(Jeff Carter (left) and Mike Richards had productive but stormy tenures in Philadelphia. (Photo by Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
By Stu Hackel
The Flyers moved to drastically change the face of their team on Thursday by trading two of their core players, captain Mike Richards and winger/center Jeff Carter in separate deals. By doing so, they cleared cap space to sign goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a fat, long-term contract. In the process, they dealt the Blue Jackets a center in Carter who will finally give Columbus a strong linemate for Rick Nash. And the Kings get a leader and experienced center in Richards who can anchor a second line behind Anze Kopitar and give LA the depth in the middle to challenge some of their more successful Western Conference rivals, like the Canucks who have Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler as their top two centers.
Here are the deals: First, Philly sent Carter — who has scored 36, 33 and 46 goals in his last three seasons — to Columbus in exchange for 21-year-old Jakub Voracek, a highly-skilled (although not especially physical) right wing, plus their first round (8th overall) and third round draft picks.
Carter has 11-years remaining on a contract that freed up over $5.272 million for the Flyers, who acquired the rights to the 31-year-old Bryzgalov two weeks ago from the Coyotes in hopes of solving their decades-long problem in goal.
For the Blue Jackets, who had the cap room for Carter, it’s a chance to get someone to partner with Nash, their captain and top scorer who has lacked an impact center for his entire eight-year career in Columbus. Carter was a center prior to joining the Flyers, but often played right wing on a line with Richards. He prefers center, however, and this could be exactly what Nash and the Blue Jackets need to energize their team and fan base.
The eighth overall pick in this year’s draft could give the Flyers a very good NHL prospect depending on who is picked prior to them drafting in that spot.