Paul Holmgren keeps Flyers in tact as NHL trade deadline passes

Rumors swirled around the Flyers as the deadline came near. In the end, however, GM Paul Holmgren didn’t budge.

Sure, he fielded calls all day long, but no offers made his team any better in his eyes and he watched the 3 p.m. deadline come and go.

“We went in on the day not really trying to do anything,” Holmgren said. “We sat back and listened. We had some things that were pitched our way, but we felt going into today that we made our moves over the last 10 or 14 days with the defensemen we acquired and felt comfortable with our team.”

Defensemen Pavel Kubina, 34, and Nicklas Grossman, 27, were the Flyers’ big acquisitions but they came last Thursday and Saturday, and at the price of only four draft picks. The price of trading league-wide on Monday was a lot richer than what the Flyers had spent. That’s because there were so many “buyers” in the NHL at the deadline.

“Even the teams that are bubble teams right now didn’t really do anything to help their team or hurt their team,” Holmgren said.” It’s just too big of a gamble sometimes, giving up things for whatever direction you feel you’re going.”

For Holmgren’s Flyers, the direction is perceived to be going up. That’s why he didn’t want to break up the young core he has, one that is still gelling after the massive overhaul the team saw this past offseason. He thinks the team should take that as a vote of confidence.

“I would think that would have that sort of impact on them, but that’s gonna be up to them,” Holmgren said. “They’re professionals. They know they’re here now. We need to get down to the business of winning a hockey game. That’s what it’s all about.”

It’s not like the Flyers missed out on a lot of action. There were only 15 deals around the league, with 31 players swapping jerseys. That doesn’t mean the Flyers weren’t buyers. It just means they did their shopping last week.

3 things we saw at the NHL trade deadline

1. The big prize in this year’s deadline was supposed to be Rick Nash, but he never got traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Flyers were once rumored to be in those sweepstakes.

“I kinda felt all along that he wouldn’t go,” Holmgren said. “I don’t know why. I just didn’t think it would happen.”

2. Defenseman Matt Carle is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year, but even the acquisitions of Kubina and Grossman don’t mean he won’t be re-signed.

“My belief is that there’s something out there that we can agree on that we can take care of that,” Holmgren said. “Whether it happens in the near future or somewhere down the road here, we’ll see.”

3. James van Riemsdyk was also the subject of trade rumors, but he remains a Flyer so angst of his future fades away.

“Definitely happy to be here still,” he told the Metro. “Love the group of guys we have here.”

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