Flyers’ moves mark changing of the guard

By JAY BOEHMER
Senior Hockey Insider — jboehmer@highhopesblog.com
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Paul Holmgren has kicked off a new era in Flyers' hockey by shipping off his stars, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. (Courtesy Philly.com)

A new day has dawned in the world of Flyers’ hockey.  Captain Mike Richards and leading scorer Jeff Carter have been traded and an elite goaltender has been signed.

Drafted together, home grown, and brought up together through the Phantoms organization – where they won the Calder Cup in 2005 -Carter and Richards were the face of the Flyers.

Their contracts had them locked up into the next decade, and Philadelphia was their city.

But a change in the atmosphere, the mentality, here in Philadelphia has sent them packing.  Ed Snider made it clear after the Flyers’ goaltending collapse in this year’s playoffs that this would not happen again – he wouldn’t allow it.

So the pressure was on GM Paul Holmgren to make the moves and change this team.  Snider wanted his netminder.  It seemed Holmgren found one when he went out and acquired the rights to lla Bryzgalov – with whom the Flyers have just signed a 9 year, $51 million contract.

Unfortunately, bringing in a high price contract like the one Ilya is sure to demand means dropping some others.

Rumors surrounded Jeff Carter, as they have for much of his time here in Philadelphia. But that seemed to be just more of the same – baseless Jeff Carter rumors.  Then, on Thursday afternoon, the announcement came that he had in fact been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Shortly thereafter, an even more surprising move was announced – Mike Richards had been traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

In return, the Flyers have acquired Jakub Voracek, an 8th overall pick, and a 3rd round pick from Columbus and Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, and a 2nd round pick from Los Angeles.

This move represents a massive shift in the mindset of the Flyers’ organization.  No more cutting corners at goaltending while shipping away prospects and draft picks to acquire long, pricey contracts.  With a new combination of youth – all the acquired players 22 or under – and an elite goaltender in Bryzgalov, the Flyers finally seem to be coming around to the ways of success in the salary cap-era NHL.

Whether these prospects and picks work out is yet to be seen, but fingers are now crossed all over the city as we wait in growing anticipation of opening day.

All we know for sure, though, is that this is a day that will go down in Flyers history.  It’s a new team with a new organization in front of it.

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5 Comments

Filed under Breaking News, Editorial, Jay Boehmer

5 responses to “Flyers’ moves mark changing of the guard

  1. Really good post. I thought that the initial trades with getting rid of the Carter and Richards contracts were quite savvy but then I thought they simply took a step back by taking on Bryzgalov for so long. Literally, 2 steps forward 1 step back IMO. It’s going to be interesting to see how their players develop in the next few years and how their team is able to react to this situation. They were supposed to have those guys as cornerstones for a decade and now that’s all down the drain. I guess it’s up to Giroux, Van Riemsdyk and well…Bryzzzy and his fat contract. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I really wanna know what you think http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/flyer-shocker-reeks-of-same-old-same-old/

  2. It’s tough to tell now whether these moves are going to be an immediate step forward in the ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup, but it’s a definite shift in the organization’s mentality. Suddenly, the goaltending position is the cornerstone, and the forward corps is going to have to rely on a stream of young, rising talent – the way the rest of the league’s winners are doing it.

    Now let’s just keep our fingers crossed that Bryzgalov plays at the level he’s getting paid for. He can. He just has to do it.

  3. Gabriel Trevino

    Good article Jay,
    When the Carter trade news hit, I thought – ok we expected this… When the Richie trade hit, I was baffled. When they inked Bryz to a 9 year, when he was seeking 7, and we reportedly wanted 5, was a relief but a shock due to the length of the contract.

    After the fallout, I really like these moves. That kid Schenn looks extremely promising and I belive he is expected to make some impact THIS coming season… The guy we ended up drafting with the 8th pick is supposed to be an unreal talent which excites me. When they announced his name, the announcer said something along the lines of, “in a few years, people will be scratching their heads wondering how this guy fell to the 8th pick”. That’s good news. Wayne Simmonds will fit in nicely, I’ve heard he’s “Danny Carcillo but with actual offensive capability” – which is a humorous comparison but should bode well for the Flyers.

    All in all, I think this is a great move – I will miss Richards, but something wasn’t right there. He was dealt, not because of money, but because of his checkered past with the media, and I truly believe his heart isn’t in hockey… I remember reading an article during the season that showcased one of Richie’s tweets, that said something like, “lunch and, oh yea, hockey later”. I think the locker room was split into team Richards and team Pronger. A guy who wanted to party and drink, and a guy who wants to win. I’ll keep the guy who wants to win.

    Great write up!
    Gabriel

  4. I liked Richards a lot, and was always the first guy to defend him when talks of his lack of leadership came up. He’s not a vocal guy, he can’t interact with the media the way Pronger can, but that doesn’t mean his team doesn’t see his effort and play and want to follow him on the ice.

    He had his party side, and that may have been a distraction for the media, but something tells me it wasn’t a distraction for him on the ice.

    That said, I’m not that unhappy with these moves. It’s a complete retooling of the team, bringing in youth, size, and physicality. I think it can work. And at the very least, it seems Holmgren finally recognizes the value of draft

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