When talking about the best trades in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers, you probably think about Mike Richards, Brayden Schenn, Eric Desjardins and John LeClair, or Bernie Parent. But what about trades that may have flow under the radar or seemed inconsequential at the time but actually shaped the Philadelphia Flyers?
Number 5- Ron Hextall and a 1995 6th round pick (Dimitri Tertyshyn) for Tommy Soderstrom
Ron Hextall was originally traded away from the Flyers in 1992 as part of the Eric Lindros trade. Two years later, after an abysmal season with the New York Islanders, Hextall would return to the Flyers organization on September 22, 1994 in another trade with the Islanders in exchange for Tommy Soderstrom. Soderstrom was a young goaltender the Flyers chose in the 1990 draft and was off to a rocky start to his career in Philadelphia. Hextall’s return marked the best season of his career to that point while helping the Flyers return to the playoffs for the first time in six years. His second season back, he once again set new career highs with a 2.17 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.
Number 4- Sami Kapanen and Ryan Bast for Pavel Brendl and Bruno St. Jacques
After a strong early career in Carolina, Sami Kapanen slumped during the 2002 playoffs, and struggled early in the 2002-03 season. On February 7, 2003 Kapanen was dealt to the Flyers in exchange for rookie forward Pavel Brendl and defenseman prospect Bruno St. Jacques. While Sami Kapanen wouldn’t replicate his sixty-point seasons he enjoyed with the Hurricanes, he became a heavily relied upon bottom-six skater with a solid two-way game and wicked speed. He played for the Flyers until the end of the 2007-08 season, suiting up for 311 games and scoring 110 points.
Number 3- 1990 3rd round pick (Chris Therien) for Wendell Young and a 1990 7th round pick (Mika Vilila)
The Flyers acquired sophomore goaltender Wendell Young from the Canucks in the summer of 1987 and, after failing to hang in the NHL, was dealt to the Penguins before the start of the 1988-89 season. The Flyers received a third round pick in the 1990 NHL draft and used that to select defenseman Chris Therien. Therien would go on to play 11 seasons in Philadelphia over two separate tenures, where he formed a lethal duo with Eric Desjardins. He suited up for 753 games for the Flyers, which is the most by a defenseman, and good enough for fifth all-time in Flyers history. Not bad for a seemingly random, nothing happening trade.
Number 2- Mark Recchi for Dainius Zubrus, a 1999 2nd round pick (Matt Carkner), and a 2000 6th round pick (Scott Selig)
The Flyers drafted Dainius Zubrus in the first round of the 1996 draft and he played two-and-a-half seasons in Philly with limited results. The Flyers wanted some fire power heading into the 1999 playoffs, and a reunion with Mark Recchi was in the cards. On March 10, 1999, almost exactly four years after the Flyers traded him away, they re-acquired him from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Zubrus, a second round pick, and a sixth round pick. Selig never played an NHL game and Carkner was a long-time AHL enforcer. Zubrus ended up having a career that spanned 1,293 games. Recchi hopped back into the Flyers lineup and posted five straight 20+ goal seasons and was a big piece of the flyers 2000 playoff run.
Number 1- 2003 1st (Jeff Carter), 2002 2nd (traded for Joni Pitkanen) for Daymond Langkow
Daymond Langkow was originally considered a throw-in as part of a deal where the Flyers re-acquired Mikael Renberg from the Lightning. He found his footing in Philly and became a solid middle-six center over the following three seasons. On July 1, 2001 Langkow was dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes for a 2002 second round pick and a 2003 first round pick. That second round pick was later traded to Tampa in part of a deal the brought a 2002 first round pick to the Flyers. Ultimately, the Flyers drafted Joni Pitkanen in 2002 and Jeff Carter in 2003. Pitkanen played three seasons in Philadelphia before becoming a trade chip in the deal the brought Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul to Philly. Carter, meanwhile, became a prolific goalscorer for the Flyers and was a key piece in the Flyers 2010 Cup run.
Matt Carle and a 2009 3rd (Simon Bertilsson) for Steve Eminger, Steve Downie and a 2009 4th (Alex Hutchings)
In the summer of 2008, the Flyers made a disastrous trade for defenseman Steve Eminger. Less than five months after the original trade, on November 11, 2008, the Flyers dealt Eminger after just 12 games to the Lightning along with Steve Downie and a fourth round pick in exchange for defenseman Matt Carle. Finding success paired with Braydon Coburn and later Chris Pronger, Carle provided a solid presence on the blueline that Eminger couldn’t. It didn’t erase the awful trade, but it did help alleviate the miss on John Carlson.
2015 3rd round pick (Felix Sandstrom) for Tye McGinn
When most people think of Ron Hextall trading a goon for a third round pick, they probably think of Zac Rinaldo for a third that became Kirill Ustimenko, but there was another, very similar trade a year before. On July 2, 2014 the Flyers dealt Tye McGinn to the San Jose Sharks for a 2015 third round pick. A year later, they would draft goalie prospect Felix Sandstrom with that pick.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: bleacherreport.com