Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flyers deal Mike Richards to the Kings

This will be a day that Flyers fans will never forget. Two players that were looked at as cornerstones of the franchise have been dealt away. First, it was Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets. Now, the captain Mike Richards has been traded to the Kings for forwards Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds and a second round pick. That's a lot to process.

Once again, these deals are all about being able to sign Ilya Bryzgalov, who wants 7 million dollars per year. With this deal, the Flyers trade away Richards, who was set to make 5.75 million a year through 2020, and receive Schenn, who will make just over 3 million a year for the next three years, and Simmonds, who is an RFA and made under a million dollars last season. This move, coupled with the Carter move, should give the Flyers all the cap space they need.

I'm not sure what I can say about what the loss of Richards will mean to the team. He was a polarizing figure in the Philadelphia sports scene but he did have some great moments with the Flyers. Just like Carter, he signed a huge long-term deal but was dealt right before his no movement clause started. Rather than be a Flyer for life and be the captain that brings this city a Cup, Richards will now likely spend the rest of his career in Los Angeles.

As for what the Flyers got in return, Schenn is an absolute stud. He will be 20 when the season starts and has played in just 9 regular season games and a handful of playoff games. He has tremendous playmaking ability and will someday be the number one center on the Flyers. As for Simmonds, he will quickly become a fan favorite as he has a ton of energy and hits everything that moves. He won't be a big-time scorer on an offensive line but he should develop into a solid 3rd line winger.

I'm still in shock that the Flyers blew things up like this. Yes, they got great returns for Carter and Richards but it's crazy that both possible franchise players were dealt within an hour of one another. It's a given now that Bryzgalov will be the Flyers goaltender but now we have to wonder if they have enough offense to compete for the Cup next year. I'll have more later once I've processed all of this. Who knows, the Flyers could have more deals in the works, too. At this point, the only untouchable player has to be Claude Giroux.

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