A great friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook yesterday. He stated he was waiting to hear my thoughts on the Flyers overhaul. My first initial thought was, Damn, now I have to get a new t-shirt! After that, the shock set in that Mike Richards and Jeff Carter would no longer be Flyers.
Richards, 26, recorded 23 goals and 43 assists for 66 points in 81 games for the Flyers last season. Over the past 5 seasons, Richards has scored 133 goals and recorded 216 assists for 349 points in 453 games. Jeff Carter, 26, had 36 goals and 30 assists for 66 points last season. In 461 career games he has 181 goals and 162 assists.
The Flyers traded Richards to the Los Angles Kings for center Brayden Schenn, right wing Wayne Simmonds and a 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft. Schenn, 19, was drafted by the Kings with the 5th overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft. Scenn has only played in a total of 7 games for the Kings over the last two seasons, totaling 2 assists. Simmonds, 22, was the 61st overall pick in the second round of the 2007 NHL draft. He appeared in 80 games for the Kings last season, 240 games total over the past three. He compiled 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points.
Jeff Carter was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jakub Voracek, the 8th overall pick and a third round pick in the 2011 draft. The Flyers were rewarded in the draft, being able to use the eight pick on Sean Couturier. Couturier was at one point the co-number one ranked player in the draft, but fell to the Flyers at number 8 much to the surprise of Flyers GM, Paul Holmgren. With the third round pick, 68th overall, the Flyers took Nick Cousins, a centre from Sault Ste. Marie. Couturier will probably find him self in the juniors next season, but could earn a spot on the Flyers bench with a good camp.
I have to admit that I wasn’t overly sad to see Jeff Carter go. He’s a good scorer, but at times, he played soft. The Flyers got enough in return to make the deal and in the end should come out on top when the history of this trade plays itself out. Mike Richards was the one player that I was upset about when the trade news came in, he was my favorite Flyer. Richards was a gritty player that did things for the Flyers that don’t show up in the stat sheets. He was the leader of the team and played beyond his talent.
The Flyers will tell you that they are younger and better. I will say that they are younger and much less experienced. They will tell you that good wasn’t good enough and these changes were needed to better the team. That statement may be true, but for a team that led the NHL for most of last season it’s hard to say getting rid of your leaders is the best way to win a Stanley Cup. The Flyers were a goalie away from a cup, now they are years of experience and still a goalie away. These moves may payoff in a couple of years, but I believe that keeping Carter and Richards and getting a top notch goalie would’ve been the better path.