Jarmo Kekalainen and the Columbus Blue Jackets have the hockey world stunned by getting away with what could only be described as highway robbery. Columbus has traded RJ Umberger and their 2015 4th round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Scott Hartnell.
— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) June 23, 2014
Hartnell finished the 2013-14 season with 20 G and 32 A (52 points), which would have put him second on the Blue Jackets roster for points (4th in goals). Umberger totaled 18 goals and 16 assists for the Blue Jackets in 2013-14, so the upgrade on offense is immediately apparent. For Umberger Philadelphia will be familiar territory, as he spent his first three seasons in the NHL with the Flyers, before being traded to the Blue Jackets in 2008. Umberger was a fan favorite in Columbus, mainly due to the fact he attended the Ohio State University.
Both Umberger and Hartnell faced similar quality of competition during the 2013-14 season (29.0 QoC TOI%). When looking at CF% (62+ GP), Hartnell was third overall on the Flyers with 54.3% (Rel CF% of +6.2%). Umberger finished dead last on the Blue Jackets with a 46.4 CF% (-4.5% Rel CF%). [Courtesy of Extraskater]
While Blue Jackets fans are busy celebrating the team’s newest acquisition, the reaction from Flyers fans has been quite a bit angrier. The majority of the tweets from Flyers fans contain four letter words we cannot post here, but I think this one from @themissinglinc sums up the feeling from Flyers fans:
@NHLFlyers This sucks
— Meggers (@themissinglinc) June 23, 2014
Umberger isn’t a terrible player, he is just one of those guys you often forget is on the roster until he either a) scores b) messes up. In fact, I remember The Backhand Shelf Podcast (rip) used to call a player you forgot still played a “real Umberger”.
Hartnell responded to one of his worst seasons (the lockout shortened 2013 season where he totaled just 11 points) with the third highest point total of his career. Reactions are always extreme on the day of a trade, but right now it is tough to argue against thinking the Blue Jackets have won this one in a landslide.