To show how I've arrived this conclusion, I'm going to have a look Paul Holmgren's run as GM.
It started on October 22, 2006 when Bobby Clarke stepped down. This was the roster Holmgren iced for that first game:
Forwards (line combo's may not be accurate)
3 Lars Jonsson-Alex Picard
Every single player from this roster is gone. Some left to UFA, some to waivers, the rest with trades, and Rathje/Hatcher retired as Flyers.
Using this transaction list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006%E2%80%9307_Philadelphia_Flyers_season
I will grade every move made by Paul Holmgren ever. I will do this in the order that the above list places them in.
|November 9, 2006||To Philadelphia Flyers|
|To Tampa Bay Lightning|
|November 13, 2006||To Philadelphia Flyers|
|To Anaheim Ducks|
4th-round pick in 2007
|December 16, 2006||To Philadelphia Flyers|
|To New York Islanders|
conditional 3rd-round pick in 2007
|December 20, 2006||To Philadelphia Flyers|
|To New York Islanders|
5th-round pick in 2008
|February 15, 2007||To Philadelphia Flyers|
1st-round pick in 2007
3rd-round pick in 2007
|To Nashville Predators|
|February 24, 2007||To Philadelphia Flyers|
|To Atlanta Thrashers|
|February 26, 2007||To Philadelphia Flyers|
3rd-round pick in 2007
|To Chicago Blackhawks|
|February 27, 2007||To Philadelphia Flyers|
|To Buffalo Sabres|
2nd-round pick in 2007
Reid for Corso: AHL prospect exchange, neither panned out...final grade: N/A
Fedoruk for a 4th: Enforcer for a mid pick, a bit of an overpayment, but Holmgren was trying to make the team his and maybe avoid the tailspin, final grade: C
Zhitnik for Meyer/pick and Zhitnik for Coburn thereby the net gain being Meyer and pick for Coburn: And even this deal STILL keeps the final trade a steal. Holmgren made an even deal (Zhitnik/Meyer) and stole Braydon Coburn from the Thrashers; final grade A+.
York for Robataille and 5th: Mike York provided a guy who had been a 40-50 point player earlier in his career for Robataille who was on face for about 50 points with the Flyers before being dealt. York however had been part of a stellar PK group earlier in his career and was a better 2-way player. (salary numbers for 06-07 were unavailable) Grade: C+ Holmgren was trying to move things around to get something to work. He had very little to work with and it showed.
Forsberg for Parent/Upshall/1st/3rd: Forsberg was on the downside of this career, Upshall and Parent had decent upsides and the 1st round pick was turned into Timonen and Hartnell. When this deal was made, it was obviously done for the future and accomplished just that. Sadly, it was Parent who came over in the trade and not any of the other "better" Preds Defenseman. Still, developing players isn't the job of the GM so this deal gets an A-.
Kukkonen and a pick for Calder: Kukkonen had his moments, Calder sucked the pick was Garret Klotz. Nothing big happened here. No loss either. Grade is a C.
Martin Biron for a 2nd: A second round pick for a goalie who had 2 very good seasons at the Flyers starter. Biron wasn't elite, but he was a big part of the Flyers deep playoff run in 2008 and in terms of SV%, had a better 2009 playoff run. Biron wasn't the answer, but a 2nd round pick for what he delivered is still a big win: Final Grade: A-
Next up: Waivers:
|Claimed off waivers|
|December 30, 2006||Dmitry Afanasenkov||Tampa Bay (NHL)|
|January 11, 2007||Michael Leighton||Nashville (NHL)|
|February 27, 2007||Denis Hamel||Atlanta (NHL)|
|Lost on waivers|
|November 11, 2006||Marty Murray||Los Angeles (NHL)|
|January 2, 2006||Petr Nedved||Edmonton (NHL)|
|February 24, 2006||Nolan Baumgartner||Dallas (NHL)|
|February 27, 2006||Michael Leighton||Montreal (NHL)|
These moves all made sense in given the rest of the roster and fitting under the cap. Everyone was replaced by someone better. Holmgren's working of the waiver wire is solid: B+
Holmgren also extended some contracts during 06-07:
|November 29, 2006||Mike Knuble||—||2 years, $5.6 million extension|
|February 13, 2007||Sami Kapanen||—||2 years, $2.5 million extension|
|March 27, 2007||Martin Biron||—||2 years, $7 million extension|
Knuble: 2.8 cap hit for a guy who was a PP specialist, solid 2nd line producer and dressing room positive influence, this signing gets a solid A.
Kapanen: a 4th line veteran making 1.25M against the cap. Kapanen also PK'd a lot. He was older and falling apart. He didn't keep anyone down, but didn't add much outside of PK either. This makes him slightly overpaid but not by much so the Final Grade is: B-
Martin Biron: 3.5M cap hit for a goalie who would give 50 starts and had a solid playoff run in 2008, and, in terms of SV% was much better in the 2009 playoffs. I would argue the Flyers lost in the 08 playoffs to Pittsburgh because of the Coburn/Timonen injuries (the top pair on defense) and not through any direct fault of Biron. 3.5M for a solid goalie, Final Grade, solid A.
I won't grade Holmgren's list of ELC's since the NHL caps ELC contracts on a special scale. The GM must operate within a scale and they're for the most part waiver exempt. So if an ELC doesn't work out, it's not Holmgren's fault since all these players were drafted by Bobby Clarke. That said, here's the list.
|Signed to Entry Level contracts|
|May 28, 2006||Frederik Cabana||Halifax (QMJHL)||Drafted 171st overall, 2004|
|May 30, 2006||Steve Downie||Peterborough (OHL)||Drafted 29th overall, 2005|
|May 30, 2006||Jussi Timonen||SaiPa (SM-liiga)||Drafted 146th overall, 2001|
|July 5, 2006||Denis Tolpeko||Regina (WHL)||Undrafted free agent|
|August 16, 2006||Nate Guenin||Ohio State (CCHA)||Unsigned NY Rangers 2002 draft pick|
|September 23, 2006||Oskars Bartulis||Moncton (QMJHL)||Drafted 91st overall, 2005|
|March 15, 2007||Kyle Greentree||Alaska Fairbanks (CCHA)||Undrafted free agent|
|March 15, 2007||Jon Matsumoto||Bowling Green State (CCHA)||Drafted 79th overall, 2006|
Note: only Greentree and Matsumoto are actual Holmgren offers.
Final 2006-07 Grade: B+
Rationale: Holmgren had nothing to work with in terms of the roster Bobby Clarke gave him. He turned several assests into big successes (Coburn, Biron, Knuble) but also would hinder himself with indirect moves from these (Briere, Timonen, Hartnell). Otherwise he set himself up for 2007-08 very well. It's not Holmgren's fault the Flyers picked 2nd and had to draft JvR instead of Calder winning Patrick Kane. But, on the other hand, imagine if Patrick Kane got to play 3rd wheel to Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Who thinks that would be a problem?
Stay tuned for part 2, 2007-08 coming soon. It picks up on Draft Day 2007 and runs to Draft Day 2008