Philadelphia Flyers Trade History with the Columbus Blue Jackets

Despite their geographic proximity, the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets weren’t even in the same conference for most of their time in the league. It wasn’t until 2013, over a decade after the Blue Jackets entered, when the NHL realigned the divisions to accommodate the Winnipeg Jets’ relocation from Atlanta when the Blue Jackets and Flyers all of a sudden became division rivals. While the new found rivalry has halted most movement between the clubs, but the trade route was wide open for many years featuring some high profile deals along the way.

(to PHI to CBJ)

6/23/02 – 2003 fifth round pick (David Tremblay) for 2002 sixth round pick (Jaroslav Balastik) and 2002 seventh round pick (Steven Goertzen)

The first trade between the two teams came during day two of the 2002 NHL entry draft. The Blue Jackets dealt a fifth round pick in 2003 to the Flyers for a pair of 2002 picks, one in the sixth round and the other in the seventh.

The Blue Jackets moved up to select forward Jaroslav Balastik, who would play 74 games in Columbus from 2005 to 2007. They also drafted forward Steven Goertzen, who played 46 games for the Jackets where he had zero points. He bounced around the AHL and NHL until 2010, when he finished his career in Europe.

The Flyers drafted goalie David Tremblay, who never played beyond his junior career with the Gatineau Olympiques, which ended in 2006.

6/20/08 – 2008 first round pick (Luca Sbisa) and 2008 third round pick (M.A. Bourdon) for RJ Umberger and 2008 fourth round pick (Drew Olson)

In the summer of 2008 RJ Umberger was set to become a restricted free agent. The Flyers didn’t intent on re-signing him, so they packaged his rights with a fourth round pick to acquire a 2008 first round pick (they had dealt their own away in the famously bad Steve Eminger trade) and a third round pick.

The Flyers selected defensemen Luca Sbisa and Marc-Andre Bourdon with their acquired draft choices.

Luca Sbisa made the Flyers’ roster to start the 2008-09 season, but after only recording seven assists in 39 games he was sent back to his junior team the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He did return for one playoff game in 2009 when he replaces forward Daniel Carcillo, who was suspended at the time. In June of 2009 he was traded to the Ducks in the massive deal to acquire Chris Pronger.

Bourdon was in the Flyers’ system from 2009 to 2014, though only saw 45 games of NHL action, spending a bulk of the time with the Adirondack Phantoms. Concussion issues that persisted for almost two years forced his retirement at the end of the 2013-14 campaign.

The Blue Jackets drafted defenseman 118th overall out of Minnesota Duluth. He only played one season for Columbus’ AHL squad before leaving for Europe.

8/20/09 – Stefan Legein for Michael Ratchuk

Stefan Legein was a former 37th overall pick by Columbus in 2007, who retired from hockey after his junior career ended in the summer of 2008. He made a comeback with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL less than a year later, though failed to make any real impression with the club. He was traded to the Flyers in the summer of 2009 and played a season and a half with the Adirondack Phantoms before once again being dealt, this time to the LA Kings organization.

Ratchuk never made the NHL, spending the rest of his career bouncing between the AHL and ECHL.

2/28/11 – Tom Sestito for Michael Chaput and Greg Moore

Known as the “boxing hobo on skates,” Tom Sestito was one of the last true enforcers in the NHL. He was named the “worst person in the sports world” by ESPN, so naturally he had to join the Broad Street Bullies. Sestito spent a bulk of his time with the Flyers organization in the AHL, but did dress for 21 NHL games racking up a whopping 95 penalty minutes. The Vancouver Canucks claimed him off waivers in March of 2013.

Michael Chaput, who was the Flyers’ 89th overall pick in 2010, has spent his career bouncing back and forth between the AHL and NHL, suiting up for 58 games with the Blue Jackets with two goals and eight points. Greg Moore spent the 2009-10 season with the Blue Jackets organization, and was signed by the Flyers as a free agent in 2010. He was dealt back to the Blue Jackets in this deal less than a year after signing, though never played another NHL game in Columbus. He played 18 more games in the AHL before heading to Europe to finish his career.

6/23/11 – Jake Voracek, 2011 first round pick (Sean Couturier) and 2011 third round pick (Nick Cousins) for Jeff Carter

June 23, 2011 is a day that will live in Flyers’ infamy. It’s the day the organzation dealt away superstar forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards to make room for goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. While Richards got sent to the LA Kings, Carter ended up with the Blue Jackets.

The Flyers landed 22-year-old former seventh overall pick Jake Voracek, a 2011 first round pick they would use to select Sean Couturier eighth overall in 2011, and a 2011 third round pick they used on forward Nick Cousins.

Voracek and Couturier became staples in the Flyers’ lineup for the next decade. Voracek finished his career in Philly in 2021 and sits top ten in franchise history in games played, assists and points. Couturier just signed an eight-year extension, assuring he will join Voracek in the history books soon enough.

Jeff Carter was unhappy with the trade and originally refused to report to his new team. Rick Nash had to personally convince him to join the Blue Jackets. Although he did eventually end the stalemate, he was reportedly an issue off the ice with his attitude. Eight months and only 39 games after he was acquired, he was dealt away from Columbus, this time to the LA Kings in exchange for Jack Johnson and a first round pick.

