Flyers trade Carter & Richards in 'tough' decision

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Flyers trade Carter & Richards in 'tough' decision

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted: 2:26 p.m. Updated: 10:29 p.m.
By Tim Panaccio and Sarah Baicker
CSNPhilly.com

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Paul Holmgren choked up. Not once. Not twice. But three times.

The man who scouted the Flyers two, young franchise faces Mike Richards and Jeff Carter -- then signed them to what amounted to lifetime deals, had done the unthinkable.

Within a one-hour span, Holmgren shocked the city of Philadelphia, and the NHL on the eve of the leagues draft, by trading both players, who were 2003 first-round draft picks.

It was extremely tough, Holmgren said, swallowing hard. Those were two, hard phone calls to makeI think the world of both of them.

Carter, the pure 40-goal scorer long rumored to be headed to Columbus, was dealt to the Blue Jackets for intriguing right wing Jakub Voracek, 21, plus a first- and third-round pick in this years draft, which begins Friday. The first-round pick is eighth overall.

Thirty minutes later, Richards, the heart and soul captain of the Flyers who once drew comparison to Bob Clarke, was sent to Los Angeles for diamond in the rough prospect Brayden Schenn, 19, tough winger Wayne Simmonds, 22, and a second-round pick in next years draft.

Both Jeff and Mike have been good players in our organization for the last six years and theyre both good kids, Holmgren said.

They played very well for usThey were extremely upset. Its a callIt was tough for me to make and tough for them to receive. Youre around this business long enough to know its a business.

As soon as they were dealt, the Flyers, who began the week with less than 450,000 in cap space, then had 13 million in space and signed goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year, 51 million contract.

Just like that, the Flyers have 7.5 million in space, according to CapGeek.com, for next years 64.3 million salary cap, which was also announced on Thursday. This should make re-signing Ville Leino a bit easier now.

Holmgren admitted he had to move significant salary to sign Bryzgalov.

We spent a lot of time talking internally since the end of the season, he said. When you make a commitment to go out and acquire a goalie that you view as an upper-echelon goalie, you know youre going to have to pay him.

So I think things at least internally here, what can we do to make this work financially, cap-wisewe started talking about some things, and some of the phone calls we received inquiring about what are you going to do if you do reach an agreement with Ilya, and things went on from that.

Carter's agent, Rick Curran, told the Associated Press that he was stunned by the news that his client had been traded, saying that had been told repeatedly by Flyers officials that organization was not discussing a Carter-to-Columbus deal.

Since becoming general manager in 2006, Holmgren has not been afraid to make bold moves. These two moves rank among the boldest ever, given Richards and Carter were established players.

Are the Flyers a better team? Thats hard to answer. They most certainly are a different team. Younger and bigger on the wings, much like the reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.

We kinda changed the direction of our organization with these two moves, Holmgren said. Today, I like our team, but were just a different team.

Simmonds is 6-foot-2, 189 pounds. Voracek is 6-2, 213.

I said a lot during the year that we needed to get a little bigger up front, especially, on the wings, Holmgren said. With the addition of addition of Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds, I think we got two guys who can play in our top nine forward mix that are bigger guys.

Brayden Schenn is a little bit of a diamond in the rough. He is probably the best, young player outside the NHL who is not playing regularly. Do we take a step back with him? I dont know. Hes a tremendous young player.

And the Flyers gave up two, young players, one of whom Richards most felt would never be traded. You dont often trade your captain in hockey.

Club chairman Ed Snider had to approve the deals, too, Holmgren said.

Im sad to see some friends leave, but Im excited for the future, Danny Briere said in a text.

Holmgren denied Richards scraps with the media played any role in the decision to move him.

We think the world of both of these young men, Holmgren said, adding that his conversation with Richards became very emotional.

One source said that the club sat down with Richards weeks ago and talked about a lot of things. Holmgren has said many times that Richards was a tough guy to get to open up.

The Flyers seemed pleased with Richards responses, but the impression remained that there was a wall there that was never going to be hurdled, but could be tolerated if need be.

At the same time, you can make a strong case that Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi needed to make a bold move to get a proven player who can lead younger players to get his Kings over the hump in the postseason. Richards provides that.

The same argument applies in Columbus, where GM Scott Howson needed a more rounded, proven scorer who plays both ends to help Rick Nash and the Blue Jackets.

Coach Peter Laviolette said he was feeling all kind of emotions when told of the trades.

The day you trade Mike and Jeff and where they have been the focus point for a few years now, it stuns everyone a bit, Laviolette said. You look at it both ways: the part that is stunning and the pieces that comes back. Two different emotions here.

Its a big change. Mike and Jeff were elite players in this league for three, four, five years. When you make a change like this, it is always difficult.

