Flyers Trade Umberger and Acquire Defensemen at the Draft

The 2008 NHL Entry Draft was held this weekend in Ottawa.  There was a great deal of activity among the teams with alot of trades, two of which involved the Flyers.  As rumored, center RJ Umberger was traded, but not for a puck-moving defenseman.  He was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets along with the Flyers’ fourth round pick for Columbus’ first-round pick (19th overall) and their third round pick.  The Flyers used the first round pick to draft Swiss defenseman Luca Sbisa from Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League.  Sbisa is an offensive-minded defenseman who had 33 points and was a plus-19 in 62 games this past season.  At 6’2 and 190 pounds, he will have the size to compete in the NHL and scounting reports indicate that he could be a power play quarterback. 

The Flyers then traded their own first round pick (27th overall) and their third round pick to Washington for defenseman Steve Eminger.  Although Eminger was a first round pick (12th overall) of the Caps in the 2002 draft, he never developed well in Washington.  At 6’2 and 212 pounds, Eminger has great size but is not the puck-carrying defenseman the Flyers need to acquire.  He did, however, play well against the Flyers in this year’s playoffs, so he may turn out to be a dependable, steady defenseman with the change of scenery. 

The trade of Umberger was unfortunately probably necessitated by salary cap numbers.  As a result of his strong playoffs, Umberger was undoubtedly asking for more than the Flyers could manage to pay while still signing a free agent, offensive defenseman that they are expected to pursue.  Since Umberger will be a restricted free agent in July (unless Columbus signs him before that) it was likely that he would have signed elsewhere.  In trading Umberger for a higher first round pick, the Flyers got an offensive defenseman for the future.  It remains to be seen, of, course, how the trade pans out since we won’t know until Sbisa develops and begins playing in the NHL.

With money from Umberger and the recently-traded Vinny Prospal freed up, let’s keep an eye on the free agent market beginning July 1.

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One Response to “Flyers Trade Umberger and Acquire Defensemen at the Draft”

  1. MisterTschopp Says:

    I think we’re all hoping for Brian Campbell, but who knows. I’m choosing to trust Homer on this one and see what happens July 1st.

    IN HOMER WE TRUST!

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