capitals for Steve Eminger and 2008 3rd round pick (75%, 63 Votes)
  • Drafting Garrett Klotz (25%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 84

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  • Geoffrey Detweiler

    The “worst” here is difficult, but I went with the Klotz pick for one reason: The Flyers used their two first round picks to get a defender for now (Eminger), a defender for the future (Sbisa), and a 3rd round pick. That’s solid asset management, even if the player evaluations (Eminger; Sbisa over Carlson; De Serres) were poor.

    • http://www.flyersfaithful.com/ Kevin Christmann

      Fair point. I went with the Eminger trade. If you look at it in the context you laid out, it makes more sense. If you look at it from an asset management perspective for that pick and only that pick, it wasn’t good value. I can’t recall anyone thinking Eminger had done anything to warrant that type of return.

      • Geoffrey Detweiler

        Yeah, the talent evaluation of Eminger was ridiculously poor. Although, that summer saw Mark Eaton sign a 2-year, $4 million deal; Jeff Finger a 4-year, $14 million deal; Mike Commodore sign a 5-year,$18.75 million deal; Ron Hainsey sign a 5-year, $22.5 million deal, and on and on and on.
        So, while I can’t stand Steve Eminger and love John Carlson, I’m at least understanding of the thinking (2008 was also the summer Brian Campbell and Wade Redden got their widely panned UFA deals) that the market was likely to be insane.
        Although, that trade set off a chain reaction of terrible-ness: Eminger sucked, Briere got injured, so they had the need and the money to get Carle; But then Giroux proved worthy of an NHL job and Briere got healthy, so the money dried up. Which led to the waiving of Vaananen and Metropolit, which led to the further exposing of Randy Jones and Ryan Parent as full of suck. And then the Flyers dressed Jones, Parent and Andrew Alberts in the playoffs.
        So I think the conclusion is: Both moves were awful.

        • http://www.flyersfaithful.com/ Kevin Christmann

          hahaha Geoff you basically just spoiled my write-up for the Upshall trade.

          • http://twitter.com/GeoffDetweiler Geoff Detweiler

            haha, the chain reaction starts so much sooner!