Trading stars Simon Gagne and Peter Forsberg likely isn’t part of his plan.
The last-place Flyers removed the interim tag from Holmgren’s title Saturday and made him general manager for the rest of the season. While Holmgren doesn’t believe any Flyers are untradeable, he’d rather hold on to this two best players, at least for this season.
Forsberg, who was scratched for Saturday night’s game against Buffalo, can be a free agent at the end of the season. He’s struggled to find an answer to the skate problem that’s causing him discomfort to his surgically repaired right ankle, and has only five goals and nine points in 14 games.
Holmgren said Forsberg told former general manager Bob Clarke he wanted to re-sign with Philadelphia. But the team captain’s lingering foot and skate problems have been a concern.
“He’s not prepared to delve into his future until he can figure out what’s going on with his foot,” Holmgren said. “Until he does that, he doesn’t know, doesn’t want to make any commitment.”
Holmgren said Forsberg also won’t play Monday at Pittsburgh, and will see another doctor in Cleveland.
Gagne has eight goals and 11 points, and signed a five-year contract before training camp.
“He’s one of the top left wings in the game,” Holmgren said. “Does that mean he’s not going to be traded? No. But, we’re certainly not going to actively trade Simon Gagne. If you move a guy like that, you end up looking for a guy just like him.”
Holmgren became interim general manager in late October after Clarke resigned. Before he was became interim general manager, Holmgren spent the last seven seasons as the team’s assistant general manager.
“Hopefully it brings a little more stability with what’s going on,” Holmgren said. “I think everybody questioned who’s in charge. For the time being, I hope that’s put aside. I think we can move forward now and try to right the ship a little bit.”
Holmgren also coached the Flyers from 1988-92, going 107-126-31.
“Paul has been working very hard and I felt that it was important at this time to provide him with some stability in his position which will help him with the tasks at hand,” Flyers chairman Ed Snider said.
The Flyers were 3-11-1 for an NHL-low seven points heading into Saturday night’s game against Buffalo.
Nothing was worked to get them going. The Flyers have responded to coach John Stevens as poorly as they did to Ken Hitchcock. Changing the general manager had no effect; Holmgren has made no significant moves.
Holmgren said teams have called asking about the Flyers abundance of young players, but Holmgren said he’d rather keep some of that nucleus and build for the future. Still, he’s tried to make the right deal if it will help snap Philadelphia out of its early season funk.
“Really, nothing has made sense,” he said. “I think the worst thing we can do right now is make a bad deal.”