Its hard to talk about what is coming in because you compare this and you shift. That is not the case here. They were good players and remain good players. The Flyers? Its a good team but its a different team now.

Its a team that is losing a 70-point guy in Richards and a 40-goal guy in Carter. Obviously, the Flyers expect that Claude Giroux, who was the clubs best pivot with a team-high 51 assists and 76 points last season, is expected to grow in his game, as will James van Riemsdyk, who grew leaps and bounds with 21 goals.

Claude has sorta emerged over the last couple of years, Holmgren said. He was tremendous last year. And James? I cant say enough about how James played in the playoffs. We hope that ascension to becoming an even better player continues.

Holmgren said it was a huge day for the organization and it changes a lot of things.

Well see, he said. I like our team right now. Different, but I like the makeup. I liked it before but this is a change for us. A lot of things could happen between now and the start of training camp and well see where that leads.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net. Follow him on Twitter at @TPanotchCSN.

E-mail Sarah Baicker at sbaicker@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow her on Twitter @SBaickerCSN.

Related: Flyers sign Bryzgalov to 9-year, 51 million deal A look at the three players acquired by the Flyers

2016 Flyers free-agent fit: Blues RW Troy Brouwer

2016 Flyers free-agent fit: Blues RW Troy Brouwer

Each day from now until July 1, the day NHL free agency begins, CSNPhilly.com producers Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone will profile some of the league’s top impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Flyers.

Troy Brouwer, right wing

Age: Will turn 31 in August
Height: 6-3
Weight: 210
Last team: St. Louis Blues
2015-16 cap hit: $3.67 million

Scouting report
Veteran Troy Brouwer is proof that late-round draft gems do exist. A seventh-round selection of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2004, Brouwer has carved out an effective career in the NHL. In his eight years in the league with Chicago, Washington and St. Louis, the soon-to-be 31-year old has scored 150 goals and added 144 assists for 294 points.

Brouwer, who won a Stanley Cup with the 2010 Blackhawks, is a very reliable two-way player with the ability to play against the opposition’s best players every night. Case in point, he played the third-most minutes among forwards on a Blues penalty kill that finished the regular season third in the league with an 85.1 percent success rate. He also brings a physical element to the ice as he was second on the Blues last season with 206 hits. He isn’t the fastest guy in the world, though.

As far as offense is concerned, Brouwer’s skill set isn’t going to wow anyone. He scores his fair share of dirty goals and can be a menace in front of the net. That type of player can be a valuable asset to a team, but he’s not a player who should be counted on to pick up the offensive load. Think of him more as complementary piece who can play a top-six role.

He’s about to strike in free agency while the iron is hot as he’s coming off a productive playoff run during which he scored eight goals (fifth-most in the league during the postseason) and added five assists as the Blues made the Western Conference Final for the first time in 15 years before ultimately falling to the San Jose Sharks in six games.

Projection
Brouwer has the gritty, two-way game that the Flyers typically find attractive. But, as mentioned above, Brouwer is more of a complementary piece than anything else.

And, let’s face it, the Flyers already have too many complementary types as it is right now. The Flyers need more scoring from the wing than Brouwer has been known to provide, and they’ll want it from someone younger. He’s not a fit in Philadelphia.

Where is he a fit? Good question. Contenders will have interest in a versatile guy such as Brouwer and he’ll probably get somewhere around the same money he made last year. Maybe slightly higher.

He’s a great fit, if he stays, for a contender like St. Louis, but the Blues have to make a decision on team captain David Backes before they can adhere to any other business. How about a team like the Dallas Stars, who are a legitimate threat but also had their issues last season? Just a suggestion that could make sense.

But Brouwer in Philadelphia at this point in time just doesn’t make much sense.

NHL Notes: Predators acquire P.K. Subban from Canadiens for Shea Weber

NHL Notes: Predators acquire P.K. Subban from Canadiens for Shea Weber

The Nashville Predators pulled off a blockbuster before the start of free agency Wednesday by acquiring P.K. Subban from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Shea Weber, a swap of All-Star defensemen.

Subban won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman in 2013 and had six goals and 45 assists last season before suffering an injury. The offensive-minded, dynamic 27-year-old has 63 goals and 215 assists in 434 career games, all with the Canadiens.

Weber, who turns 31 on Aug. 14, had been with Nashville since the start of his NHL career in 2005. He signed a $110 million, 14-year offer sheet with Philadelphia as a restricted free agent in 2012, but Nashville matched it to keep him. The three-time Norris Trophy finalist was a team captain and had 20 goals and 31 assists last season.

Devils: Adam Larsson traded to Oilers for former No. 1 pick Taylor Hall 
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have acquired former No. 1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson.

The teams announced the trade Wednesday, two days before the start of free agency.

