It's been something that I have been meaning to get to. That first blog post here on MyHockeyBuzz needed something special, a real kick in the pants to get things going. After yesterday's dramatic twist from Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, it looks like summer could be one of the most memorable ones in recent memory for the Flyers organization. Sure, the Flyers picked up Peter Forsberg in July of 2005, but this is something different.
The trade for Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen represents Holmgren and the Flyers moving into a new direction. Chairman Ed Snider, one of the most respected guys in hockey, said the Flyers "do not understand the term rebuilding" when they announced the trade of Peter Forsberg to Nashville. Now, 4 months later, the Flyers and Predators have hooked up again for a trade of epic proportions that has turned the National Hockey League on edge. By acquiring a man who many believe would have been the top defensemen on the open market, the Flyers give themselves someone to mentor Joni Pitkanen, who will be 24 in September. Timonen will add a dimension the Flyers sorely lacked last season. He can carry the puck, he can pass the puck, and he can shoot a little bit as well. He will be a much needed addition to a power play that was one of the worst in the league last season.
The addition of Hartnell will give the Flyers a legitimate 2nd line winger who can help on the power play. He's just 25 years of age, but was eligible for unrestricted free agency thanks to the fact that he had seven years of professional experience. Hartnell scored 22 goals last season for the Predators but was shadowed by the likes of Steve Sullivan, Paul Kariya, and David Legwand. Hartnell will get an opportunity for more playing time here in Philadelphia, something that could not have been promised to him had he stayed in Nashville.
But don't be mistaken here, folks. The Flyers still have a very long way to go before they can say that they are among the elite in the NHL. These moves were the first of hopefully many from Holmgren, who now looks forward to the draft on Friday. Will the Flyers hold on to the #2 pick? Will they trade it for an established centerman? These questions are yet to be answered, but soon we will get another glimpse into the future of the Philadelphia Flyers.