In a span of an hour, the Flyers broke up the foundation of the franchise. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have been together in the Flyers organization since 2003, when they were both drafted by the team. They’ll be playing the 2011-12 NHL season in different colors though, after Richards was dealt to Los Angeles and Carter to Columbus. The deals came as a shock to fans, as two of the most known Flyers were sent packing.
So, what did the Flyers get in these deals?
Jakub Voracek had 14 goals, 46 points for Columbus last year. The 6’1, 205 lb Czech was Columbus’ first rounder (#7 overall) in 2007 and has played three years for the Blue Jackets, amassing 39 goals and 136 points in 241 games.
With Los Angeles, Wayne Simmonds scored 14 goals and 30 points while amassing 75 penalty minutes. The power forward has played the last three years with the Kings after being drafted by the team in 2007. “Simmer”, as he is known, has scored 39 goals and 93 points in 240 games.
Last year, Schenn spent some time with the Kings (0-2-2 in 8 GP), Manchester of the AHL (3-4-7 in 7 GP). He spent the majority of his time in the WHL with Brandon (1-3-4 in 2 GP) and Saskatoon (21-32-53 in 27 GP). In the 2011 World Junior Championships, he tied a Canadian record for points in a single tournament (8-10-18 in 7 games). Schenn is one of the top prospects in all of hockey.
They also received the #8 & #68 picks in this year’s draft, as well as the Kings’ 2nd rounder next year. What the Flyers plan to do with the picks remains to be seen.
How’s this work out for Columbus and LA?
In both cases, the teams got something they have been looking for. Columbus got a #1 centerman who can play with Rick Nash, and the Kings now have a 1-2 punch with Anze Kopitar and Richards. Both players should thrive in their new environments. Richards will be reunited with former coach John Stevens, who is an assistant with the Kings. Carter is reunited with former teammates R.J. Umberger and Scottie Upshall (provided Upshall resigns with the Jackets).
Why did this happen?
Obviously money was part of it. Ilya Bryzgalov was looking for big money, and the Flyers were going to have to move somebody to add him. While, Carter was rumored for a while to be moved because of his high salary, nobody really saw the Richards trade coming. Some suggest that it is a change of culture in the Flyers’ locker room. Everyone’s heard the rumors of a rift in the locker room, and perhaps they were true. The room is clearly Chris Pronger’s now, and he’ll probably be named next Flyers’ captain. The emergence of Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk made it easier to deal both players.
After those salaries were moved, the signing of Bryzgalov was announced. The goaltender signed for $51 million over 9 years (AAV=$5.67m).
So what does the team look like now?
Thanks to our friends at Capgeek, we can get a slight picture of what the team currently looks like.
The team currently has $10 million to play with (assuming Ian Laperriere is put on LTIR again and Michael Leighton is waived). They’ll need to add at 4-6 forwards and 1 more defenseman. Both Voracek and Simmonds are RFAs that need to be signed. It also raises the possibility that Ville Leino will be back, as Paul Holmgren has stated he would like to keep Leino in Philadelphia. That could make the team’s top 9: Briere/Giroux/Hartnell/Leino/Schenn/Simmonds/van Riemsdyk/Versteeg/Voracek. If Schenn doesn’t make the team, that will free up $3m in salary, while the team could pick up a 3rd line center. Blair Betts will anchor the 4th line, while Darroll Powe and/or Andreas Nodl could be resigned, or the team could promote Ben Holmstrom, Matt Read or Tom Sestito, among others.
The defense looks to remain intact with the top 5 of Carle/Coburn/Meszaros/Pronger/Timonen. 6th and 7th spots could go to Oskars Bartulis, Erik Gustafsson, a cheap free agent or another promoted prospect. Bryzgalov will be the #1 goalie, but where does that leave Sergei Bobrovsky? He could be possibly be trade bait if the team doesn’t think he will develop on the bench.
My feeling? The Flyers aren’t done working on a roster that was two wins away from winning the Stanley Cup two years ago.