Goodbye young centers of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers no longer require your services.
Today, the Flyers not only sent Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, the 8th overall pick and a third rounder but they also sent captain Mike Richards (and NHL longshot prospect Rob Bordson) to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a 2012 second-round draft pick. While this may be shocking news as it reverberates around the League, we are honestly only concerned with one thing: the fantasy hockey implications.
Fear not, as we, the fine folks at Daily Faceoff intend to do just that.
Mike Richards to Los Angeles Kings
From most accounts, it seems like the Flyers moved their beloved captain due to their belief he was not the right leader. Accordingly, the Kings likely gave up less than they would have a year ago — when the Flyers were two wins away from a Cup. Let this become a lesson to you, Roberto Luongo.
This team traded away the “next Bobby Clarke” and dropped the “no goalie” tag; not to mention they freed up cap space by sending two massive, long-term contracts to the Western Conference. By moving Richards, they could freely sign netminder Ilya Bryzgalov, who we previously argued would be a boon to their system, despite the hefty price tag.
What they got:
Brayden Schenn. The Flyers got bar-none best prospect in hockey. Schenn dominated Juniors last season with his Saskatoon Blades, taking the prize as the best regular season team in the WHL. He dominated the WJHC and is listed as the number one prospect by Hockey’s Future. In addition, he is clearly NHL ready and will add to an excellent young core alongside Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk and the rest.
From Hockey’s Future:
Schenn’s quality play for five different teams in a whirlwind season cements his status as the top prospect in hockey. His performance with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in particular, where his 18 points in seven games tied Canada’s all-time tournament record, made Schenn a household name. He has been dominant in the WHL as well, totaling 22 goals and 57 points in 29 regular season games split between Brandon and Saskatoon. The two-way center should have no problem stepping onto the Kings roster next year and playing a major all-around role for the team, eventually ascending to the second-line center slot that has been all but officially set aside for him.
No reason to doubt the rankings, this kid is as close to a sure thing as they get. There may not be a more complete prospect out there at the time of this writing — it is the equivalent of getting the first overall pick in this year’s draft.
Wayne Simmonds. In this surging power forward, the Flyers acquire a player who has yet to come out of his shell following the conclusion of his third NHL season. On numerous occasions, Simmonds lined up with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown but he failed to make that next step from third line grinder to productive power forward. But, there is a silver lining.
Among regular skaters, Simmonds finished second to only Michal Handzus in his off-ice corsi, meaning he clearly projects well offensively. In addition, his ability to play somewhere between the first and third line works well for a team like Philadelphia which sometimes has any of the three troikas resemble a dominant presence. Furthermore, if any team could get the most out of a budding power forward it would certainly be the Flyers, who are known for their physical play and their snarl. In short, Philly fans will LOVE him. Not as much as Richards, but love him.
Mike Richards. Assuming Richie gets along with head coach Terry Murray, everything should be fine in La La Land. If not, then Richards’ value is anyone’s guess. Somehow he managed to play 92 games this season following 105 games last season and still was traded by the team he presumably would have spent the rest of his career with. His one goal in the postseason is somewhat alarming but considering the sheer mass of games he played over those two years we bet he was playing through something. His 62 points and 66 points of these two years were a drop from the two 75+ plus seasons of the years before but that likely reflected the team’s depth opposed to his inability to finish.
Logic would state Richards at least hits 65 points in his first season as a King. He adds a second elite center down the middle — a characteristic every team craves and in my opinion a requirement to win the Stanley Cup. Assuming we have a healthy Mike Richards throughout the entire season, 65 points would be the absolute floor of his potential. If he can manage to click with Brown or even Dustin Penner, he should be in for an excellent first year in a new sweater.
Jeff Carter to Columbus
This deal clearly came as much less of a shock, considering it has been rumored for at least two weeks to happen. Despite posting 30 goals in three straight seasons, Flyers fans often labeled Carter as a non-physical player and therefore are not as upset about losing him as they were about losing Richards. While they came up at the exact same time, Richards earned the title of warrior while Carter the label as a perimeter player. Regardless, he is a fine player and should supplement Rick Nash.
What they got:
Jakub Voracek. This player is actually my wild card in this deal. In fact, I am not sure the Flyers downgraded too badly here while adding another shifty element to their game. Voracek finished last season for the lowly Blue Jackets with 14 goals and 46 points. By comparison, Carter finished with 36 goals and 66 points. In other words, Carter registered 22 more goals and only 20 more points playing for a team that actually possessed playmaking forwards. At every level outside of the NHL, Voracek scored at a decent clip and there is absolutely nothing that will convince me that he will not score at least 20 goals this upcoming year.
If you see Voracek slipping in your draft, take a chance on him. Great pedigree, strong team and a shift in Conference should give him some time before defenses learn how to adjust. Not to mention, if you stick him on a line with James van Riemsdyk, he most certainly will set the latter up with a good deal of goals. Voracek is not the second coming of Nikolai Zherdev, he is the definition of a player that needed a change of scenery.
Eighth Overall in 2011. From the look of this draft, there appears to be little separation between the lottery picks and a few others. By acquiring the eighth selection, the Flyers have essentially guaranteed themselves an NHL player in return (although the draft is still a crap-shoot).
Most likely, the Flyers target a defenseman like Dougie Hamilton, however they could choose to add yet another scoring forward in the mix as Ryan Strome, Sean Couturier or Mika Zibanejad could fall to their slot. The possibilities are endless, but most likely the Flyers get a really decent player from all of this to restock the cupboards.
Jeff Carter. In all reality, his value likely takes a hit. Moving from an Eastern Conference powerhouse in which he was one of the featured snipers to a struggling Western Conference team pretty much spells that out. In addition, Carter really has not been playing too much center, saving those duties for his former linemate Giroux. What he can do is score and take some of the defensive pressure off Nash.
In fact, although Nash formerly played with Voracek and either Antoine Vermette or Derrick Brassard, don’t expect these two to play on the same line. Nash plays better with two playmakers and Carter is clearly anything but. Expect Carter to fit in on the second line and likely play with one of those centers along with former teammate RJ Umberger. Not to discount any parties but between Vermette and Umberger or van Riemsdyk and Giroux. I would take the latter for my money.
Overall, the Flyers look different now and also have a respectably starting goalie. Only time will tell how this deal actually goes but for now we can firmly say they look different.
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