Nine years ago today, the Flyers made two trades within minutes of one another. Those trades effectively blew up the Flyers, as well as the internet. Mike Richards, then Captain, and Jeff Carter were traded to Los Angeles and Columbus, respectively. Carter eventually ended up in LA with Richards, after raising a huge fuss about being away from his best friend.
I will admit that I was never a huge fan of Mike Richards as a Captain. He was too young to handle the pressure that is inherent with being a Captain in the NHL. While he may have had a great relationship with his teammates, speaking to the press is unfortunately a part of being a Captain and he routinely refused to speak to them. As a player, I liked Richards and Carter as well, but apparently team management did not. They both had reputations as party boys. Carter was even the subject of a local blog that solicited pictures of him in compromising positions. To say there was no shortage of said pictures would be an understatement.
If you really pushed me for my opinion, I think Carter was traded because of his hard partying lifestyle that included a rumored dalliance with the daughter of a member of that team management, and Richards was traded because he had lost the confidence of management as Captain. The team certainly would not strip Richards of the C and keep him; they learned that lesson with Eric Lindros.
In the nine years since this trade, Flyers fans, as they will, have bemoaned the trades. Both Richards and Carter won it all with LA, and since that is the ultimate goal, we would obviously have been parading down Broad Street if they had not been traded, right? While I would love to believe that, I don’t. I think both players flourished, and reached their best, in a different market, with a little less pressure. Playing professional sports in Philadelphia is difficult, as fans, we expect a lot from our teams.
When the return on the trade is considered, the Flyers won this trade. Mike Richards is no longer playing, and Carter is on the back side of his career. While the same could be said for Wayne Simmonds, Jake Voracek is still producing nicely. at first glance, this trade might look even, but then Coots, there it is. Part of the deal for Jeff Carter was a draft pick that turned into Sean Couturier, and that addition alone makes the Flyers the winner of this trade.
By: Phyllis Hunter (@flyersfan1129)
photo credit: phalsephillysports.com