On Monday the Flyers added (F) Nate Thompson from the Montreal Canadians in exchange for a 5th round pick. The Flyers then traded prospect (F) Kyle Criscuolo and a 4th round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for (F) Derek Grant.
These were certainly not the household names that Flyers fans were craving. This was not Jeff Carter or Wayne Simmonds. It was certainly not Vincent Trochek and was most definitely not Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Those were the sexy names that most Flyers fans wanted to hear on deadline day. While Thompson and Grant are not the fancy names that everyone wanted...I will promise you that these guys are just what the Dr. ordered.
And of course you will say...how is that? The fact of the matter is that this is not a popularity contest. This is the NHL. This is a league where TEAM probably most represents every aspect and facet of the sport. These are two role players that bring veteran leadership to a still very young team and that is a welcomed addition in my book.
This Flyers team has definitely surpassed all of my expectations thus far. I firmly believe that this has already been a successful season under the leadership of first year coach Alain Vigneault; and the sky is the limit.
Everything else that happens from this point is gravy. Anything can happen. With that being said, I am not saying that this organization is without fault and that they have not made mistakes. However; they are definitely moving the needle in the right direction.
I have been extremely critical of the Flyers organization over the past few seasons and rightfully so. I have probably been one of their harshest critics. As a diehard fan I have earned that right. However; any realist must admit that this team is trending in the right direction. This team is playing with an edge and you have to love it.
Anything can happen in the NHL playoffs and you don't have to look further than last season when the upstart Blues won the Stanley Cup. Carter Hart has the talent and wherewithal to go on a run and this team definitely has the talent to win it all. Adding two role pieces to this kind of team could be exactly what gets them over the top. There is a much different vibe with this team under AV's leadership...something that has been missing since can I dare say it...2010.
Nate Thompson is a two way player that brings versatility to the forward position. He can play multiple positions and he is an excellent penalty killer. Likewise, Grant is another versatile forward that can also put the puck in the net (14 goals). While Thompson is probably a fourth line center that will see time on the PK, Grant can play 5-5, PK or even the power play.
Neither of these players are guys that are going to light up the scoreboard on any given night. They are not star players that are going to get the fans excited with energy. However; these are exactly the types of players that bring success and can definitely help this team moving forward. Thompson and Grant are veterans that add depth to a team that really didn't have much besides the youth waiting to make their entrance in the NHL.
Will the Flyers win the Stanley Cup in 2020? The answer is probably almost certainly no. Can this current team win a championship though?? Absolutely.
If you look back at trade deadline moves, the big name players more often than not do not make a difference in winning a team a ring. In fact, its usually the opposite. There are countless examples of role players that have been traded at the deadline that have gone on to help their new team win the Stanley Cup.
Only time will tell if this Flyers team is ready to move to the next level.
However; Chuck Fletcher did an excellent job today with preparing for that very task by adding two veteran role players that will provide depth and leadership down the stretch. And that is a breath of fresh air for a consistent critic like me.
I have had my issues with this team but I can honestly say that I love the direction that this team is moving. And its under the radar trades like today that could catapult this team over the top and for that I am thankful. Here's hoping that two minor moves could be the start of something huge. No matter what happens down the stretch, the sexy or fancy name will not be the deciding factor...but instead it will be the role player that gets it done.