6/22/12 – 2012 second round pick (Anthony Stolarz), 2012 fourth round pick (Taylor Leier) and 2013 fourth round pick (Justin Auger)(traded to LA) for Sergei Bobrovsky

Sergei Bobrovsky’s first two NHL season with the Flyers were fairly average. He had flashes of potential, but also had moments that led to the organization questioning what they had in the 24-year-old netminder. With Ilya Bryzgalov locked up longterm and some unhappiness brewing from Bobrovsky, he was deemed expandable and dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets during the summer of 2012 for a second round pick and a pair of fourth round choices.

Bobrovsky immediately became a star for Columbus, posting 21 wins in 37 games along with a 2.00 goals against average and .932 save percentage. He won the Vezina for the league’s best goaltender and finished fifth in Hart Trophy voting as well.

The Flyers kept Bryzgalov, whose play continued to spiral and was bought out a year later. They drafted goalie Anthony Stolarz in the second round of 2012 and was considered the Flyers’ top goalie prospect before he was dealt away at the 2019 trade deadline. The 2012 fourth round pick became Taylor Leier, who played 55 games for the Flyers from 2015 to 2018. He was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in January of 2019.

The fourth rounder in 2013 was traded to the LA Kings when the Flyers brought back Simon Gagne for 27 games to finish out the 2012-13 season. He scored five goals and 11 points, ultimately his last games in orange and black as he retired in 2015 after a brief comeback attempt with the Boston Bruins.

3/12/13 – futures for Matt Ford

13 months after being acquired from the Washington Capitals, Matt Ford was once again on the move, this time from the Flyers organization, where he spent all his time in the AHL, to the Blue Jackets AHL squad the Springfield Falcons. He did not re-sign with the club during the offseason.

4/3/13 – Steve Mason for Michael Leighton and 2015 third round pick (Martins Dzierkals)

The rise and fall of Steve Mason in Columbus was quite the tale through the early 2010’s. He secured the Calder Trophy for the league’s top rookie in 2008-09 after posting a 2.29 goals against and .916 save percentage along with 33 wins. His stellar play pushed the Blue Jackets to their first ever playoff appearance in 2009. His play over the next four seasons slowly but surely dwindled and the Jackets returned to the bottom of the standings in the Western Conference. It wasn’t until Columbus acquired Sergei Bobrovsky for the 2012-13 campaign that the team finally had someone to actually challenge and overtake Mason.

He was dealt to the Flyers for backup Michael Leighton, who had only played two games with the Flyers over the last two seasons since his Stanley Cup Final appearance, and a 2015 third round pick, whom the Blue Jackets would trade to Toronto as they moved up in the draft to select Gabriel Carlsson.

Leighton never played a game with the Blue Jackets. Mason would go on to have a career renaissance with the Flyers, posting the two best seasons in his career in 2013-14, and would top himself in 2014-15. Unfortunately the Flyers weren’t able to capitalize on his talents and he ultimately wasn’t re-signed at the end of the 2017 season due to some off-ice heat with his teammates and Ron Hextall.

6/23/14 – RJ Umberger and 2015 fourth round pick (Austin Wagner)(traded to LA) for Scott Hartnell

One of the first moves Ron Hextall made when he took over as general manager of the Flyers was trading forward Scott Hartnell and the remaining five years of his $28.5 million contract to the Blue Jackets for RJ Umberger and a draft pick. Umberger, who was on an equally albatross deal, had three years left at a $4.6 million cap hit. He played 106 games upon his return to the Flyers posting a measly 11 goals and 26 points. He was bought our from the last year of his deal during the summer of 2016.

Hartnell had a much better go in Columbus, posting 64 goals and 146 points in 234 games over three seasons before also being bought out of the last two years of his contract.

The Flyers traded that 2015 fourth rounder to the Kings as part of LA’s effort to move up six spots from 104 to 99 to select Austin Wagner. The Flyers also got a 2016 sixth round pick in the deal.

The Flyers drafted Mikhail Vorobyev 104th overall and Anthony Salinitri 172nd overall in 2016.

7/24/21 – Cam Atkinson for Jake Voracek

Ten years and one month after the Flyers acquired Jake Voracek from Columbus, they returned the Czech native to the team that drafted him, now 31 years old. The Flyers got 32-year-old and nine-year NHL veteran forward Cam Atkinson in return. The move was done for a multitude of reasons, mainly cap related and Voracek’s ongoing feud with then-head coach Alain Vigneault.

Voracek had three years left at a $8.25 million cap hit, while Atkinson had four years left at $5.8 million. The move had to be made to accommodate other moves the Flyers made during the summer and remain cap compliant.

From an on-ice perspective, the deal worked out well for both teams. The Blue Jackets got a playmaker who could line up with sniper Patrik Laine. Voracek has racked up 50 assists on the season, his most since 2017-18 and only the third time he’s hit that plateau. Meanwhile, Atkinson has by far led the Flyers in both goals and and assists during his first season with the Flyers. It’s one of the best examples of a “hockey trade” in Flyers’ history.

More Flyers Trade History


By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s