Various sources reports the Philadelphia Flyers have dealt winger Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets for winger R.J. Umberger and a fourth-round pick in 2015.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, nobody saw this one coming. Hartnell had a full no-movement clause and Umberger at 32 was expected to be difficult to trade because of his contract (three years remaining at $4.6 million per) and declining production. Hartnell agreed to waive his clause to go to Columbus while the Flyers must have been on Umberger’s list of preferred trade destinations, as that’s where he began his NHL career.
So what to make of this one? Well, the salaries are almost equal (Hartnell’s cap hit is $4.75 million per season, though his contract is a year longer than Umberger’s) as are their ages (32). On the face of things, the Blue Jackets get the better of the deal. Hartnell had 57 points this season and when healthy remains an effective two-way winger, while Umberger’s numbers have significantly dropped over the past couple of years.
Perhaps Umberger will be a better fit to move down to the second or third line, as the Flyers could promote Matt Read onto the first line at left wing. Hartnell should provide the Jackets with an additional boost of experience and leadership for their young roster.