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Kings and Blue Jackets excited about their blockbuster trades with Flyers

Jun 24, 2011, 12:09 AM EDT

Philadelphia Flyers' Richards celebrates his game-winning goal against Ottawa Senators with teammate Carter during their NHL hockey game in Philadelphia

Former Flyers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were both shocked by the trades this afternoon. Richards said he first heard of his trade on the internet, while Carter’s agent explained that the Philadelphia organization repeatedly assured him his client would not be moved. Whether or not the star centers were prepared for change, one thing that’s for sure is their both of their new teams are ecstatic with their newest acquisitions.

Both of the teams that made trades with the Flyers on Thursday were singing the praises of their acquisitions.  Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson knew it was important for the Blue Jackets organization to make a splash this offseason. He said, “Anytime a franchise acquires a player of this status it energizes the franchise.” He continued by talking about how the trade could make the team more attractive for not only the fans in the market, but also for any potential free agents they would be interested in.

“I think the time has come for us to do something like this to try and bring an immediate impact on our team. I don’t take trading away a Jake Voracek, a 21-year-old player who’s got tremendous upside, or the eighth overall pick, lightly. But our fans have been very patient. It’s been 10 years now and we just had to do something that’s going to make us better right now.”


“I think (the trade) shows people we made a statement. We’re trying to get better now and hopefully they’ll see us as a more attractive destination because we haven’t done enough winning in Columbus to let that sell itself.”

In Jeff Carter, Columbus may have finally found the center they’ve been looking to pair with Rick Nash. Ever since Nash was drafted first overall in 2002, the Blue Jackets have desperately needed a talented center on their #1 line. Carter has already racked up 181 goals and 162 assists over the course of his six-year career. The 26-year-old is actually younger than his new linemate as well. With both players locked into long-term deals, the Blue Jackets look like they’ll have some firepower for foreseeable future.

A mere 2,000 miles away, the Los Angeles Kings were celebrating their own acquisition via Philadelphia. GM Dean Lombardi has made no secret that he’s respected Mike Richards ever since his days as an assistant GM with the Flyers. Four weeks ago he learned that it may be possible to bring Richards to LA, but he admitted that only in the last two days did the deal really come together.

He explained on a conference call his excitement for Richards as well as helping fill a void on the Kings roster:

“I think it’s fair to say that when I found out this player was available, there was no doubt in my mind — given what I know about his character and his competitiveness — and the thought of having him and Kopitar down the middle, that allows us, I think, essentially, to match up to any team in the Western Conference. I think that was a big hole. So I think we’ve cleaned that up today.”

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren acknowledged that informing Richards and Carter of the trades was a “tough (call) for me to make and tough for them to receive.” For his part, Richards was saying the right things to the media in a conference call this afternoon. Even though he was shocked by the news of his trade, he expressed the positive things he’s heard about his new team:

“I was fortunate enough to go to L.A. where I’ve heard nothing but tremendous things about the city and how nice it is out there and how great the organization treats you. When I signed that extension I wanted to stay in Philadelphia for the rest of my career. That’s what I envisioned, up until probably about 2:00 or 3:00 this afternoon when I got the call.

“You don’t understand it’s a business until you’re traded. But it is. It’s the worst part about it.”

Much has been made about the Flyers and their excitement for Ilya Bryzgalov and their ability to jump into the 1st round of Friday’s draft. But in the midst of their transformation, they made two Western Conference teams better in the short-term. The Blue Jackets immediately have one of the most dynamic top-line pairings in the entire league; the Kings filled the biggest need on their roster with one of the most respected professionals in the game.

Hopefully they’re happy with their moves, because it certainly sounds like the Blue Jackets and Kings are happy with theirs.

  1. islandersfan - Jun 24, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    Great move for LA, and for Columbus as long as that uber long contract doesn’t bother them too much (and that will come later, if at all)

    For Philly … I really dont think this is going to do them as much good as they hope. I always viewed their problems as more on Defense, with the goalies taking too much blame. This will either sink the ship or get them to the finals. I sincerely doubt it gets them anywhere in between

  2. Chris Ross - Jun 24, 2011 at 3:31 AM

    I’m sort of on the fence. I think for the Kings it might be a good thing because it might put them over the edge of being able to compete for a championship. However, not a fan of long deals in general so it sort of goes against how I feel about these sorts of things. Columbus, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have any future whatsoever. They should be focusing on building from a young core rather than try and win now with a weak roster. Jeff Carter isn’t the thing that’s going to put them over the hump. I think his 9 year contract is going to be the thing that stops them from becoming a legitimate contender over the next while. Especially if he is going to score 65-70 points a year only. I don’t care that he’s playing with Rick Nash or that Rick Nash is playing with him.

  3. jgluv55 - Jun 24, 2011 at 6:45 AM

    Who did either one of those two ever beat? Philly thought Richards was their future but quickly learned he didn’t have the stones for the playoffs.

    Jeff Carter was too busy messing with his teammates girlfriends and wives instead of winning anything.

    Philly got the better part of this deal by getting the chance to start over.

  4. mubeenravian - Jun 24, 2011 at 7:55 AM

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  5. deepthreat - Jun 24, 2011 at 9:08 AM

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

    Think they might want a flux capacitor for that one ???

  6. liquidgrammar - Jun 24, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Can I tell you that as a Flyers fan, I’m almost jumping for joy?! I wouldn’t expect them to trade Carter or Richards in the conference, so moving them out was a good thing. Although, being totally objective, I’d rather have Tim Thomas than Ilya Brisgalov. That being said, I think they’ve totally changed the makeup of this team, will be able to keep Ville Leino, will allow JVR and the other kid to come into their own, and have a top-tier goaltender. I’m pretty happy today!!!!

  7. sack1967 - Jun 24, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Love the trades for Philly! If you don’t win the cup…you make changes. The dynamic duo was not getting it done………make change……more deeper …more versatile

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