When I first saw the news about this trade I thought, wait, what? The Flyers traded a guy who scored 52 points last year and was plus 11, for a player the same age, making a similar salary next year, and who was benched at the end of the year after struggling to amass 36 points, and demanded to be traded?
Seriously, I think most people who follow the NHL fully expected the Blue Jackets to buy out R.J Umberger this year. Why would you give up a valuable player like Scott Hartnell for him?
Then I saw that Hartnell just completed the first year of a long term deal with Philadelphia, and while Umberger doesn’t give them salary cap flexibility this year, he will eventually because he’s on a shorter deal. So ok, the Flyers are banking on getting a healthier Umberger this year, which would make him better than he was for the Jackets last year, maybe more like the guy who became a fan favorite in Columbus in previous years. More importantly, they get off the hook for the later years of Hartnell’s deal.
Because, signing players to a long term contract, and then having buyers remorse and trading them is a thing in Philadelphia. (see, Richards, Carter, Van Riemsdyk)
This all leaves me with a question for you Flyer fans out there. What are you doing? Have you considered just not handing out long term contracts to everyone? 😉
For Columbus, this is a pretty good deal. They don’t have the same salary cap issues and Hartnell is a good fit for the tough as nails, but speedy, type of team that they want to build there.