Philadelphia Flyers: How Recently Jettisoned Players Will Help Their New Teams
Within a matter of minutes on June 23rd the Philadelphia Flyers began a major overhaul of their roster that shocked the hockey world.
The Flyers dealt their biggest regular season goal scorer, Jeff Carter to Columbus. The move was rumored for months, so it came with to the surprise of only a few that don't follow the team all that closely.
A big as these transactions were, the team was just getting warmed up.
Four days later forward Darroll Powe was sent to Minnesota.
Then on July 1st, Kris Versteeg was traded to the Florida Panthers.
Word on the street was that Danny Briere and Chris Pronger co-hosted a packing party for the other veteran players in anticipation of their own moves... OK, well, not really.
The Flyers made these moves to begin a new era. In the process they fetched new faces, young talent, draft picks to stock up on prospects, and cap space to sign a new goaltender and other free agents.
Yet, in the space, we are going to focus on how these former Flyers will impact their new teams.
Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings
The Kings have been looking for a Mike Richards for some time now.
Nearly every team in the NHL has been looking for a Mike Richards.
The Kings now have one.
Richards is a rare commodity. He is equally capable of scoring 30+ goals, and shutting down the opponents top center.
From the Kings' perspective, Richards gives them their own Ryan Kesler, or Henrik Zetterberg, which they hope will launch them into a deeper playoff plunge.
In the post season Los Angeles' failures have not centered around scoring goals, but preventing them.
Richards gives them a new hope to become a more responsible defensive team, and instantly upgrades their special teams, fore-check and back-check, etc... All areas that will enhance their playoff chances.
In short, the Kings are just a much better team with Richards.
Jeff Carter, Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus has never had a true No. 1 center to play with franchise centerpiece Rick Nash... until now.
The Blue Jackets anticipate getting two players out of this trade: Carter and an ever more dangerous Nash.
With Philadelphia Carter was a regular season goal scoring machine. In six full seasons with the Flyers, he has scored 181 goals, including a high of 46 goals a few seasons ago.
However, Carter wasn't always the same player in the post season. He drew criticism for his lack of playoff production and his supposed "party guy" lifestyle.
In his time with the Flyers, Carter was one of the young guns. He was part of a team rife with veteran leader who shared the burden of leadership.
In Columbus, Carter will be on the vets who are looked to for leadership. He will be the top line pivot... a go to guy.
Now in a place where the playoffs are not a given, and where he will be counted on to lead the way, Carter must find a way to thrive in a new role.
Many times leaders are made because leadership is thrust upon them. Columbus hopes they just traded for one.
Kris Versteeg, Florida Panthers
Kris Versteeg made a name for himself in Chicago, scoring regularly in limited minutes.
Yet, when given expanded opportunities in Toronto and later Philadelphia, the "Chicago Versteeg" was no where to be found.
The Panthers have undergone a major roster overhaul themselves. Former Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon now runs the show in Florida, and hopes that Versteeg can recapture the magic in a familiar structure in Florida.
Adding grit and speed around a talented core worked for Tallon in Chicago, and he has applied the same formula so far this off-season adding playoff tested veterans to aid scorers David Booth and Stephen Weiss.
Versteeg could settle in and flourish as a second or third line winger that is capable of 20+ goals; just as he was doing in a Blackhawks sweater.
Darroll Powe, Minnesota Wild
Do not underestimate the need for players like Powe. The Minnesota Wild haven't.
Overlooked on a talented roster like Philadelphia's, Powe was an exceptional penalty killer, he led the team in hits, was top three in blocked shots among forwards, and could be counted on to take the occasional faceoff.
While Minnesota has spent a good portion of the off season seeking shooters and goal scorers to improve their offensive production, Powe will fit right in to the defensive scheme the Wild employ doing what he does best.
Free Agent Departures Ville Leino, Dan Carcillo, Brian Boucher and Sean O'Donnell
There is only so much cap space to go around. So when the Buffalo Sabres offered Ville Leino a six-year, $27-million contract, the Flyers were forced to say farewell to the dependable two-way forward.
The Sabres hope that Leino will take up the same clutch goal scoring role for them that he did playing against them during these past playoffs.
Which "Car Bomb" are the Blackhawks getting? The Blackhawks agreed to a one-year contract with Carcillo, worth $775,000.
Are they getting the guy who can punch in a dozen or so goals and play a defensively responsible game while driving the opposition batty? Or the four goal, minus-14, stupid penalty guy that drove his own team batty last season?
Chicago believes they will get the motivated former guy, who will do damage in a positive way for the Blackhawks.
Boucher found a role in which he can flourish, backing up an established starter in Carolina.
Boucher played equal parts hero and goat with his former team. With the Hurricanes he can play 20+ relief games, giving Cam Ward a rest and the Canes a quality start in net when called upon.
Like Carcillo, O'Donnell will spend the upcoming season in Chicago. The Blackhawks added defensive specialists to their roster through free agency, and O'Donnell will fill the role of the experienced, bottom pairing mentor.
O'Donnell offers size, defensive positioning and good passing ability to Chicago. He will be in a position to teach the Blackhawks younger defenders—like Nick Leddy—the subtle nuances of the game, which have allowed O'Donnell to still be effective at this stage in his career.