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Flyers Future Negotiations Won't Be Hurt By Trades, According To Players

When the Philadelphia Flyers traded James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Luke Schenn this past Saturday, many started to question the ethics of the Flyers management.

For the second straight year (on the same exact day), the franchise decided to trade a player who was young, talented, acknowledged as a cornerstone building block of the future and was the recipient of a long-term contract extension that was seemingly to keep the player in Philadelphia for years to come.

Just as with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards before him, van Riemsdyk was rumored to be on the trading block only to have the claim be denied by the team’s general manager Paul Holmgren and then ultimately traded on June 23.

While extracurricular reasonings have acted as excuses for why the Flyers would move Carter and Richards, van Riemsdyk was shipped out of town for on-ice performance, which has been characterized as a betrayal of sorts.

This has caused some to question whether this move will hurt the Flyers perception with prospective free agents and star players in future negotiations.

Respected Yahoo! Hockey site Puck Daddy even raised this question early on Monday morning and summed up the popular concern quite succinctly:

But the trade came less than a week after Holmgren reportedly told van Riemsdyk's agent "not to worry" about a pending trade, and that can't look especially good to players. Let's not forget, Claude Giroux's contract is up in 2014, and Holmgren will likely be eager to extend him before that point, and shouldn't all this give Giroux more than a bit of pause?

The Flyers GM has proven willing to trade his captain, promising youngsters, former 40-goal scorers, regardless of prior commitments, all in pursuit of the success we're constantly promised the Flyers are capable of achieving without being shown much in the way of evidence that they are. If you're Claude Giroux, why do you even entertain the idea of signing a long-term deal with that team unless the first words out of Holmgren's mouth are "no-movement clause?"

The above passage is more or less the argument that has been made over the last few days in the fall out of the trade.

Will players want to play in Philadelphia after this ‘betrayal?’

In reaching out to a current player for his opinion on the situation, he believes that this move, as well as the two trades before it, should have little effect on future signings.

“I think most players understand it is a business first and there is no such thing as getting too comfortable,” the player said, opting for anonymity.

“Our job is based on performance and no matter what, fan favorite or long term contract, GM's are going to do whatever gives their teams the best opportunity to win. Philly or any other city I think that's just how is goes.”

Van Riemsdyk shared this sentiment when he had a chance to address the media via conference call on Saturday.

“Anything can always happen in this business,” he said. “You have to be prepared for anything. There’s never really that big of a surprise, I mean, you kinda hear the rumors going around and it makes you wonder a little bit. It’s not like I was completely blind-sided here.”

In the same breath, van Riemsdyk expressed that he had no hard feelings about the move.

"Homer is a great man,” he said in reference to the Flyers GM. “I have a lot of respect for him and what he does. I think the world of him. I don't have anything bad to say about him or anything like that."

As if that wasn't enough JvR's agent expressed the same feeling towards Holmgren.



Even though its a cliché, its what all of the guys involved are saying; its just business.

It would be one thing if it came out that Holmgren treated the players terribly and conducted his busniess practices unprofessionally or in an underhanded manner.

However, thats not what is being said; its understood that this is how things work.

Will this be the way all players think? Maybe not.

But from what people who play the game for a living are saying, it seems like these moves will have little consequence in terms of conducting future negotiations with current players or future free agents.



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John Russo's picture

Great read, Matt!