Archive for RJ Umberger

Flyers Trade Umberger and Acquire Defensemen at the Draft

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 21, 2008 by flyersfan44

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.

Trade Rumors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 9, 2008 by flyersfan44

Trade rumors are fun except, I suppose, for the players whose names are mentioned.  Nevertheless, I came across a couple of rumors recently that are interesting and that may be plausible. 

A few weeks ago, I heard a rumor that had RJ Umberger going to Nashville for defenseman Ryan Suter.  This may have some credibility because it could be difficult for the Flyers to re-sign Umberger (a restricted free agent) for his asking price, which should be fairly high since he had a strong playoffs, along with the other free agents they need to sign (like Jeff Carter) and then have money to sign a puck-moving defenseman.  Suter is a young, offensive-minded defenseman who has really good potential.  He was a first round draft pick (7th overall) in 2003.  He had 31 points in 76 games last season. 

Yahoo Sports had another rumor involving Umberger or Scottie Upshall going to Ottawa for defenseman Andrej Mezaros.  Again, Umberger’s name surfaces as he is seen as a good commodity right now.  His trade value is pretty high.  Upshall had an up and down season, spending some time in coach John Stevens’ dog house.  He can play a great hitting game with lots of intensity but this sometimes leads to bad penalties.  Mezaros, like Suter, is an offensive-minded defenseman who put up similar numbers as Suter last season: 9 goals and 27 assists for 36 points in 82 games.  He was a first round draft pick (24th overall) in 2004.   He has some size at 6’2 and 218 pounds. 

I could see either of these happening although I suspect Ottawa would want more than just Upshall for Mezaros.  With Bryan Murray as the Senators GM and his brother as the Flyers assistant coach, there may be a connection there that could make this reality.  I would part with Umberger for Mezaros.  Although I really like RJ as a player, the Flyers are pretty strong at forward, especially if Gagne returns to form and Claude Giroux makes the team.  Mezaros is a young, solid defenseman who would look good on our power play.

The Flyers’ recent acquisition of minor-league defenseman Danny Syvret from the Oilers for minor-league forward Ryan Potulny may give indication of the Flyers’ understanding of their need for mobile, puck-moving defensemen.  Keep an eye on this rumor over the next couple of weeks.