Homer’s Do’s and Doh’s: Biron trade v. Timonen/Hartnell trade and Briere signing v. Upshall trade

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?

Yesterday’s Results:
The trade for Braydon Coburn beat out the trading of Peter Forsberg, and the trade for Steve Eminger defeated the drafting of Garrett Klotz.

Today’s contestants:

2007 2nd round pick to Buffalo Sabres for Martin Biron
write-up courtesy of Marcello De Feo

During the toughest year in the history of the franchise, Paul Holmgren offered up a fair price for the affable Biron, who was perpetually stuck in limbo behind rockstar starters. Biron helped the team finished the season on a (relatively) positive note, assisted in the process of luring playoff stud, Danny Briere, and always brightened the mood wherever he went. Biron was quite possibly the most underrated bang-for-the-buck goalie in the Flyers history.

Side note: the Buffalo Sabres drafted Moorestown, NJ’s own T.J. Brennan with the pick acquired from Philadelphia in this trade.

2007 1st round pick back to Nashville Predators for Kimmo Timonen’s and Scott Hartnell’s signing rights
write-up courtesy of Bob H

Under any other circumstances, dealing away a valuable first-round draft pick for anything other than a sure-fire name player at any position who will step in and provide an immediate boost would be a gamble most GMs wouldn’t make, the climate around the Flyers in the Winter of 2007 dictated that desperate moves be made. Coming off a season in which the club finished dead last in the NHL, Philly decided to reach out once more to a familiar trade partner in the Preds (who had been generous enough to take Peter Forsberg off our hands in late February), who gladly obliged thanks to the vagaries of keeping multiple talented players on one roster in the salary-cap era. The return has been 10-fold from its potential: only 10 combined seasons of consistent play from rock-steady Timonen and a cycle of ebb and flow from folk hero Hartnell, who have combined for 156 goals and 469 points over 804 regular-season games. Solid players and solid human beings, both guys will be remembered as true Flyers once they leave this city and this league for good.

Which Paul Holmgren deal was better?

  • 2007 1st round pick back to Nashville Predators for Kimmo Timonen's and Scott Hartnell's signing rights (95%, 37 Votes)
  • 2007 2nd round pick to Buffalo Sabres for Martin Biron (5%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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Danny Briere signing
write-up courtesy of Kevin A

When the Flyers emerged from a dismal 2006-2007 campaign in which it became clear that the roster needed to be dramatically re-tooled, Holmgren made a big splash in landing Danny Briere, one of the big three free agents available that year with Scott Gomez and Chris Drury also bidding for massive contracts.

Afterwards, some argued that Holmgren possessed incredible foresight in pursuing Briere rather than Drury or Gomez and locking him up, as Briere has performed well in the playoffs ever since. However, Briere was the obvious choice for the Flyers, and Holmgren got his man – as he often does – by outbidding the market, perhaps too heavily. Briere’s regular season production has been on a fairly consistent downhill trend ever since his arrival, and he has never come close to the production he enjoyed in Buffalo immediately after the lockout. While his playoff potency still makes him valuable to the Flyers, it’s only a matter of time before his cap hit and lack of regular season production catch up to him. And there is still plenty of time left on his deal, which will not expire for two more years.

Everyone loves what Briere can do in the playoffs, but in terms of pure value, the Danny Briere signing perfectly demonstrates Holmgren’s trademark impatience when it comes to getting his guy at any cost – which in this case, may well prove too high.

Scottie Upshall and 2011 2nd round pick to Phoenix Coyotes for Daniel Carcillo
write-up courtesy of Kevin Christmann

On March 4, 2009 the Flyers traded Scottie Upshall and a 2nd round pick to the Phoenix Coyotes for Dan Carcillo. The trade was, quite frankly, a move for cap space. It was the culmination of a complete lack of foresight with regards to the salary cap, and it should have never gotten to the point where it was necessary.

Early in 2008-2009, the Flyers had a rash of injuries to their defenseman. With several players on LTIR (I touch on this in my CBA 101 on LTIR) they went ahead and acquired Andrew Alberts and Matt Carle in separate deals. When the players on LTIR returned, it led to a string of maneuvers to stay cap compliant.

They waived Ossi Vaananen and Glen Metropolit who were both claimed.

They had to repeatedly send Claude Giroux back to the AHL, even though he clearly belonged in the NHL at this point. He was, I believe, the only waiver exempt player that made enough money to allow them to recall defenseman on the several occasions they needed another D.

Ultimately, they made the Upshall trade because they needed the ~$300k in cap space so desperately that they not only gave up the superior player, but had to throw in the 2nd round pick as well.

If that wasn’t bad enough, later still, the Flyers were signing guys off the street (David Sloane and Jamie Fritsch) to ATO’s because they still did not have the cap space to recall players.

The Scottie Upshall trade epitomizes Paul Holmgren’s “make one move, then two others to fix it” mentality that, in my opinion, he only corrected in the past two or so years.

On a more personal note, how can you not dislike this trade when you see this video of an emotional Scottie Upshall talking about the fans shortly after he was traded?


Which Paul Holmgren deal was worse?

  • Scottie Upshall and 2011 2nd round pick to Phoenix Coyotes for Daniel Carcillo (89%, 32 Votes)
  • Danny Briere signing (11%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 36

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