I don’t usually comment or write about the bigger stories that the NHL warrants because they’re a dime a dozen. Every hockey blogger on earth will have a reaction, either positive or negative, to every single thing that happens in the NHL. I like focusing my time and words to the lesser known stories and not as popular hockey leagues and teams of the world.
However being as my favourite NHL team, the Philadelphia Flyers, has made the first blockbuster trade of the offseason, (and…a bit of a stupid one at that), I figured I’ll poke my head into the dilemma and give my two cents.
Newly acquired General Manager Ron Hextall has made his first big splash since becoming reacquainted with the Flyers organization. Today he sent forward Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets for another former Flyer, Columbus assistant captain R.J. Umberger and a fourth round pick in 2015.
For those of you who have heard the name R.J. Umberger before but can’t remember why, well, this is probably the reason:
Hextall’s reasoning for the trade is trying to get the Flyers quicker up front and have more leverage and cap space to work with. Granted, that’s exceptional reasoning but to throw one of the teams’ best forwards in recent memory and one of the best players who do so much for the community down the drain and to another squad? Well, I think there has to be more to it than that.
Columbus was going to buy out Umberger and he was set to become a UFA; that was no secret. For the Blue Jackets, trading him and keeping their buyout is a fantastic win and probably one that shocked them. On Philly’s side, they retain a shorter contract with Umberger with gives them flexibility with the cap even though they’re only saving $150,000.
This deal seemingly came out of nowhere which leads me to believe that something went on behind the scenes and Hexy had to scramble and go for anything that was out there to unload Hartnell. Hell, Hartnell even changed his Twitter bio to “Columbus, Ohio” not even 10 minutes after the trade was announced. He even also would have had to waive his No-Trade Clause. I don’t know any insider info so take what you will of this with a grain of salt.
On another note, is the Columbus Blue Jackets the only team the Flyers can trade with?! Over the past three years, the Flyers have traded Jeff Carter, Sergei Bobrovsky and now Scott Hartnell to the BJs.
One more little stat: Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, James Van Riemsdyk and now Scott Hartnell were all traded on June 23rd. A day that lives in Flyers infamy now.
Now let’s get ready for the Leafs to do something stupid this summer so we can put this behind us.