Better With Popcorn

Making Sense of Richards & Carter's Exodus

It seemed like it happened in the blink of an eye, but it actually happened over time. The trades of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards shocked many on Thursday, but once the dust settled it was clear to see that some of the writing had been on the wall, and it was probably put there by the man in charge.

As soon as the season ended and team chairman Ed Snider announced that he wanted a No. 1 goalie, that’s what happened. With the trade for Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers needed to clear space. Enter the continuous Carter rumors that have gone on for as long as number 17 has been in orange and black. Although this time, there was something to them.

And then some.

But why would the Flyers trade him after giving him an 11-year extension midseason? Quite frankly, the terrain around the franchise was much different at that point in time. When Snider spoke out about the problems in the crease, it made clear that an elite goalie was the top priority. Barring trading the NEW two untouchables in Philadelphia (Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk), nothing was off limits. That included Carter.

The Ontario native could have been signed to a 50 year deal and it wouldn’t have mattered. Someone’s contract had to go out of town with Bryzgalov waiting in the wings. The terrain had changed in a big way.

As for Richards, Thursday was the culmination of a story that had all the makings of a soap opera with no end in sight. He was continuously at odds with some of the Philadelphia press and eventually it wore on him, the franchise, and the locker room. Snider was almost certainly unhappy with the way things had played out with the young captain, or else he’d be in orange next season.

That much is clear because the man who was always in Richards’ corner was the man that ended up tracking down a suitable deal for him. General manager Paul Holmgren was always quick to defend Richards and at times even went as far as to ostracize the press over stories written about him. A couple of months later, Richards was headed to Los Angeles.

There are rarely coincidences in professional sports when one looks between the lines of transactions that are made. In the three-step process of signing Bryzgalov, trading Carter after an extension, and trading the captain with image problems, it’s become evident that Snider has made some demands. What’s even more obvious is that the demands are being met, quickly and without reservation.

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Russell Dornisch's picture

I guess Philly forgot they need to score to win.... get rid of a majority of their offense to sign a goalie... we will see if this works out, my bet: NO!

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

There was so much more going on than trying to sign a goaltender and it has become very clear with these moves. It was both an overreaction to the playoffs and trying to rid themselves of a lockerroom nightmare. I dont think alot of Philly is happy right now.

George Prax's picture

Yesterday's trades were both surprising and not surprising at all the same time. On the one hand, we all knew Carter was leaving town, and while no one wanted to say it, it sounded as if Richards might be the odd man out. He didn't see happy and while we all attributed it to the media there was obviously more there, going all the way back to everything that happened with Pronger last year. Not to mention they didn't trade for Bryzgalov to let him go.

On the other hand, you don't ever expect anyone to trade their captain and a 46 goalscorer. And the Flyers tend to do things on a whim once they get an idea in their head, as proven by what happened when they bombed a season a few years ago. So it's a lot to take in for one afternoon. All these moves will make more sense over the next few weeks, especially after we see what they do with that 8th overall pick tonight as well as next week at free agency. Interesting time to be following the flyers.