First, the Flyers sent forward Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Jakub Voracek, a first-round draft pick and third-round draft pick this weekend. They cleared up Carter's over $5 million per year cap hit, through 2021-22, and picked up draft picks this weekend, which GM Paul Holmgren had said he wanted.
Then, the Flyers sent captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings for prospect Brayden Schenn, forward Wayne Simmonds and a 2012 draft pick. Richards has been amidst a lot of controversy and tension with the Philadelphia media over the past couple years, particularly this offseason. In trading Richards, the Flyers are relieved of his $5.75 million per year cap hit, through the 2019-20 season and his tension with the media.
Finally (as of now, at least), with over $10 million of cap space opened up, the Flyers had plenty of room to sign Ilya Bryzgalov, which they did. NHL.com reports the deal as nine years, worth $51 million. In signing Bryz, the Flyers finally have the top-level goaltender they have been seeking.
Carter's trade isn't too surprising, as his name has been amongst trade rumors since the Flyers acquired the rights to Bryzgalov (and before that). Columbus was named among potential trade partners and it became official today.
Bryzgalov's signing isn't too surprising, as the Flyers traded for his rights and felt they needed to sign him to complete their quest for the Cup.
Richards' trade on the other hand, is surprising. Yes, Richards name has been mentioned in trade rumors, especially since he hasn't had the greatest relationship with the media, one of the captain's roles.
However, Richards has been a core part of the Flyers team. He plays hard and is an excellent two-way forward, despite his smaller frame. It's not often that teams trade away their captain either, especially one so young and his prime.
Plus, Richards was excellent in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, leading his team to the Finals and coming two games shy of the Cup. The Flyers seem to believe though, that they can win the Cup with Bryzgalov in net and Danny Briere and Claude Giroux leading on offense.
The real winner today is the Los Angeles Kings. They get a top young two-way forward, who can help their young team start winning in the playoffs. Don't be surprised if the Kings become a force to be reckoned with.
It may be tough for Richards (and Carter) right now, as Philadelphia has been the only NHL club they've ever known, but now Richards will get away from the tough Philly media and be the star of the Kings team. As defensive-minded as he can be, Richards should fit in the Western Conference and fit in on the young team.
And living in California can't hurt, either.