The trade gives the goal-starved Devils an exciting young left wing who was the No. 1 pick overall in 2014. The Oilers get a solid defenseman who was the No. 4 overall selection in 2011.

The 24-year-old Hall spent his entire six-year career with the Oilers, collecting 132 goals and 196 assists in 381 NHL games. He has led Edmonton in scoring for three of the last four seasons, and has finished in the top three on the squad in each of his six seasons. This past year, he had 26 goals and 39 assists. He represented the Oilers at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game.

Larsson had 3 goals and 15 assists, playing in all 82 games on the Devils' top defensive pairing.

Blue Jackets: Seth Jones signs 6-year deal worth $32.4 million
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Seth Jones to a $32.4 million, six-year contract.

Jones will count $5.4 million against the salary cap through the 2020-21 NHL season. He was a pending restricted free agent.

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen says reaching a long-term agreement with Jones was an offseason priority.

Agent Pat Brisson confirmed the terms of the contract, which includes a modified no-trade clause in years five and six.

Jones was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft to the Nashville Predators. The Blue Jackets acquired him in a January trade that sent center Ryan Johansen to Nashville.

In three NHL seasons, the 21-year-old Jones has 17 goals and 66 assists for 83 points. Kekalainen says Jones was just beginning to tap into his potential.

Lightning: Steven Stamkos elects to re-sign 
Two people familiar with the decision have confirmed to The Associated Press that Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is staying put in Tampa Bay.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the Lightning have not announced the decision. Details of the contract weren't immediately available.

The agreement was reached two days before the 26-year-old Stamkos had the opportunity to test free agency, where he was expected to command lucrative offers from numerous bidders, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings.

Instead, the two-time NHL scoring champ chose to stay with the franchise that selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft.

Blues: Kyle Brodziak signs 2-year contract extension
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Kyle Brodziak to a two-year contract extension.

The 32-year-old Brodziak had two goals in the playoffs after totaling 11 points in 76 regular-season games leading the checking line.

The 11-year veteran also has played for Edmonton and Minnesota and has 239 points in 697 career games. He was a seventh-round draft pick by the Oilers in 2003.

The Blues also announced Wednesday that the Chicago Wolves, their American Hockey League affiliate, have named Craig Berube head coach. The 50-year-old Berube, former head coach at Philadelphia from 2013-15, got a two-year contract.

Berube played 17 seasons with the Flyers, Maple Leafs, Flames, Capitals and Islanders.

Sabres: Casey Nelson signs 2-year contract extension
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have signed defenseman Casey Nelson to a two-year contract extension.

Nelson made his NHL debut in March last season after signing a one-year deal with Buffalo shortly after completing his college career at Minnesota State. He had four assists in seven games with the Sabres.

He will have an opportunity to compete for a spot on the Sabres roster this season.

In college, the 6-foot-2, 183-pound Nelson was the WCHA's defensive player of the year last season. Overall, the Wisconsin native had 14 goals and 46 assists for 60 points in 99 career college games.

Flyers kick off annual developmental camp next Thursday

Flyers kick off annual developmental camp next Thursday

The Flyers' annual developmental camp opens next Thursday at Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, and concludes on July 11.

The following day, the rookies and prospects — 34 in all — head to Stone Harbor for the Trial on the Isle.

This camp is overseen by developmental coaches John Riley and Kjell Samuelsson. This is mostly a drills 'n skills exercise highlighted by a 3-on-3 tournament at the very end.

“This is a week for you to get better,” general manager Ron Hextall said. “We are not going to evaluate you. We’re going to find ways to try and make you better, try and send you away with certain things to work on the rest of the summer to make yourself better.

“So we’re very strict about that. I tell everybody on our staff, no evaluations here. You want to have the kids unguarded where they say, ‘Hey, I feel like I need to work on this,’ and bang, John Riley or Kjell Samuelsson give them a template to work on, whatever they need to work on, strength coach. So that’s the time we really want them to try and get better.”

The real “camp” starts with full Flyers training camp in September.

“Training camp is different,” Hextall said. “Kids who played really well in junior have given themselves a leg up in trying to make our team. That’s really the first part of the tryout.”

This year’s development camp includes nine of the Flyers’ 10 selections from last week’s NHL draft in Buffalo, as well as the club’s first-round selections from 2013 through 2015.

A total of 16 forwards, 12 defensemen and six goaltenders are scheduled to attend.

Center German Rubtsov, the Flyers’ first-round pick (No. 22) from this year’s draft, won’t be attending the developmental camp. He was slated to return to Russia before the July 4 holiday.

On-ice is tentatively scheduled for 8:30 a.m. by specific groups, starting on July 7 with goalies. Skaters won’t be on the ice before 10 a.m.

The 3-on-3 tournament on July 11 begins at 3 p.m.

For a complete camp roster, click here.