Which bodies would hit the floor as a result of the salary cap purge in Philadelphia to finally sign a respectable goaltender has been the subject of speculation all week. That speculation ended abruptly Thursday afternoon when TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Jeff Carter has been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jakub Voracek, and first and third round picks in tomorrow night’s draft.

Columbus held the eighth overall pick, meaning the Flyers have now crept into the top-10 after dealing away their own first round pick this year to Toronto as part of the Kris Versteeg deal. The trade rids Flyers GM Paul Holmgren of Carter’s 11-year, $58 million contract signed last November, an extension that came with a cap hit of roughly $5.3 million annually.

The purge continued when the Flyers traded captain Mike Richards to the Kings for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, and a second-round pick in 2012, according to TSN’s Gord Miller.

Since it wouldn’t be any fun to just stop there, rumours of a deal involving Versteeg heading to the sunny south are also bubbling, but haven’t been confirmed. With Stamkos almost certainly re-signing with Tampa Bay, and Carter traded along with Schenn, the Leafs Nation rumour mill is now left with only Brad Richards.

Holmgren then predictably signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year contract worth $51 million. Please excuse me for a moment while I reassemble the scattered fragments of my brain.

Alright, moving on then. So just what the hell does all of this mean?

First and foremost, it means that a fine display of fetal position technique is currently taking place around Philadelphia. Carter has led the Flyers in goals for the past three seasons, scoring a combined 115 times over that stretch, a pace behind only four other guys named Crosby, Ovechkin, Marleau, and Stamkos. Richards scored 23 times this year and tied Carter for third on the Flyers in points with 66. The 26-year-old did all of that while moonlighting as the warden of respect in the NHL too, a double duty that’s especially impressive.

Together the two combined for nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the Flyers’ goal-scoring this year. Overall Philadelphia had no problem scoring, and their historical struggle with stopping pucks eventually led to an embarrassing collapse in the second round against the Bruins. Philadelphia ranked third in scoring during the regular season with 256 goals, which is why creating a minor offensive leak to fix a gushing goaltending geyser is an understandable and justifiable move.

However, the removal of Carter and Richards was far more than just a pin-prick. The overall return for two of the team’s now former core stars is clearly brimming with youth and blossoming potential between Simmonds, Schenn, and Voracek. But Schenn has played a meager nine career NHL games, while the combined point total of Voracek and Simmonds from this past season was 76, which is far in the rear-view of the 132 posted by the duo Richards and Carter.

This is a move made with one eye strictly fixated on the future and a vastly changing offensive landscape, and the other looking wide-eyed at the team budget. Securing Bryzgalov required some serious forest to be mowed down in Philly’s overgrown cap jungle. Prior to these deals the Flyers were the most cap crunched team in the league with just $430,845 worth of room to maneuver.

Moving Richards and Carter freed up roughly $11.1 million in space against the new cap of $64.3 million. Both Simmonds and Voracek are restricted free agents, meaning that following the hit from Bryzgalov’s contract, Holmgren the magician has $7.6 million left to sign nine players (four UFA, five RFA). Are we sure that it’s always sunny in Philadelphia?

While the departure of scrap heap pieces like Brian Boucher is a mere matter of counting down the days, seven of Philly’s free agents are forwards, with Simmonds and Voracek combining for a dent of $2 million last year.

If we assume that signing players who were just acquired becomes a priority, my abacus indicates that at most $5.6 million will remain to either fill those five slots with suitable if unimpressive forwards, or start galloping towards a hopefully happy ending in the Brad Richards sweepstakes. Philly’s still lingering cap concerns also pour more fuel on the Versteeg speculation heading into the weekend.

Holmgren finally and mercifully found a solution to the gaping hole that sunk his otherwise structurally sound ship this year. But now he’s left with a $51 million anchor who’s under contract until he turns 40, putting the franchise right back where it started before Thursday afternoon’s flurry of deals.

Comments (20)

  1. What just happened?

  2. Well, the 2012 Winter Classic just got more competitive.

  3. Holmgren’s gonna be in a lot of trouble if Bryzgalov isn’t what he’s supposed to be…

  4. my freakin god carter i thought was going but richards just got alot younger but not as good

  5. I like both Schenn and Simmonds, but Richards plugs the holes the Kings have better than Schenn would’ve, and this isn’t a situation anymore where they can wait two more years to contend. A healthy Kopitar and Richards down the middle is one of the best 1-2s out there.

