A fond farewell to Kimmo Timonen


Photo courtesy of Amy Irvin/38Photography

It was a deal that worked in favor of both parties. The Flyers needed to unload a defenseman by Monday's trade deadline and stock up draft picks. Kimmo Timonen wanted one last shot to win.

He now has it as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flyers traded the 39-year old defenseman to Chicago for a 2015 second-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2016.

Netting two draft picks for a player who hasn't seen any game action all season is a huge win for Ron Hextall, whose Flyers sit six points out of a playoffs spot with a lot of questions to come in the next few weeks. And for Timonen, he gets the chance to end his career in the most satisfying way.

It was during the summer months of 2007 that the Flyers acquired the rights to Timonen and Scott Hartnell from Nashville and signed both to long-term deals. Timonen would remain a Flyer for the next seven seasons.

This included playoff runs in 2008, a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2010 and 519 games of pure heart. Timonen was a class act, a true leader and left it all on the ice every game.

His emotion was constantly evident, no more so than when he spent the first four months of this season watching game after game from the press box. The desire to play was still there and would be until he returned to the ice.

Timonen appeared set to return to the ice on Saturday night against the Rangers. But in the spirit of the Flyers fading playoff hopes, Hextall worked out a deal that sent him to a contender.

Timonen was a three-time winner of the Barry Ashbee Award at the team awards at the close of the regular season. He scored 38 goals and added 232 assists for 270 points while with the Flyers.

Of course, the unfortunate news of blood clots in Timonen's lungs and leg threatened his career at the start of the season. But Timonen has been slowly recovering and appeared to finally be returning.

The Flyers had brought Timonen back for the 2014-15 season on a one-year deal, which was slated to be his last. It may still be, as evidence from the timing of the trade.

A few of Timonen's best moments with the Flyers have come from various stages of his time in Philadelphia. Some of Timonen's memorable assists came during the Flyers playoff runs. In 2008, he got the primary assist on Joffrey Lupul's game-winning goal in overtime in Game 7 against the Capitals. In the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, he assisted on a goal by Claude Giroux in Game 4.

His most memorable goal may be the game-tying goal against the Capitals during a comeback win on March 31, 2013 with under 10 seconds remaining in regulation. He would also assist on Ruslan Fedotenko's game-winning goal in overtime moments later.

Above all, through the good and bad of Timonen's career, he was a fan favorite loved by all. Just 10 days ago, a post to the Flyers Twitter account showed Timonen with Mark Howe and Eric Desjardins moments after Desjardins was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame. Timonen is, without question, a part of that group. He was that good and will someday also take his place among the Flyers greats.

So we bid a fond farewell and wish the best of luck to Timonen as he bids for one last chance at glory.

For a player who gave so much to the game, he was a runner-up in the Stanley Cup Final in 2010, won an Olympic silver medal in 2006 and Olympic bronze in 1998, 2010 and 2014. Timonen deserves the chance to go out on top. Now he has it.

Thanks for the memories, Kimmo, and good luck in your return to the ice and in one final playoff run.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.