Anyone remember the Comcast Sportsnet commercial with Flyers Beat Writer Tim Panaccio and a Flyer Fan? The fan cuts off Panaccio and begins to blab nonsense, "The Flyers are an F5 tornado" he says. That is an understatement today as the Flyers not only shocked Flyerdom, but also the entire NHL as well. The Flyers began to turn heads when they announced that they had traded their top goal scorer Jeff Carter to Columbus in exchange for Jakub Voracek, the 8th overall pick and a 3rd round pick in Friday’s draft. That news didn't bother me. Carter's lack of two way play, heart and grit, turned me off him. Not to mention he wasn't a friendly person to fans outside of the rink. It's easy for me to forget someone with his personality. However, he did put up the most goals for the team for 3 seasons, so his 30+ goals will be missed.
What I didn't expect was the news that followed 25min later. The Flyers dealt the "next Bobby Clarke" as the organization referred to him, but I'll refer to him as Mike Richards. Richards was sent packing to the LA Kings in exchange for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmons and a 2nd round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. I didn't see this coming, however it does make some sense.
Carter and Richards were attached to the hip since they were drafted in 2003. They won a Calder Cup in 2005 and have been the "Core" of the Flyers since the 2005-2006 season. They were seen at bars around the city, restaurants, parties, the shore and well known for double dating with woman. Sounds like a college party right? The problem was that Richards and Carter are both 26 and well past the party stage. Neither of them showed much off-ice maturity. They did not hold themselves accountable and Richards was invisible to the media, locker room and the fans. Getting rid of Carter would no doubt have upset Richards, but I thought it would make him mature. He has to grow up. But the Flyers front office decided that they've had enough of the players' attitude and sided with the coach this time around and sent Richy away to perhaps just focus on playing hockey. However LA is a huge party town, so we'll find out if he actually will mature now. This is a wakeup call for Richards. He has all the talent in the world; he just needs to grow up.
Shortly after the Flyers threw bricks at all our faces, they signed Russian Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 yr/51mil contact. The best news about that is it's almost an even trade with Carter. Bryzgalov's cap it is 5.6mil. The Flyers now have plenty of money to resign Ville Leino, and Darroll Powe. They will also have to sign Brayden Schenn since he will become a free agent on July 1.
This will now add to speculation that the Flyers will get Simone Gagne back. Gagne has not talked to the Bolts about resigning there, as of yet anyways. With the relationship that the Flyers have with Tampa, it wouldn't surprise me if we traded one of those picks for Gagne's rights. Not to add fuel to the fire, but Flyers Color Analyst Chris Therein as said via facebook that the Flyers were talking about acquiring the rights to Soon to be free agent Steven Stamkos. The Lightning doesn’t have much money to spend and Stamkos is looking for a contract worth 7-8mil per year and the Lightning can't afford that. Now I highly doubt Steve Yzerman (GM) will let him get away for nothing. Stamkos is a former 1st round, 1st overall draft pick. He's already a superstar, and he will be for years to come. The Flyers are down a center, since they dealt both their star centers away, and we all of a sudden just came up with a sack of cash. Tampa will want something good for him IF he's dealt.
Still I don't see Tampa letting him go. He's the future of Tampa. St. Louis and Lecavalier are aging and getting past their prime. Well St. Louis had a masterful season with 31g and 69A for 99 pts.
The Flyers are not done. It will be interesting to see how the rest of draft weekend goes. The Flyers have some money to spend.
Who will be the next captain? Sources say it will be Chris Pronger. This would be a no brainer. Other candidates would include: Danny Briere, Kimmo Timmonen, and Claude Grioux. Pronger served as a captain with St. Louis and with the Ducks.
The answer to last blog trivia: Which NHL Team won five consecutive Stanley cups from 1955-1960? Montreal Canadians.
Today’s trivia: Which NHL team won 62 out of 82 games in 1995-96 season?