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Flyers blockbusters: Trade Jeff Carter to Columbus and Mike Richards to Los Angeles

Jun 23, 2011, 4:39 PM EDT

Jeff Carter, Mike Richards Getty Images

Back in 2003 at the NHL Draft, Philadelphia was able to select forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, a pair of guys the Flyers felt they could build around for the future and win the Stanley Cup with. Now, just a day before the 2011 NHL Draft in Minnesota, both of them on their way out of town in separate trades.

Thursday afternoon’s madness began with the Flyers sending Carter to Columbus for restricted free agent forward Jakub Voracek and first and third round picks in the draft. Voracek has been slowly emerging as a power forward force in Columbus and while playing alongside Rick Nash he’s become a better player. Carter has been a perennial 30-40 goal scoring center and now he’ll line up with Nash in Columbus. The Blue Jackets and GM Scott Howson have been talking about making a big splash this summer one way or another and acquiring Carter does just that.

The other stunning deal sees Flyers captain Mike Richards off to Los Angeles in exchange for Wayne Simmonds and highly touted prospect centerman Brayden Schenn. Richards will give L.A. a definitive second line center behind Anze Kopitar and a guy that provides a ton of snarl to the lineup. The Flyers getting Simmonds and Schenn gives them another young center to join Claude Giroux and Daniel Briere in Philadelphia and now an instant chance to make a splash in the NHL after Kings GM Dean Lombardi wouldn’t give him the green light last year.

The Flyers clearing out both Richards and Carter will now clear the way to sign goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to whatever contract he might want now. The rumored deal that Bryzgalov was looking for was a seven-year, $50 million deal with a cap hit of just over $7 million a year. With Carter and Richards both out, the Flyers have moved out 20 years worth of contract commitments to those two worth $102 million. Richards’ deal was a 12-year deal worth $69 million, good for a $5.75 million cap hit while Carter’s was a 11-year $58 million deal with a cap hit of just over $5.2 million.

(Update: Flyers sign Ilya Bryzgalov to nine-year $51 million deal)

With over $10 million gone from the cap, the Flyers now have $51 million committed to next season’s cap and with a salary cap of around $64 million set for next season that’s more than enough space to get Bryzgalov and Voracek signed as well as having flexibility to add elsewhere. It’s an unreal more for Flyers GM Paul Holmgren to free up this kind of cap space and a gutsy one as well as both Carter and Richards were beloved in Philly as well as being their top two centers. Now that role shifts to Giroux to lead the way up the middle.

For the Kings they’ve got their second center in Richards and with a potential trade of Ryan Smyth elsewhere, they’ll have to be a bit more active in the free agent market this summer to help give the team some depth. Giving up Schenn is a move that will keep eyes on the Kings and on Schenn’s progress in his career.

  1. bigbear42 - Jun 23, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    I think this is a prime example of why this trend of signing top players to extremely long deals is more knee jerk reaction than well thought out team building. We can all thank Garth Snow and Rick Dipietro for that. I also get the feeling that there is more to these trades than salary cap effects. Throughout the year there were reports of trouble in that locker room and maybe these two guys were seen as the cause of those problems.

  2. citozx - Jun 23, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    Anyone got a link to reports on these guys they got in return?

  3. disp350 - Jun 23, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Does not matter what kind of problems you have in the locker room. How do you trade 60 goals last year away, and especially a guy who has averaged 40 for the past 4 years??? I know they need goaltending, but they have cut off their right hand to help the left hand. There will be much anger in Flyer land in the coming weeks, especially after they were so close to the cup not 1 year ago.

    • joebuckiscreepy - Jun 23, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      I like Carter, but he is definitely replaceable. It sucks to see Richards go, but Schenn could end up being amazing and Giroux is ready to step up. As a Flyers fan, my knee-jerk reaction is to be mad, but this could end up being a pair of great trades in the long run. They just freed up a ridiculous amount of cap space, gave half of it to Bryzgalov, and still have some moves left to make. Next year will be interesting, to say the least.

    • CJ - Jun 23, 2011 at 5:56 PM

      not sure who you follow but I’m guessing it’s not the Flyers. Flyer land is doing backflips right now. They got their goalie, and still have space to go after another big fish in free agency, possibly a move like brining back Leino which would be huge, or perhaps they’re aiming even higher.

