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The Philadelphia Flyers went nuts on Thursday, trading iconic stars Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. The moves were fairly surprising, coming after a season where Carter was signed to an 11 year, $58 million dollar contract extension, and Richards was in the midst of a 12-year deal worth $69 million.
The tandem was also tied for third on the team with 66 points this season, and has been the Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier of the Flyers.
So, why does the second-place finishing team in the Eastern conference trade their top two centers, including their team captain? Playoffs.
Playoffs?! Yes, playoffs. For the last two years, the Flyers haven't had a solid #1 goalie, and it seems that with the next move they made after the trades (signing Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9-year deal), they're putting their future squarely on his shoulders.
What irks me about the Flyers, though, is that a year after Michael Leighton emerged as their playoff hero in net, he only played 60 minutes in the regular season (he did miss time with a serious back injury) and was then sent down to waivers. You'd figured they'd at least play him a little more to see if he'd establish himself as the #1.
I can't help but feel like Bryzgalov is a quick fix for the Flyers' goaltending issue -- the guy can play, but investing in a franchise goaltender until he's age 40 is a bit of a risky move. If I was in the Flyers front office, I wouldn't tried to finagle Jonathon Bernier from the L.A. Kings for Mike Richards, who is only 23 and will be a stud in this league for years to come.
The Flyers didn't just hand their stars over, however. Carter was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, a young forward who had 46 points last year, and the Jackets' 1st and 3rd round picks. Richards went to L.A. for Wayne Simmonds and Braydon Schenn. Schenn only has 8 games of NHL experience, but was the #5 overall pick in the 2009 draft. Simmonds is also an injection of youth; the 22-year old was a plus 22 in the 2009-2010 season.
The pick from Columbus is the Flyers' only first round choice, but at #8 in this deep draft, she's a doozey.
Come see who the Flyers take at #8 - there's still time! Visit Charged.fm.