June 23rd. The date strikes fear into the hearts of Flyers fans everywhere as we prepare for the years first trade. In recent years players Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and J.V.R. have been traded on June 23rd. This year brought Philly another blow.
Earlier today the Flyers announced that they had traded Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Ex-Flyer R.J. Umberger and a 4th round pick in 2015. Hextall’s first trade as the Flyers GM has been widely regarded as confusing as hell. They traded an aging player on the decline for an aging player farther on the decline.
Stats wise Hartnell and Umberger were very similar. Hartnell had 20 goals and 32 assists last season , Umberger had 18 goals 16 assists. A major deterrent for Umberger was being scratched a good amount of time toward the end of the Columbus season.
“I think I have a lot to give and still consider myself pretty young,” Umberger said. The 32 year old winger noticed his declining play time in Columbus and realized his time with them was coming to an end. There are some benefits in this trade for the Flyers. The main point that people are using to rationalize Hextall’s first trade is the difference in contracts. Hartnell’s contract was two years longer than Umberger’s and Hartnell’s contract was worth $4.75 million per year while Umberger’s contract is $4.6million per year. That’s not much of a difference, $150,000. Here’s a bit of a question mark for you, Hartnell and Umberger are the same age, Hartnell is decribed as slower and not as versatile as Umberger, but Umberger was scratched so why would they play Hartnell any more than they did Umberger? Who knows, guess that’s Columbus’s problem. Another plus on the Flyers side is Umberger’s low penalty time. Hartnell has a bit of a reputation for taking dumb minor penalties that Umberger doesn’t have and god knows that the Flyers need less penalties.
As the day went on, some details leaked and we were made to believe that Hartnell wasn’t as big of a fan of Philly as we thought. People were beginning to think that Hartnell requested a trade out of Philly and to do that after only the first year of a cushy contract seems odd. In Hartnell’s address with Columbus he said that The Flyers approached him 5 days ago with the trade, Hextall came to him and implied Hartnell was done here.
“I guess he has a different vision of the club going forward.” Hartnell said about Hextall’s decision. “You want to be somewhere where the team wants you and loves you.” ” I never wanted to leave Philly. That’s why I signed an extension there a few years back” Hartnell said breaking a bunch of fans hearts. It’s clear now that Hextall is making major changes to the way this team is built and operates. The next move that’s said to be coming is getting rid of Vinny Lecavalier, clearing cap space and getting ready for some big moves.
Hartnell waived a no trade clause to go to Columbus after thinking about Hextall’s decision to boot him. Since coming to the Flyers in 2007 with Kimmo Timonen, Hartnell had 157 goals and 326 points in 517 games. Hartnell became a favorite around the city with the #HartnellDown Foundation charity.
We want to wish Hartnell good luck and thank him for everything he’s done for Philadelphia and the Flyers. We’ll miss having #HartnellDown around.