      It doesn’t matter how many goals your team scores if you have a revolving door in the crease.

  4. ml3939 - Jun 23, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Richards and Carter were not so beloved by the fans. It is Pronger’s team and he will groom Giroux into a star leader.

  5. fatfreddystubbs - Jun 23, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    The most upset people in Philly right now are Old City bar-owners, and 22 yr old tramps from South Jersey and Delco.

  6. andyreidisfat - Jun 23, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    What a deal. They got rid of Richards whom i couldn’t stand since forever. I am not as sold on Carter leaving but i willl wait and see how they use that pick and Vorcek, who can be great but didn’t show it in columbus but then again who des show it their. Nash should score 80 goals a year with his talent and he is only really good there.

    As far as getting the goalie i am not as sold on the fact they needed this goalie. I liked Bob a lot and thought he was good enough. But at the same time with this teams defense (though i expect another trade of a defensmen this year as well) and a top goalie we are still a top tier playoff team even if the offense suffers.

    I think everyone wins on the Richards trade. LA gets a guy who couldn’t hack it in a big city where they really care a lot about hockey, but in LA where hockey is an after thought he might do better without all the pressure. The flyers get simmonds who can be a good energy player (though i am not a huge fan) but they also get Schenn who IMO is going to be a star in th enext 2-3 years, maybe even when given his chance next year.

    As far as Carter goes the Flyers got the best of this one. Vorcek is going to play very well with other players to help in philly. he will blossum with good coaching and strong leadership here. For the same reasons Carter will not do as well in columbus.

    I don’t think the Flyers are done yet I still expect to see one of the high paid defesmen traded either Carle or Timonen and i see them going after a really big named offensive player. Perhaps Van. or Washington would be willing to do the deal.

  7. scapistron - Jun 23, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    The long contracts have nothing to do with Snow or DiPietro. They are because the new CBA cuts down on the risk of a long term deal by allowing buy-outs. The long deals also allow teams to play a shell game with their cap space as the cap hit is the average annual value of the deal not the actual salary for that year.

    • bigbear42 - Jun 23, 2011 at 8:00 PM

      True about the new CBA (which expires again soon I believe), but my point about Snow was that he started the trend. It has since taken on a whole new level of ridiculousness with the Hossa and Kovalchuk deals.

  8. skimmer0220 - Jun 23, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Not everyone is happy with dealing Richards away, he was a player that wore his emotion on his sleeve when the season was on the line at the end of the year the guy dove head first to try to block a shot into a n empty net, even though the game was beyond reach of winning

    The hole Carter thing I couldn’t be more happy about, yes Carter scores 30-40 goals a season but what has he done in the post season? or when the game is on the line, when the Flyers were down 1-0 he was staring at an open net to tie the game with a minuet left and what does he do? hit’s the post, the guy doesn’t show up in clutch situations we don’t play the regular season to get the most goals or the best records, you play to get to the post-season and get one thing alone, the cup if he’s not ready to play in the playoff’s were better off without him

    The hole Pronger leading the team is a bad mistake, he is cocky and does not lead by example in OT when there is a 2 on 1 situation what do you do? you lay down to cut down on the shot angle and to take out the second player what does Pronger do? he stands up and tries to pluck the puck out of the air with his stick, he’s to much of a veteran player to do what’s needed most for the team, I really do not like Pronger leading this team

    I do believe that Giroux will develop into the team’s leader I see him being an Assistant Captain this year, this guy was all over the place last year, banging bodies, scoring, doing what a leader needs to do, the Flyers are building around some young talent with Giroux stepping up last year JVR this year and Leino will most likely be signed for next year to go along with there young talent

    Last and not least defense, Bryzgalov is brought in to groom Bob into being the franchise goaltender in a few years also if Timonen dealt away the D will collapse, at key points at the end of the year Timonen was there to save the Flyer’s butt’s when Pronger was sitting on the side injured Timonen was there to be the top D man, when Pronger was playing and came off the ice it was always assuring to know that another high skilled D man was going right back on the ice in Timonen

    The Flyers have made some interesting moves so far I was shocked with Richards going but there somewhat on the right track, if Pronger is made the Captain then there will be some leadership but not much, Pronger is just to cocky and does not lead by example enough, this is just my 2 cents

    • spiffy53 - Jun 23, 2011 at 7:52 PM

      you are complete opposite of what everyone i have discussed this with and basically everything i have witnessed this season. richards looked dis-interested in playing at times. Carter at least gets you to the post season. most flyer fans were on their last nerve with richards. as far as pronger, i will take someone who won the cup over someone who has not. plus, pronger gets along with the coach (which also feeds into this). Timonen is coming to the downside of his career. look for defensive pickups in the draft so there will not be any D collapse at all. Pronger captain, briere assistant along with timonen. no way giroux right now. flyers learned that lesson.

