Andrew MacDonald was acquired by the Flyers for two draft picks (Image Courtesy of BleacherReport.com)
It’s okay to look at the Flyers' deadline moves and be upset. That is our job as fans. But our job is also to believe in the braintrust of the team we love, no matter how diluted their vision of this team may be.
Leading up to the trading deadline was talk of Ryan Kesler. In Philadelphia, that thought was met with cynicism if it meant trading young pieces that the Flyers so typically give up on early. General manager Paul Holmgren smartly decided against trying to reel in the big fish and mortgaging his future. Instead, Holmgren made a trade that was met with skepticism from many fans, at least initially.
I, too, was one of those people who was none too pleased about the acquisition of Andrew MacDonald. But then I thought about it and realized what Holmgren was doing.
I can't wait for everyone to turn around and re-think this trade when it turns out to be decent. I want to see what else Homer does 1st...— Hal Greenblatt (@HMGreenblatt) March 4, 2014
The Flyers' GM knew that the team needed to improve upon its defense. More so, Holmgren was building his team for a playoff run. To win in the playoffs, a team needs timely scoring, solid defense, and stellar goaltending. What Holmgren had just done was trade for a player who led the league in blocked shots with 198 prior to Wednesday night’s game against Washington. Philadelphia now has two of the top four leaders in blocked shots.
When Philadelphia went to the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Flyers had two players in the top 10 in blocked shots and three in the top 30. Paul Holmgren knew what he was doing at the trade deadline.
Yes, moving second and third round picks was a hefty price to pay for MacDonald, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent, but it was a move the Flyers needed to make. Following the trade, the Flyers had a surplus of defenseman, but that was resolved by the long-rumored Andrej Meszaros trade to Boston, which netted Philadelphia a conditional third-round pick.
What more could Philadelphia have done at the deadline? The answer is not much. Yes, the Flyers could have jumped into the late bidding for Thomas Vanek or Matt Moulson, but who could have expected the little return that both players earned for their former teams? What the Flyers did was view the trading landscape and decide that price was too expensive. Furthermore, a look inside the Flyers' recent trade deadlines show that the team often does not go for the big move.
It is hard to fault the general manager or the team for not wanting to mortgage their future or trade future picks. What the front office did today showed trust in a team and coaching staff that has begun to hit its stride in early March. Only time will tell if Holmgren made the right move to stand relatively pat at the deadline, but for the moves he did make, they continued to prove that patience may be the biggest trade of all.
Hal Greenblatt covers the Flyers for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter: @HMGreenblatt