I’ve kept this blog pretty New York Rangers oriented, but this news is too big to ignore, so I’ll lift the segregation a bit today.
The Philadelphia Flyers cleaned house (and cap space) today by trading both Jeff Carter and captain Mike Richards. We’ll start with the Carter trade because, well, that happened first.
Carter, 26, was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jakub Voracek, as well as first and third-round draft picks in tomorrow’s NHL Entry Draft. Carter is a former Flyers first-round pick in 2003 (11th overall). He scored 36 goals and 66 points last season for Philadelphia. His top season was 2008-09 when he tallied 46 goals and 84 points.
Voracek was Columbus’ first-round pick in 2007 (seventh overall). He finished with 14goals and 46 points, so he’s no slouch and is still just 21-years-old. He’s missed only five games in three NHL seasons.
Though Carter is a budding superstar, the team needed draft picks and shed salary. Had the Flyers not made the deal, they would have been without a draft pick until the third-round of the draft. They now have the eighth overall pick, albeit in a weak draft class.
Carter had 11 years and $58 million remaining on his 14-year contract with an average cap-hit of $5.27.
The Flyers then traded Richards to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for winger Wayne Simmonds, center Brayden Schenn and a draft pick. Richards, the Flyers’ captain, signed a 12-year, $69 million contract extension in 2007. The 26-year-old gritty center has 84 goals and 124 assists during his NHL career.
In return, Simmonds is just 22-years-old and finished last season with 14 goals and 30 points. Schenn, still a teenager at 19-years-old, was the fifth overall pick in 2009. He played eight games with the Kings last season before being sent down to the WHL and then to the AHL.
“We felt at this stage of the franchise it was time to make a significant move for an impact player,” said Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi. “Mike Richards is not only one of the top players in the league, he’s also universally recognized as one of the finer leaders in the game and one of its elite competitors.”
The cap space has allowed the Flyers to finally sign the goaltender they’ve needed for the past two decades in Illya Bryzgalof, who has reportedly agreed to a nine-year, $51 million deal.
Really surprised by both moves. It’s rare to see a team dump two of its biggest stars in the same offseason, let alone the same hour. Though I’m a Ranger fan, I can’t hide my affection and respect for a guy like Richards. He’s a guy you hate when you play against him, but you’d give up nearly anything to have him play for your team.
From reports I’ve read, Schenn looks like he’s going to be a really strong player in this league someday. Simmonds seems run of the mill, as Schenn is the real key to this trade.
Could these moves allow the Flyers to replace one Richards with another in Brad Richards? Not sure they have the cap-space, but after today, anything is possible.