The Philadelphia Flyers have traded Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for R.J. Umberger and a fourth-round pick. This surprising deal can be viewed from a variety of angles, but the majority of hockey fans are giving the Blue Jackets the initial edge in this transaction.
Let’s take a look at contracts:
Hartnell – Five years left at a cap hit of $4.75 million a season.
Umberger – Three years left at a cap hit of $4.6 million a season.
The two men have nearly identical cap hits, but Hartnell carries more years. The two men are the same age, so it’s possible the Flyers believe Hartnell’s final two years of his contract will be so bad that they’d rather have the flexibility of Umberger’s shorter contract. Still, that may be a bit of a stretch.
Offensively, Hartnell bested Umberger’s 2013-14 by a score of 52 points to 34 points. While it’s easy to assume Hartnell is more gifted in terms of offensive production, skating with Claude Giroux is bound to inflate a player’s total. Still, most fans would probably prefer Hartnell’s contributions over Umberger’s.
No matter how you slice it, the Flyers appear to come up on the short side of this deal. Granted, that may change and things may pan out with Umberger elevating his game, Hartnell dropping his (Hartnell down!) and the pick paying off big dividends, but for now it looks like a nice deal for Columbus. Until then, the Flyers lose one of the major faces of their franchise and will have to hope that Umberger returning to his old team will spark some life into his game.
Maybe the Flyers felt obligated to make a trade? Today is June 23rd. Flyers fans will be awfully familiar with this date as they traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter on June 23rd, 2011. They dealt James van Riesmdyk on June 23rd, 2012. Now you can add Scott Hartnell to the June 23rd list.
Flyers fans should probably be paying attention on June 23rd, 2015.