The NHL offseason has already started heating up between buyouts, free agents and trades. The latest trade was between the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets, and it’s one that has Flyers fans scratching their heads with confusion.
The Flyers sent left wing Scott Hartnell to Columbus in exchange for forward R.J. Umberger and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick. The trade is definitely a surprise, as Hartnell has evolved into one of Philly’s key players over the last few seasons. Hartnell grew into a leadership role with the Flyers and his style of play fits great in Philly’s system. So why did the Flyers ship off one of their most talented forwards?
The only explanation that makes sense comes from a money aspect. Both players are 32 years old, but Hartnell still has five years on his current contract and is scheduled to average $4.75 million per year. Umberger’s contract has him set to make $4.6 million over the next three seasons, a drastic difference than the money Hartnell’s set to receive.
While Hartnell costs more, he’s an impact player who has become very important to the Flyers team. Sure they might save some cash in the process and get the draft pick, but the trade still seems like a mistake by the Flyers.
Hartnell was fourth on the team in scoring last season and contributed 52 points in 78 games. Umberger’s production has been down the last few seasons, as he tallied 34 points in 74 games last season. Philly still has plenty of young talent to build around, but Hartnell seemed to be a veteran guy who would make a big difference on the ice and in the locker room.
The trade comes as a surprise and most Philly fans are probably not happy with the move. Only time will tell whether the deal is a total bust or if it’s a blessing in disguise. At first glance, it seems to be a questionable move by the Philadelphia front office.