The Philadelphia Flyers weren’t the most active team in the offseason this past summer, but they made the moves that had the most impact, with the biggest names.
At the time, they seemed ludicrous. Trading not only the captain, Mike Richards, but also a 30-goal scorer in Jeff Carter. Richards was traded to the Kings, while Carter was sent to the Blue Jackets, but has since found his way to Hollywood to revive his bromance with Richards.
Paul Holmgren also inked Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year contract. That still seems nuts no matter how well Bryzgalov plays, but it appears to have solved their problem between the pipes as Bryz is now a hero in the City of Brotherly Love. For now.
But the big one was the deal with the Kings, which sent their embattled captain, and all nine years remaining on his contract, away to LA for prized prospect Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. The Kings got the franchise player that they had been seeking, while the Flyers landed Schenn, who was coveted by many teams.
The trade was expected to boost the Kings in the Western Conference and help them continue their jump into Stanley Cup contention, while trading both Richards and Carter away left many questioning what the Flyers were doing. Not anymore.
Schenn hasn’t been the player the Flyers have hoped, but injuries have held him back for much of the season, concussions in particular. However, the 20-year-old has flashed plenty of potential and could be a star in the making for the Flyers.
It’s the performance from Simmonds, though, that makes the Flyers winners of this trade before Schenn even morphs into the superstar many expect him to be.
Sixty-nine games into the season, Simmonds has already eclipsed his career mark for points in a season. He has 41 on the year, including 22 goals, four of them of the game-winning variety and nine on the power play. He’s also brought the brawn this year, with 122 hits. He’s become a key piece of the Flyers this season and is now a key moving forward.
Los Angeles hasn’t had such luck. Richards has had his own share of injury issues and hasn’t exactly had the scoring touch when healthy either. He’ll likely end up with his lowest scoring total since the 2006-2007 season.
And that’s just looking at the players involved in the trade. The Flyers have not missed Richards for second this season, thanks to a potent offense led by a breakout year from Claude Giroux. The Kings aren’t necessarily hoping for Simmonds or Schenn back, but haven’t found answers for their lack of scoring this season.
Things could obviously change. Richards could come back next year and turn back into the guy we saw for some of his great years in Philly, or Schenn could turn out to be a bust. But if things continue on the track on which they’re going, the Flyers surely have the better end of this trade over the Kings, and it’s not even close.