The Flyers finally made a move on what has been a rather quiet trade deadline for them this season. Kimmo Timonen is heading to the Windy City to join the Chicago Blackhawks. Of course we will all miss Timonen here in Philadelphia, but the trade was a good one and is essentially a win-win for all involved.
Winning five Barry Ashbee Awards for best Flyers defenseman and joining Flyers Hall-of-Famers Mark Howe and Eric Desjardins as the only defenseman in franchise history to win the award three consecutive seasons , Timonen has been the anchor of the Flyers blue line for the better part of seven seasons. His veteran leadership, puckhandling ability and toughness despite his small size are qualities that will be missed. He came to the Flyers back in 2007 via trade with the Nashville Predators.
Timonen has not appeared in a game for the Flyers all season due to blood clots in his lungs and legs, and just recently began skating again. He appears to be in good health now and ready to go. Who could blame for him for wanting to go to a Stanley Cup contender? At 39 years old, this could be his last shot at winning one. He requested that GM Ron Hextall try to move him somewhere that he could have a legitimate chance, and with the Blackhawks, he will be right in the mix. They currently sit as the third seed in the Western Conference at 37-21-5.
Suiting up for the Flyers for these remaining 20 games would be useless at this point. Their playoff chances are slim and even with Timonen back in the lineup, he would not make much of an immediate impact. The return for the aging veteran was solid, with the Flyers getting a 2015 2nd round pick and a conditional 2016 pick which could be a 3rd or 4th rounder. Two pretty high draft picks for a defenseman who is at the end of his career is not too shabby, especially for a team that is looking to go younger and stock up on prospects.
It is possible that Timonen could be only the first domino to fall. The Flyers have a mess of a salary cap situation, and finding takers for players like Vincent Lecavalier has been tough. However, it is not out of the question that a contending team could be looking a rental player to make a playoff run, much like the Blackhawks have done with Timonen. The main issue is finding a team actually willing to take on some of these bad contracts. The Flyers will obviously be sellers up until the deadline and looking to unload some of their dead weight if they can.