Homer Do’s and Doh’s: Coburn Trade v. Timonen/Hartnell Trade and Eminger Trade 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 Read signing ravaged the Jagr signing and the Bryzgalov trade and sign battered the Lilja signing.

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.

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 (64%, 32 Votes)
  • Alexi Zhitnik to Atlanta Thrashers for Braydon Coburn (36%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 50

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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.

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 Homgren deal was worse?

  • Scottie Upshall and 2011 2nd round pick to Phoenix Coyotes for Daniel Carcillo (63%, 30 Votes)
  • 2008 1st round pick (Jon Carlson) to Washington Capitals for Steve Eminger and 2008 3rd round pick (37%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 48

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  • Geoffrey Detweiler

    People sure do love trading for unrestricted free agents.

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

      I’m trying to recall, has there been a pending UFA rights trade for nearly that much compensation since then?

      • Geoffrey Detweiler

        I don’t know if there has been two pending UFAs traded at the same time, so I wish I could help you but can’t.

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

          Yea I don’t think so either. I vaguely recall getting into disagreements with people who would speculate so and so’s rights could fetch a 1st. They’d point to this deal, but I’d retort that this included two of the top UFAs, not just one.

    • penaltykiller

      Yeah, I fail to see the brilliance in giving up a 1st round pick for two players they could have signed in free agency.