This was actually a lot more difficult than I originally thought. There were some real solid, quality moves that were left off the list along with a few blockbusters, such as the Flyers trading a beat up, worn down Peter Forsberg to Nashville for Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, a 2007 First Round Pick and a 2007 Third Round Pick on February 15th, 2007.
Either way, here are the top five trades of Paul Holmgren's tenure as Flyers general manager.
5. June 26th, 2009 - Flyers Acquire Chris Pronger
On the eve of the NHL draft, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren made a major move to establish the Flyers blue line when he acquired former-Hart Trophy winner Chris Pronger and Ryan Dingle from the Anaheim Ducks for solid winger Joffrey Lupul, promising young defenseman Luca Sbisa and two first round picks in upcoming drafts.
The results were phenomenal. Pronger immediately legitimized the Flyers defensive corps while providing leadership, poise and skill from the blue line. Pronger scored 10 goals and added 45 assists in his first season in Philadelphia while leading the Flyers to an Eastern Conference Championship coming within two wins of a Stanley Cup title.
Pronger suffered a concussion at the beginning of the 2011-12 season that was devastating enough to end his career.
Despite Pronger's injury, this was an absolute win for the Flyers.
4. April 3rd, 2013 - Flyers Acquire Steve Mason
Blue Jackets receive:
Mason proceeded to go 4-2-0 with 1.90 GAA and a .944 SV% in seven games for the Flyers. He started the 2013-14 season white hot and earned himself a three-year, $12.3 million contract extension with Philadelphia.
The minor deal has had a major impact of the team and turned out to be a real steal at 2013 trade deadline. Although the deal did not have as many flashy names or the direct results (... yet?) as the Pronger trade, considering what the Flyers gave up for Mason, this is absolutely a top-five deal.
3. February 6th, 2010 - Flyers Acquire Ville Leino
Red Wings receive:
Leino proceeded to set the rookie playoffs points record with 21 (7 goals, 14 assists) in 19 games. He continued playing great hockey in the 2010-11 season when he posted career-highs in goals (19), assists (34) and points (54).
The Finland-native signed a six-year, $27 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres in July 2011 and hasn't been nearly as close to the player he was in Philadelphia. In 120 games in Buffalo, Leino has 10 goals, 33 assists for 43 points while spending portions or last season and this season as a healthy scratch.
In the end, the Flyers got the best from Leino in a deal where they gave up virtually nothing for him.
2. June 18th, 2007 - Flyers Acquire Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell
Timonen came in and solidified the Flyers blue line while Hartnell provided grit, tenacity, combined with the ability to score up front for the Flyers.
The two players have been cornerstones for the Flyers for years and are now two of the longest-tenured Flyers. They helped guide the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010 while being the two most durable players the Flyers have had since they arrived. Prior to 2012-2013, you could count on two hands how many games each of these two missed with the Flyers.
The pick that went back to Nashville hasn't been nearly as productive as the Predators picked defenseman Jonathan Blum.
Think about that. Holmgren acquires the pick in February along with three other assets and then sends the pick back to the original team for two big-time players who are still with the Flyers nearly seven years later.
1. February 24th, 2007 - Flyers Acquire Braydon Coburn
The Flyers acquired in December 2006 and he was extremely productive for two months scoring three goals and 10 assists while averaging 26:00+ minutes of ice time. But Zhitnik was 34 years old so he wasn't a long-term solution and the Flyers were bad in 2006-07.
Holmgren traded Zhitnik to the Atlanta Thrashers for 21-year-old defenseman Braydon Coburn. Coburn, the eighth overall pick in the 2003 draft, has been a pillar for the Flyers for years and is currently the longest-tenured Flyer while Zhitnik played one more season after 2006-07.
The Thrashers were in a "win now" mode in 2006-07 but this trade is still a head-scratcher. Coburn has provided stability on the back-end and has slowly transitioned from an offensive-defenseman to a defensive-defenseman.
It was a big win for Holmgren.
These are the top five trades of Holmgren's tenure as Flyers general manager but there are plenty of other solid moves (acquiring Nicklas Grossmann from Dallas in February 2012) that improved the team but couldn't crack the list.
Tomorrow we will look at the five worst trades of Holmgren's tenure. Wednesday we will take an in-depth look at the Mike Richards and Jeff Carter trades.
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