      • skimmer0220 - Jun 24, 2011 at 8:04 AM

        I’m really still not convinced on making Pronger the Captain, the guy was barley there for the Buffalo series and then was sitting in the stands for the Boston series, Richards was hands down the leader during the season, if carter get’s you to the post season but doesn’t do a thing during it then what’s the use? I still don’t understand that, look back at all the great players over the past years they get you to the post season but then they also get you through the playoffs but if Timonen is coming to the downside of his career so is Pronger, Pronger is older then Timonen, maybe jumping the gun on making Giroux a assitant captain right now but they will be grooming him into a leader in this city

        But the bottom line is I really don’t get it 1 year after Richards led his team to the Stanley Cup finals he has a mediocre regular season but still played his heart out during the playoff’s but everyone wants him out for 1 season? OK he didn’t deal with the media the greatest but the media didn’t treat him the greatest also, what you say off the ice means nothing, what you do on the ice says everything about you

  9. bigbear42 - Jun 23, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    I think one thing that’s being overlooked is that Columbus is getting the legitimate #1 center they have been so desperate for since they joined the league. Voracek was starting to show he can be a solid player, but he isn’t going to develop into the impact player they thought he would when they drafted him so high. If Filatov doesn’t turn into a complete flop, the Blue Jackets top six could be pretty good.

  10. sonofsamiam - Jun 23, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    “young center Daniel Briere”? Apparently being 34 (come opening night) is considered youthful? Sheesh

    • govtminion - Jun 24, 2011 at 4:18 AM

      They just assumed someone that small had to be a kid. ;)

    • deepthreat - Jun 24, 2011 at 9:38 AM

      I don’t think they were including Brierre in the young group… just another center :)

  11. tommytd - Jun 23, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    How about unloading Chrissy Pronger?

  12. deepthreat - Jun 24, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    The Bruins offered Tim Thomas for Carter and the Flyers REFUSED ??????

    • govtminion - Jun 24, 2011 at 2:40 PM

      To be fair, they turned down Tim Thomas after hip surgeries and losing his starting job to Tuuka Rask. With that in mind, I don’t think Holmgren made a bad decision based on what he saw at the time. No one could have predicted that Thomas would come back to the level he did, certainly not anything like THIS.

  13. nhlbruins90 - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    These long-term deals are utterly stupid from a business POV. Charge it on the credit card and worry about the rest later. It’s almost as if the US Congress is negotiating them – mortgage the future by spending money we really don’t have, and when things get tight, come up with silly accounting rules to kick the can down the road a bit more.

    Ask the fans in Vancouver how that long-term deal with Luongo is working out. Aren’t buyouts just a very expensive way of making stupid mistakes disappear.

  14. ginnitti - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    This is brilliant stuff from the Philly front office. They swapped equal grit and talent for youth and salary cap space in a matter of hours. While they won’t replace the 50 goal potential in Carter immediately, they’ve given themselves a legitimate chance to rebound in a year or two and maintain their conference winning status.

    Schenn is set to make $900k this season, replacing Richards $6.6 million
    Voracek has restricted rights, but will be a MUCH cheaper replacement to Carter’s $6 million

    And maybe the biggest addition will be the #8 overall pick from Columbus this evening, which can be utilized to bring in a legitimate scorer to the system.

    This is two thumbs up from a Sabres fan, and that’s saying something.

    Source: http://www.spotrac.com/nhl/

  15. jpelle82 - Jun 24, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    carter sucks and richards is a dirty asshole. good luck columbus. bet flyers fans were excited there for a second until that bryzgalov thing happened

  16. Ryan Karhut - Jun 24, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Winnipeg will finally unveil its team name tonight at the draft. Check it out!

    The Winnipeg Jets Officially Return: http://t.co/aNSytil

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