Homer’s Do’s and Doh’s: Meszaros Trade v. Giroux Extension and Shelley Signing v. Zherdev Signing

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?

Friday’s results: The Leino trade was victorious over the move to get Pronger while the Gagne deal eliminated the Versteeg acquisition.

Today’s contestants:

2011 second-round pick to Tampa Bay Lightning for Andrej Meszaros
write-up courtesy of Dain S

Why do we like the Mez trade? Nikita Kucherov. That’s who Tampa drafted with the pick we sent them. He is currently playing in the QMJHL. Maybe he’ll blossom into a player one day, but Andrei Meszaros is a top 4 defenseman right now. That should be enough for you. If there is anything this team needs right now, it is a good defensemen, not another enigmatic Russian.

Claude Giroux extension
write-up courtesy of Kevin Christmann

I recently argued that the Claude Giroux extension was Paul Holmgren’s best move to date. Below is an excerpt from that article.

In November of 2010, Claude Giroux was in his third season in the NHL. He was coming off of a 47 point effort in 2009-2010, and a 21 point campaign in 23 playoff games. He also started the season strong with 14 points in 15 games. Quite simply, Giroux was starting to come into his own (he would ultimately have his breakout season and finish with 76 points in 82 games).

Even more important than the statistics is the fact that Giroux was in the last year of his entry-level contract (ELC), and was four seasons away from unrestricted free agency (UFA). Everybody was eager to get him locked up, the question was just going to be what it would cost.

With Richards already signed to his monster contract –and Jeff Carter’s coming five days after Giroux’s—the Flyers were, as usual, not exactly swimming in cap space. At this point in time, Richards and Carter were the franchise, and they had every intention of continuing to be (although we all know what happened eight months later).

So Paul Holmgren made what was his best move to date, and signed Giroux to an extremely reasonable three year contract at a $3.75 million cap hit. The cap hit was right in line with what was expected, and more importantly, the three years meant Giroux would still be under control at the end of that contract. At the time, it was the perfect contract.

Now, nearly two years later, some might argue they’d prefer Giroux was signed to a lifetime contract; but hindsight is 20/20. In the context in which that signing was made, it was as good as move as you could hope for, and one of the smartest, most well thought out moves Homer had made. It showed the forward thinking I always want out of a GM. Not to mention, that with the NHL’s latest CBA proposal, it’s probably best that the Flyers don’t have any more massive contracts; even if it is Giroux.

Which Paul Holmgren deal was better?

  • Claude Giroux extension (81%, 25 Votes)
  • 2011 second-round pick to Tampa Bay Lightning for Andrej Meszaros (19%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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Jody Shelley signing
write-up courtesy of Marc Siciliano

In the 09-10 season, Jody Shelley spent much of his last year with the Rangers just being Jody Shelley. Suddenly, with two games left to play – both against the Flyers – he decided to try and carry his team to the playoffs. The Result? Shelley scored his only two goals of the season (2 of the 4 goals the Rangers would muster in back to back losses), while accumulating just over 20% of his points and 1/6 of his shots.

The other result? A three-year, $3.3 contract from the team he performed so sporadically admirable against. The considerable raise for obvious unsustainable statistics was laughable enough – but coming from the cap strapped Flyers, their opponents – the Rangers included – must have been dancing in the streets.

Shelley has since gone on to alternate between healthy scratch and 4th liner with the Flyers, while making twice as much as his bottom-six peers. His locker room presence is apparently worth the cost to the team, but one wonders if the situation couldn’t have been avoided altogether if Jody Shelley had just been Jody Shelley for that fateful home and home in April of 2010.

Nikolay Zherdev signing
write-up courtesy of Bob H

What can we say about this fly-by-night talent who blew through the Delaware Valley over one forgettable season two years ago? That he’s a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, leaving Voorhees in a limousine? This thoroughly European-style forward was so inscrutable that nobody really has a grip on his true nationality. Whether it’s Russian, Ukrainian or Martian, nobody can come up with a concrete reason Zherdev could have ever fit in Philadelphia.

Signed as a free agent on a $2 million deal, this no-dimensional waste of valuable parchment and ink ended up with 16 goals and 22 points in only 56 games in 2010-11, adding one goal and two assists in eight playoff games, while fraying nerves and testing patience from the locker room to the front office. This was a player so unpopular, so unwanted, that he was placed on waivers intentionally, but passed through without so much as a nibble from any of the other 29 teams, which places him lower on the esteem index than everyone’s favorite handsy charity case, Billy Tibbetts, who apparently was wanted by at least two teams during his brief career.

Which Paul Homgren deal was worse?

  • Jody Shelley signing (75%, 24 Votes)
  • Nikolay Zherdev signing (25%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 32

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