Most Flyers fans can tell you the worst trades in the franchise’s history off the top of their heads. Patrick Sharp to Chicago, Bobrovsky to Columbus, the Lindros trade, but there are many deals that time has forgotten that are just as bad. This is the top 5 trades that look worse in hindsight.
Number 5- 2014 third round pick (Ilya Sorokin), 2015 second round pick (Brandon Carlo), Matt Mangene to NY Islanders for Andrew MacDonald
We all know Andrew MacDonald is bad at hockey. We all know trading for Andrew MacDonald was stupid. Little did you know the picks traded away to acquire him have developed into top prospects. The Flyers acquired MacDonald at the 2014 NHL trade deadline to help a playoff push. He was immediately signed to a six-year $50 million contract extension, a deal which has hamstringed to Flyers to this day. To make it worse, the two picks they traded for him turned into budding star defenseman Brandon Carlo and top young goalie Ilya Sorokin.
Number 4- Dennis Seidenberg, 2006 fourth round pick (Tomas Marcinko) to Phoenix for Petr Nedved, 2006 fourth round pick (Joonas Lehtivuori)
Here is your typical cookie cutter Flyers trade, giving up on a young player for a veteran at the end of his career. Nedved, a former second-overall pick in 1990, was on the decline for a few seasons before being acquired by the Flyers on January 20, 2006. Seidenberg was sixth round pick by the Flyers in 2001 and bounced between the AHL and NHL for the years leading up to the trade. Nedved played 49 games as a Flyer over the following season-and-a-half recording 21 points while Seidenberg went on to play in over 800 NHL games and won a Cup with the Bruins in 2011.
Number 3- Rick Kozak, 2005 second round pick (Ondrej Pavelec) to New York Rangers for Vladimir Malakhov
The Flyers were gearing up for a playoff run at the 2004 trade deadline, so they acquired veteran defenseman Vladimir Malakhov in exchange for prospect Rick Kozak and a 2005 second round pick. Malakhov played six regular season games and 17 playoff games for the Flyers before leaving. While Kozak never played in the NHL, the Rangers traded that second round pick to Atlanta to move up in the draft. Then the Thrashers drafted goaltender Ondrej Pavelec 41st overall in 2005. Pavelec went on to be a starting goalie for the Thrashers/Jets organization from 2009 to 2015. If they never traded that pick and drafted Pavelec, the Flyers may have never signed Bryzgalov, and imagine how the last decade of Flyers hockey would’ve changed.
Number 2- 2004 sixth round pick (Ladisalv Scurko) to San Jose for 2003 seventh round pick (Joe Pavelski)
Oops. A forgotten swapping of late round picks at the 2003 NHL draft really didn’t turn out well for the Flyers. On March 15, 2002 the Flyers dealt AHLer Francis Lessard to the Atlanta Thrashers for David Harlock, a 2003 third (Tyler Redenbach) and the 2003 seventh. The Flyers would later trade that seventh round pick to San Jose who would draft Joe Pavelski 205th overall. He ended up becoming one of the best players in the league, racking up 758 points through almost 1,000 NHL games. Leave it to the Flyers to have such bad luck to unknowingly pass up on a superstar.
Number 1- James Van Riemsdyk to Toronto for Luke Schenn
Even though this trade never looked good for the Flyers, there were at least straws to grasp at first that could’ve made the trade salvageable. At face value, this trade was swapping two early first round picks. In depth, this was a budding star in Van Riemsdyk for a defenseman that wasn’t living up to his early hype in Schenn. Van Riemsdyk would go on to have two 30-goals seasons as a Leaf while Schenn would sputter as a shotblocking defenseman for the Flyers. Schenn was eventually traded to the Kings and JVR was brought back in free agency during the summer of 2018.
Dmitri Yushkevich, 1996 second round pick (Francis Larivee to Toronto for 1996 first round pick (Dainius Zubrus), 1997 second round pick (Jean-Marc Pelletier) and 1996 fourth round pick (Mikeal Simmons)
Another case of the Flyers giving up on a player too soon. Yushkevich blossomed into a top defenseman upon his arrival in Toronto. The biggest return for the Flyers in that trade was Dainius Zubrus, who had a slow start in Philadelphia and was later dumped on Montreal, where he himself would turn his career around and play over 1,000 games. Yushkevich would later return to Philadelphia at the 2003 trade deadline for 18 games before again being traded away, this time to Florida.
1996 first round pick (Daniel Briere), 1996 fourth round pick (Mike Martone) and Martin Spanhel to San Jose for Pat Falloon
Widely considered one of the biggest draft busts in NHL history, that didn’t stop the Flyers from acquiring Pat Falloon early in the 1995-96 season. Martone never played an NHL game, and Spanhel played all of 10 games, but that first round pick was later traded to Phoenix, who would select Danny Briere 24th overall. Briere would go on to have solid runs in Phoenix and Buffalo before signing with the Flyers in 2007. Falloon would last all of 144 games in Philadelphia before he was traded to Ottawa for another notorious draft bust Alexandre Daigle.
Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus for a 2012 second round pick (Antony Stolarz), 2012 fourth round pick (Taylor Leier), 2013 fourth round pick (Justin Auger)
While many Flyers have like to look at Bobrovsky’s time in Philadelphia with rose-colored glasses, he was not the multiple-time Vezina winner during his Flyers stint. He still had plenty of potential, but was forced to play second fiddle behind Ilya Bryzgalov and his massive contract. Leier is an AHL caliber forward who was traded to the Sabres organization, and Stolarz was a tweener in his own right and was traded to the Oilers for Cam Talbot. Bobrovsky has won two Vezina Trophies since the trade, and finally helped the Blue Jackets win their first playoff series along the way.
By: Daniel Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: lighthousehockey.com