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Worst Flyers Trade Ever? Panthers Advance to Stanley Cup Final… Again

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(Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers, like every NHL team, have made plenty of terrible trades over the years. But there’s one Flyers trade that stands out from the rest–especially now. The one that sent Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets on June 22, 2012, in exchange for a 2012 second-round pick, a 2012 fourth-round pick, and a 2013 fourth-round pick.

That was chump change back then, and it’s chump change now. Bobrovsky, now 35 years old, is just four wins away from the ultimate prize after his Panthers eliminated the New York Rangers in six games on Saturday night, staking claim to a decisive 2-1 victory. The one-time Flyers star has cemented himself as one of the very best goalies of the modern era, among the likes of Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Ryan Miller, Ben Bishop, and plenty of others.

And while the Flyers have made just one Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1997—the 2010 Finals loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games—Bobrovsky has made it to the game’s biggest stage twice in two seasons. Oh, and he’s since won a pair of Vezina Trophies to boot.

Flyers general manager Danny Briere was still playing for the Orange and Black when Bobrovsky started his NHL career, and he was around to witness the aftermath of Bobrovsky getting traded away for peanuts.

Lest we forget that one of those peanuts, the 2012 second-round pick, became former Flyers backup goalie Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz, who is now Bobrovsky’s backup with the Panthers, has very quietly carved out a nice career for himself after being jettisoned out of Philadelphia; the 30-year-old ranks 31st in all-time save percentage in the NHL amongst qualifying goaltenders.

Cam Talbot, who was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Stolarz in 2019, is 37th in all-time save percentage. The goaltending carousel only thundered onward, and amazingly, the Flyers emerged worse for wear every single time.

Bobrovsky, Talbot, and Stolarz have all moved on to greener pastures, and the Flyers have since restocked their prospect pipeline with a handful of talented goalies. Time will tell if Briere and Co. have learned from past mistakes that bedeviled the organization for years.

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