Thursday, June 23, 2011

Philadelphia Trades Carter And Richards?

While there is no doubt that the Philadelphia Flyers received great value in return for trading Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, the moves left a lot of people scratching their heads. These are two elite forwards under contract for a reasonable cap hit (albeit they have a combined 20 years left on their deals) on players entering the prime of their playing careers. One of the objectives was clearing room to sign goaltender Illya Bryzgalov to a new 9 year $51 million dollar contract, but it is hard to imagine Philly being a better team over the next 2 years given what was exchanged. They will be better for it 3-5 years hence, but this has been a Stanley Cup contender the past 2 seasons, winning 4 playoff series (over the same span the high powered Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins have each won 1 series).

In addition to a number of high draft picks, Philly gets Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, and blue chipper Brayden Schenn. Voracek is a restricted free agent that should command $2.5 - $3.2 million per season. The 7th overall pick in 2007 is a quality young player that came in just under 50 PTS, is 22 years old, and will continue to improve for the next 6 years. Simmonds is also a free agent, but with less offensive production should come at a cheaper price. I'd put him at $1.7 million and I would be hesitant to go above $2m. The other forwards in his age, production, and experience range are all under $2m. The draft picks will bring a return in 3-6 years, Schenn is 5 years behind Richards, and Voracek is 3 years behind Carter.

Philly might be better off for this trade in a few years when the draft picks start providing a return, but in the meantime they have set their timeline back 3 years. If they are able to add Brad Richards that could greatly increase their chances of making the playoffs. Otherwise I don't see Philly as a playoff team next year. You could argue that Mike Richards and Carter for Brad Richards and Bryzgalov is an even swap, throw in Voracek, Schenn, 4 draft picks and Philly might not skip a beat. If they don't sign Brad Richards, they will have a big hole at the forward position.

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