A Look Back to June 23rd
On June 23rd the Flyers made bold decisions, trading away the two men who they one considered to be the faces of the franchise, their captain; Mike Richards and his partner in crime; Jeff Carter. While they traded away two men who they thought would be the centerpieces to their franchise, they added something that had been lacking for years - a goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov.
Those two men who combined to sign for 23 years and $127 million, have scored a total of 318 goals, and scored 707 points in 937 games. They helped the Flyers make it to the playoffs in five-of-six seasons including the Stanley Cup Finals in the 2009-2010 season.
Bryzgalov signed for nine-year, $51 million contract and has 27 playoff games under his belt, where he is just 12-13 lifetime.
These two men had won a Calder Cup together in 2004-2005, played in All-Star games, won gold medals , the only thing missing was from their resume is a Stanley Cup for a city that is starving to bring Lord Stanley down Broad Street.
However, on one shocking day, with two shocking decisions, GM Paul Holmgren sent Richards to LA and Carter to Columbus in a deal that brought them Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, and Los Angeles'2012 second round pick plus Jakub Voracek, a 2011 first round pick and a 2011 third round pick from the Blue Jackets.
The centerpiece of the deal was Schenn, the 5th overall pick in the 2009 draft, who netted 421 points in 292 games in juniors, the Flyers anticipate him to be the next Mike Richards, only better. Also in the deal the Flyers gained toughness adding Simmonds. The orange and black had been lacking in front of the net since losing Mike Knuble to the Capitals, but adding Simmonds in the Richards gives them a guy who knows how to score a garbage goal.
In the Carter deal, the Flyers added a depth to their to the lines with former first-round pick Voracek, who has 12 points in 17 games but most importantly, the Flyers used the first round pick they obtained in the deal to draft 18-year old Sean Couturier, who fell to number eight in the draft and is considered a big strong two-way center who already leads the team in +/- with a plus nine.
However, its Bryzgalov who could possibly turn out to be more important name mentioned mentioned from June 23rd. He will attempt to do something that Michael Leighton, Brian Boucher, Sergei Bobrovsky, Ray Emery, Antero Niittymaki, Martin Biron, Robert Esche, Sean Burke, Jeff Hackett, Roman Cechmanek, John Vanbiesbrouck, Ron Hextall (the first time and second time), Garth Snow, Dominic Roussel, Tommy Soderstrom, Ken Wregget, Pete Peeters or any other goaltender not named Bernie Parent could do for the Flyers - Lead the team to a Stanley Cup.
So far, the Flyers new faces have gotten off to a strong start and so has the team. In 17 games, the Flyers have felt defeat just four time. They are tied for the second most points in the eastern conference with 23 points. Meanwhile, the duo of Richards have combined for 15 points in 23 games (Carter has missed time with foot problems), while the four players obtained in those deals (Schenn, Couturier, Simmonds and Voracek have 28 points in 55 combined games.
This deal wasn't about goals and points it was about attitude and philosophy.
The Flyers grew tired of the Richards and Carter being the face of the team and traded their considerable talents and abilities to point points on the board for the ability to get tougher, more physical and add Bryzgalov in net.
Regardless of how this season ends, June 23rd will always be remembered in Flyers history, hopefully for more then the goalies I mentioned before are.