Better With Popcorn

Trade Deadline Creates Frenzy in Philadelphia


The trade winds are blowing all over the NHL and its pipelines. Twitter is ablaze with rumors, Facebook is full of propositions, and everyone is on pins and needles.

It’s what makes the NHL trade deadline among the most frantic and fun days of the sports year. Every team has problems and every follower of the team knows exactly what the cure will be for their woes.

When the trade finally goes down, many will ooh and aah over the new shiny toy in the home sweater.

In Philadelphia, it’s a little bit different.

The beast that is the media climate of the City of Brotherly Love seems to remain at a fever pitch. If it’s not about what right-handed bat the Phillies should acquire, it’s about what the Eagles should do with their disgruntled wide receiver.

It goes on and on and it never stops.

When the NHL trade deadline grows near, all eyes and ears turn toward the Flyers. What will the team who desperately wants a Stanley Cup do?

For those familiar with General Manager Paul Holmgren, it’s clear that he’ll probably do something. Homer loves shakeups, tweaks, and upgrades.

Homer’s propensity to make moves isn’t the issue at hand. Instead, it’s the never-ending fear that the team will end up shipping away a future star for what ends up being a bag of pucks.

Or a team cancer. Or an aging superstar. Or someone who won’t re-sign given the opportunity.

The biggest issue always seems to be what fans view as overpayment or fair market value. It’s tough to gauge because the market is fluid, it depends on the other movers and shakers.

If player X goes out the door to another team for package Y, it doesn’t mean player B will leave for package A.

Every situation is unique and every trade proposal is one that is handled differently.

The idea of Ryan Suter being moved was planted long ago in the minds of hockey fans around the globe.

As an idea, it’s not unjust. Suter hasn’t re-signed in Nashville and for all intents and purposes, hasn’t made contract talks sound promising. The Predators need scoring and the Flyers always have forwards. It seems like a fit.

Except one small, tad of a measly little detail; Suter will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.There’s absolutely nothing to suggest the team will be able to re-sign him.

If they sent away James van Riemsdyk and other young players or early draft picks for Suter, they would get nothing.

That won’t happen.

But, the seed was planted long ago and the seed keeps growing. At this point, it has become a determination that in order to get a defenseman at the deadline, the Flyers would have to overpay.

To overpay would be to lose the deal. To lose the deal would be to hurt the franchise. To hurt the franchise would put them further and further from the parade down Broad Street.

The market continues to change, and overpayment is a risk. When Holmgren signed Ilya Bryzgalov; that was a risk. When he traded Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, that too was a risk.

He’s hit home runs and he’s struck out. Homer continues to walk the tightrope near the salary cap ceiling, wobbling to one side and always leaning towards the side that is all about winning and winning now.

it's all about the Cup and it's being hell-bent on hoisting it. That’s how the Flyers operate as an organization and always will.

To a man, sources around the NHL praise Holmgren for trying to find ways to make it work. He tries to get every ounce of talent on the active roster by taking big risks and facing the big failures or rewards in the eye.

It doesn’t always work, but that’s his job as GM of the Philadelphia Flyers.

When it comes time to lay down the cards on a trade deadline deal, he’ll either overpay, underpay, or pay just the right amount in the fan base’s eyes.  

No matter what he does, he’ll do it because the franchise wants to win.

Because that’s what the Flyers are about. No one can ever point the finger at the front office and say they didn’t want to win.

So the die-hard fans wait. They wait to see if Holmgren does something brilliant or stupid. They want him to stand pat on the team they have or they want him to bring in a star.

Either way, the Flyers will keep their options open when the deadline rolls around. It won’t seem pragmatic to the fans, but they’ll make a move and it will be thought out. The market will dictate the price the team pays.

It may be high or low, but it will be paid.

If Flyers fans are stuck in anxiety about the price, then maybe they’re rooting for the wrong franchise.



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Adam Pardes's picture

Great work, Tribs. Spot on.

Taylor Giffin's picture

Does the recent news that Pavel Kubina has been asked to name his short list of teams that he would be willing to go to, open up a chance that he would be a fit to fill the gap on defence left by Pronger. I know he can not be compared to what Pronger brings to the team but he may be a good option. What do you think, is this a possible route for the Flyers knowing they are in need for a defenceman?

Mark Trible's picture

I think the Flyers will gauge the price on Kubina for sure. Gill, Grossman, Zdlicky possibly also.

George Prax's picture

Take Gill. Do it.

Mark Trible's picture

could happen dude. mark it zero

George Prax's picture

Grossman? My friend, you're entering a world of pain.