    More importantly, they get better defensively. That’s what killed them against the Sharks (who they almost outscored).

  6. I never thought I’d say this, but the Flyers should’ve continued to neglect their goaltending issue.

    This is madness.

  7. Also – if the Kings put Richards and Dustin Brown on the same line, I think Pierre McGwire will have a permanent stain on his crotch.

  8. Ilya Bryzgalov is not worth this much.

    Phiadelphia has no one down the middle now, an aging defenceman with back problems, Schenn is not ready to compete just yet.

    Bryzgalov is good but hasn’t been able to prove himself in the playoffs.

    I thought Calgary & Toronto had it bad, this seems to be a loss for the Flyers in my opinion

  9. The Flyers have a history of this kind of mind twisting logic (?!). We here in the Philadelphia area remember vividly the Lindros debacle of the 90′s.

    Everyone we trade away goes on to bigger and better things…..Recchi, Brinda’mour (I know, I mangled that one), Tocchet, Fedotenko to name a few….

    This will come around to bite us in the ass. It always does.

  10. Gasket – I see where they’re coming from; they’re basically writing off this year as development for Schenn and hoping he can be the #1 C in 2012-13.

    Does that work? Who knows. But I know I wouldn’t have traded Carter and Richards for Bryz and… say… Oliver Ekman-Larsson and a first. They’ve basically done that.

    My big issue is that the Kings still don’t have a good place for Loktionov, who might have the biggest offensive upside of all their prospects. He’s still kind of in a holding pattern; I’d almost expect Kitsyn and Kozun to make the lineup ahead of him on a regular basis now.

  11. Gasket do you actually think that Fedotanko belongs on that list?……

  12. HaHaHa. Really?? Wow!! Guess who’s not winning GM of the year next year! Why does Philly love the over valued so called prospects, who love taking their time to develop so much? Aka zheredev or Voracek? And you’re really going to give up carter and Richards just to sign Bryz?? I actually said WHAT out loud when I read this & I don’t even like the Flyers. If only Mike Gillis was faster , could have given them Luongo, Ballard, and a pick. Not that the ‘Nucks need anymore centers, but geez that’s just sad.

  13. I can’t believe I didn’t make this joke yet, but…

    [Doctor Doom] RIIIIICHAAAAAAAAAARRRRDS! [/Doctor Doom]

  14. that’s a lot of dough for Byrzgalov. I don’t like the Richards trade at all for Philly, Schenn is overrated in my opinion. Philly does have the depth though Giroux, JVR, Briere plus Simmonds, Voracek, Hartnell, scoring won’t be a problem. but to trade a guy like Richards I don’t understand, all round players like that come around 1 every 10 years!

  15. It’s a good thing they signed Bryzgalov to such a long term deal, this way they’ll have awesomely mediocre goaltending in place again right when all those kids start to peak.

  16. [...] from the Brad Richards race. The Bryzgalov deal quickly supplanted some of the cap space cleared by trading Richards and Carter, but the Flyers are left with a plethora of wingers. They should have enough room to seriously [...]

  17. [...] Live Blog Posted by Rick Moldovanyi under General on Jun 24, 2011 Have you gotten over the shock of what happened with the Flyers yesterday? Are you ready for some more? Good, because the rumour mill has been churning for a while now. [...]

  18. [...] in order to extend an offer sheet to Steven Stamkos. That seems pretty unlikely but, after what the Flyers did last week, nothing seems impossible anymore.Right now the Flyers have 19 players signed and $6.7 million in [...]

  19. [...] made some serious changes to their team in the last week. Last Thursday was one of the most shocking days in recent NHL history and the rumours that more changes are on the way continue to float around.What’s going on in [...]

  20. [...] team.It’s not a stretch to say that the Phildelphia Flyers shocked the hockey world when they traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in two separate deals within a half hour. Trading two of your team’s top five scorers is always a big deal. Trading your team captain [...]

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