Well, as you can see in this picture, Mike Richards was the captain and Jeff Carter was more of a photo-bomber. Today the Flyers made a series of moves that will be remembered for a long time. The question is, will they be remembered fondly? They shipped out their captain, Mike Richards. They traded away their leading goal scorer, Jeff Carter. They brought in a treasure’s trove of unproven talent and draft picks, and signed the newest franchise goalie to a massive nine-year deal. Just another Thursday in Philadelphia for Holmgren and the boys.
The Flyers are bit like that person playing Pictionary who takes almost all their time trying to draw some immaculate masterpiece, only to trash their work and start with a clean sheet when only seconds remain on the clock. It’s hard to get too angry at that person, and you feel the same way about the Flyers, too. They both are trying their best. They really are. It’s just that you almost never guess what the person is drawing, and the Flyers almost never get their personnel moves right. As much as it pains me to say it, the Flyers have a bit of Dan Snyder in them. Always spending money, always making moves, never reaching the ultimate goal. The Flyers have had more success than the Snyder Redskins, and hopefully these moves signal the end of Philly being the prime destination for over the hill free agents, but it’s impossible not to weigh the poor track record of various regimes when looking at this deal.
The bottom line is they needed a goalie, and those are tough to come by. Everything else seems to be an elaborate labyrinth of dominoes that hasn’t yet completely fallen. Needing money for Bryzgalov, the Flyers traded much maligned sniper Jeff Carter to Columbus. Shipping off Carter certainly wouldn’t sit well with his best friend,the beleaguered captain, so you might as well trade him as well. Los Angeles was his destination and the Flyers get uber-prospect Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. All told the Flyers get three players under 22 (Jakub Voracek is on the way from Columbus), and three draft picks (including the number eight pick overall) in the upcoming draft. They sent 140 points out of town.
We won’t know for a while if the Flyers are done moving. They now have some picks to work with. They have some cap space as well. There are Kris Versteeg rumors. It looks like Ville Leino will now be back. Will they make a run at another scorer, someone to lessen the blow of losing Carter’s 35-40 goals a year? It’s hard to imagine a Flyers team that isn’t wedged squarely up against the limits of the salary cap.
The move shifts an incredible amount of pressure onto the new goalie and the new nucleus. I’d expect Chris Pronger to take over captain’s duties, but he’s one year closer to being Chris Pronger in name only. Pronger could bridge the gap until one of the young forwards was ready to take on the role, whether it be Claude Giroux, James Van Riemsdyk or someone else. When it really counted of late, it appeared that Giroux, Van Riemsdyk and Danny Briere were the Flyers you could count on. That was with Richards taking on the lion’s share of attention and Carter playing the role of playoff goat. Can those three handle the full focus of the Philadelphia media and Flyers fans?
And, what about this Ilya Bryzgalov? We know he was a very good goaltender. In Phoenix. Giving him a nine-year deal and expecting him to produce Cups may be a bit of a reach, but the market isn’t exactly flooded with Marty Brodeur clones. We should know pretty quickly if Bryzgalov is the real deal or if this contract will end up being an albatross. Either way, you can’t say the Flyers aren’t out there trying to get something done. You just have to hope that this time they’ve landed on the right pieces.
Seems like most Flyers fans are shocked and excited. That’s the Flyers fan way. Opinionated but always looking forward to the next season. All right, I’m off to get my Schenn jersey. Holmgren will probably trade him tonight.