Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted: 8:53 p.m. Updated: June 24, 12:47 a.m.
By Tim Panaccio
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- With the trade of Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, the question now becomes who will captain the Flyers this fall?
Sources say, its a no-brainer: Chris Pronger, who captained both St. Louis and Anaheim earlier in his career, will be offered the C.
General manager Paul Holmgren said given the magnitude of what went down on Thursday, the captaincy never entered his mind.
Thats a good question, Holmgren said. I havent even thought of that, really. We have some guys in our locker room, who have been captains in previous years with other teams. Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger. I havent even broached subject with Peter Laviolette and my staff.
Danny Briere was a captain in Buffalo, as was Kimmo Timonen in Nashville.
Richards was made the clubs 17th captain prior to the 2008-09 season, succeeding Jason Smith.
When news broke that Richards would be shipped out of Philadelphia, he found out like most of the world: on the Internet. And he was just as surprised.
"I was very shocked when I got a call this afternoon from my agent, just kind of giving me the rundown on what he knew," Richards said in a conference call. "I actually found out about it on the Internet a few minutes before I was able to get the confirmation from my agent about it. At first I was shocked, then I was excited. I'm excited to go out to L.A. and be part of a team that that has a ton of great players and I'm looking forward to helping them out."
Richards is just three years into the 12-year extension he signed with the Flyers in 2007 (it took effect starting with the 2008-09 season).
"I probably wouldn't have signed the deal, actually, if I knew I'd be traded," Richards said. "I was fortunate enough to go to L.A. where I've heard nothing but good things not only about the organization but the city and how nice it is and how great the organization treats you. But when I signed that extension, I wanted to stay in Philadelphia for the rest of my career. That's what I envisioned until about 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. this afternoon when I got the call."
Salary cap shakedown
If you are wondering where the Flyers stand on the salary cap after the blockbuster trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, they now have breathing room.
Lots of it.
The salary cap for the upcoming season is 64.3 million. The Flyers are at 56.7 million with about 7.56 million in cap room, according to CapGeek.com, which monitors the leagues salary cap with instant updates.
Heres the new cap breakdown on players the Flyers acquired:
Jakub Voracek restricted free agent. He had a 1.27 million cap hit this past season. He must be re-signed.
Wayne Simmonds restricted free agent. He had an 821,667 cap hit this past season. He must be re-signed.
Brayden Schenn his three-year entry deal has a 3.11 million cap starting this season.
Ilya Bryzgalov his new contract has a 5.66 million cap hit starting this season.
What the Flyers lost in cap counts:
Mike Richards had a 5.75 million cap hit that now goes to Los Angeles.
Jeff Carter had a 5.27 million cap hit that now goes to Columbus.
Whats the other upside?
Well, suddenly, it looks like the Flyers can afford to re-sign Ville Leino, who is seeking a multi-year deal worth more than 3 million a season.
Free agency begins July 1.
Paul Holmgren fretted a few weeks ago that he didnt like the idea of going into the NHL Draft without a first-round pick for the third year in succession.
A series of trades in recent years robbed the Flyers of their first round picks, including this years pick, which was lost to Toronto when the Flyers traded for Kris Versteeg.
The Flyers picked up Columbus eighth overall pick in Fridays NHL Draft in the deal that sent Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets. They also got the Jackets third round pick and winger Jakub Voracek.
Today was a huge day for the Flyers organization, said Holmgren, the Flyers general manager. Weve got a couple big days coming up now with the draft. Our scouts are excited. This is the first time they pick in the first round in a long time.
The Flyers want size at either defense or forward and this draft is top-heavy with defenseman through the first round. It is projected that five of the first 10 picks will be defensemen.
Among the players who may be available at that spot: 6-0, 175-pound center Ryan Strome from Niagara; 6-2, 174-pound defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from St. John; and 6-2, 192-pound defenseman Duncan Siemens from Saskatoon.
The Flyers had five picks going into the draft. They now have seven. The second round pick in the Mike Richards deal is for 2012.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow him on Twitter @TPanotchCSN.
Related: Flyers sign Bryzgalov to 9-year, 51 million deal A look at the three players acquired by the Flyers