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.