Homer’s Do’s and Doh’s: Giroux Extension v. Carter Trade and Gagne Trade v. Bryzgalov Trade and Sign

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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Yesterday’s Results:
The trade for Kimmo and Hartys’s rights defeated the Briere signing, and the Upshall trade eliminated Leighton extension.

Today’s contestants:

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.

Jeff Carter to Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, 2011 first-round pick (Sean Couturier), and 2011 thrd-round pick (Nick Cousins)

write-up courtesy of Marc Siciliano

Jeff Carter is a pretty good hockey player, but it just wasn’t working for him in Philadelphia. That came to a head when both he and Mike Richards were traded on June 23, 2011. The thing is, you won’t find many people questioning the trade of #17 like you will the trade of #18, a sentiment seemingly felt even before the emergence of Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins.

Paul Holmgren fleeced the Blue Jackets. You can argue that Jakub Voracek and the 3rd that was Nick Cousins might even have been enough to make this trade a win, but the icing on the cake is the 8th overall pick that turned into Sean Couturier. At just 19 years of age, he could prove to be the best player in a trade that happened before he even entered the league.

Filed under the laughable category: also there to potentially draft was blue chip defensive prospect Dougie Hamilton, a prospect the Flyers apparently considered. With his projected future as a franchise defensemen, you have to think he’ll give Jack Johnson a run for his money as the better long-term defensemen – a thought that can’t help Blue Jackets fans sleep at night. But at least you have the All-Star game coming up? Never mind, that just got cancelled. Sorry Jackets fans!

Which Paul Holmgren deal was better?

  • Jeff Carter to Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, 2011 1st round pick (Sean Couturier), and 2011 3rd round pick (Nick Cousins) (70%, 52 Votes)
  • Claude Giroux extension (30%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 74

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Simon Gagne to Tampa Bay Lightning for Matt Walker and 2011 fourth-round pick
write-up courtesy of Kevin Christmann

In July of 2010, the Flyers traded Simon Gagne for Matt Walker and a 4th round pick in the following year’s draft (2011). For kicks, I decided to look back at something I wrote when the trade happened.

From July 2010:

We seriously couldn’t even execute a salary dump properly? So rather than having 5.25 in extremely valuable cap space expiring after this year OR available immediately (if it was dumped appropriately), we have 1.7 million tied up in a 7th D-man for the next 3 years….when we already had a 7th D-man.

We literally got worse than nothing because we took back a bad contract.

I can’t say I feel any differently now than I did at the time.

In the salary cap world, especially when you mismanage the cap a fair amount, sometimes you will have to make decisions strictly because of the need for cap space. I had completely accepted the need for the Flyers to shed cap space so they could fix the defense. It’s a simple concept really; re-allocate assets from your strength (offense) to your weakness (defense). I had even accepted that Gagne was probably going to be the one to go. He had one year remaining on his contract, was older than the other options, and had some legitimate injury concerns.

However, as my quote from that summer indicated, Paul Holmgren couldn’t even execute that salary dump properly. It would have been better if he literally gave him away for nothing, because in that case, the Flyers would have seen the full cap relief of Gagne’s $5.25 million.  Homer ended up getting worse than nothing. He took back an albatross of a contract; a 7th defenseman who was making $1.7 million for the next three years. He managed to turn a sizable expiring contract, into useless waste for an extra two seasons.

The purpose of a salary dump, after all, is to…dump…salary. Not take back a worse contract, even if it is less. This wasn’t the bad contract for bad contract trade that you occasionally see in the NHL. This was a one-way bad contract trade. A bad contract that still haunts the Flyers, as Walker still has another year remaining on his contract, and will spend that year in the AHL yet again.

I leave you with these gems from Paul Holmgren about Matt Walker, and the simple statement that I miss the Simon Gagne we all loved in Orange and Black.

He’s another defenseman that can really help us over the long hall.

He’s a good compliment to the guys we have, and can move the puck, and carry the puck, and provide offense.

Matt Walker, he of the career high 14 points, and a 5 pt season in the year before the trade.

Ilya Bryzgalov trade-and-sign
write-up courtesy of Estebomb

The Flyers have had goaltending problems for almost as long as I’ve been alive. It seems like the club’s eternal fate to suffer through subpar goaltending. After shuffling around 3 (!) goalies in the 2011 playoffs, Ed Snider had seen his fill. He had Paul Holmgren acquire the most highly touted goalie on the market, Ilya Bryzgalov. Naturally, in the grand Flyers tradition, Bryzgalov has been a mixed bag at best. He benefited from a terrific defense in Phoenix with the added benefit of little to no media scrutiny. The system and pressure have been completely different in Philadelphia. This isn’t even considering his monster contract, a 9 year, $51 million (a lovely $5.667 million per season cap hit) albatross. Bryz’s contact is a common suggestion for a possible amnesty and one that certainly cripples the team’s ability to sign future free agents. This isn’t even considering that Bryz is nicely described as “unstable”. Why you heff to be mad? Because Ilya Bryzgalov’s contract is awful.

Which Paul Holmgren deal was worse?

  • Simon Gagne to Tampa Bay Lightning for Matt Walker and 2011 4th round pick (59%, 43 Votes)
  • Ilya Bryzgalov trade and sign (41%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 73

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