Judging Paul Holmgren’s Worst Flyers Moves, Part 1

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was written for The Broad Street Bully, a blog and podcast my friend Drew and I started based off of our mutual interest in the Philadelphia Flyers. See it on http://broadstreetbully.net.]

Broad Street Hockey are a group of good people.  I was trying to find things to write about when I came across one of their older posts: Paul Holmgren’s 10 worst moves as Flyers general manager.  You can go to their site via the link and read some well written reviews of each move and understand why they were ranked where they were.

Since it’s easier to just comment on all the hardwork someone else did, here’s what I think about Holmgren’s Not Top 10 in his time with the Flyers.

After the jump, we go from 10 to 6.

10. Waiving Andreas Nodl

I differ already with this.  Andreas Nodl was adequate.  And that’s polite.  The Flyers seem to fall in love with these guys who play third and fourth lines roles and get this trumped up value of them.  Letting Andrea No-goal go was a good decision for the Flyers.  Not getting anything for him?  Maybe not the best idea.  He was probably worth at least a pick, right?  And the Flyers could’ve made some great trade using draft picks.  Like they always did.

09. Signing Michael Leighton to an extension

So, Leighton just took them to the Stanley Cup finals.  He’s also not the direct reason the Flyers lost but he’s certainly a good scapegoat.  Holmgren rewarded Leighton with this deal.  I understand why he did it, though.  BSH makes the point that Holmgren didn’t even test the market but he never did when it came to signing free agents to the Flyers (see: Vincent Lecavalier).  And the only goalie that was eligible for free agency who was really worth anything was Antti Niemi.  And his value was higher than ever after just winning a Stanley Cup.

08. Signing Chris Pronger to a 7-year contract extension

Even though Pronger was over 35, this was a pretty solid contract.  Here’s why I think that.  Pronger played a style of game where he never had to skate hard.  If you watched him play, he took two or three strides most times and was always in position.  Couple that with his naturally large physique and it’s not ridiculous to think that Pronger could’ve made it to at least forty before his body started breaking down.  Plus, he would have been the veteran anchor the younger Flyers defense currently needs.  Who would’ve expected that his brain would go all “Keith Primeau” after one errant stick?

07. Trading Simon Gagne for Matt Walker and a 4th round pick

The trade is a heartbreaker.  But not too terrible because I feel like the Flyers just buried Matt Walker in the AHL while that was still a thing they could.  Or Walker was injured mostly?  I don’t remember him ever really playing for the Flyers.  Granted, if you’re trying to dump salary, taking on salary isn’t the best way to fix the problem.   Gagne’s best years did pass, though.  He ended up on that Kings team that won a Stanley Cup but his role wasn’t the same as what was expected of him with the Flyers.

And if you’re thinking “at least the Flyers got a fourth round pick in the deal,” then guess again.  According to Wikipedia, the pick was used to get Marcel Noebels and here’s Noebel’s NHL fate:

Noebels split the 2012–13 season between the Trenton Titans of the ECHL and the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League (AHL), and spent the entire2013–14 season with the Phantoms. Assigned to the Reading Royals prior to the 2014–15 season, Noebels left the team shortly after reporting to Reading and the Flyers placed him on unconditional waivers for the purposes of terminating his contract on October 10, 2014.[3] On October 13 he signed with Eisbären Berlin.[4]

Well, so much for that.

06. Recalling Randy Jones on re-entry waivers in 2009

Anything involving Randy Jones and the Flyers was a poor decision.  He was buried in the AHL, the Flyers recalled him, the Kings claimed him, and the Flyers were on the hook for half of his stupid salary.

Tune in tomorrow for five through one.  Same bat time, same bat channel.

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