I just had to type up some thoughts on the crazy trades that went down this afternoon. As you’ve heard by now, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were traded by the Flyers today in separate deals that sent Richards to the LA Kings and Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Carter was a heavily rumored trade target this offseason, especially since the Flyers acquired the negotiating rights to Ilya Bryzgalov, but Richards was a total shock. I just didn’t expect it and I’m still processing the whole thing, but my first reaction to both of these trades is confusion.
Geoff and Travis have done a great job all off-season writing about why it didn’t make sense for the Flyers to sign Bryzgalov and trade Carter (a Richards trade wasn’t on the radar so they didn’t detail that, despite clamoring on WIP that Richards was Bobby Abreu or whatever) at Broad Street Hockey so I won’t rehash everything they’ve written. But, in my mind, there are three things that are most confusing to me:
- Some 380 days ago or so, the Flyers were two wins from winning the Stanley Cup with Richards as captain (and one of the best forwards in the league) and Carter as a top offensive weapon. These weren’t just pieces on that team, they were two of the best players on the team THAT ALMOST WON THE STANLEY CUP.
- This year, the team (led by the same two stars), the Flyers stormed to the second best record in the Eastern Conference and were eliminated by the Bruins in the Conference Semifinals due in large part to an injured Jeff Carter, an injured Chris Pronger and the hottest goaltender in the world. Oh, and the Burins went on to win the Stanley Cup. So, better team won, but there are caveats all over that series that would have at least made it closer.
- So, despite the fact that the Flyers were ohsoclose to a Stanley Cup a year ago, not that far off this year and still one of the best four or five teams in hockey, they decided a rebuilding effort was in order, duh. Dumb, but ok, I get that you want to get below the cap and get youn…WAIT WHAT? NINE years for a 31 year old goalie? One that was terrible this past postseason? What? I mean, really, WHAT? I get it, he’s a “franchise” goaltender and he’s good, but you just traded away two of the other franchise cornerstones to get him, in the process giving up on one of the places where you had promising young talent (Bobrovsky). Seriously, this might be more than one point now, but c’mon, this doesn’t make any sense.
It does sound that the haul the Flyers got is pretty good. Brayden Schenn is one of the best prospects in the league, Voracek is a former first-rounder and has plenty of potential, Simmonds should contribute right away and the Flyers did get three draft picks. This could still turn out to be a solid trade for the Flyers and the final verdict on the trade can’t be given for at least a couple of years (or sooner if they manage to win a Cup), but it’s pretty hard to process that when your team has just traded their two top centers (one the Captain and the other an Alternate) and it doesn’t make all that much sense. Oh, look, Roy Oswalt is pitching for the Phils.