By PowerPlayCJ @powerplaywithcj on August 3, 2014
Three years ago, the Philadelphia Flyers shocked the hockey world by sending their team captain to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmons. While Simmons and, at times, Schenn have outperformed Richards, the Kings' success since the trade happened is completely undeniable.
The big center has played throughout the Flyers’ lineup and has emerged as a deadly two-way threat. The best is yet to come for the former Brandon Wheat King as he is coming off a career-high 41-point season.
The budding power forward showed some potential in L.A., but has become a prototypical “Broad Street Bully” since arriving in Philly. After netting 29 goals and registering over 100 penalty minutes, it’s clear the 25-year-old is just scratching the surface. Forty goals and 150 penalty minutes next season isn’t out of the question for the rising star.
The biggest “name” in the trade hasn’t produced on the west coast like he did in the City of Brotherly Love, but his leadership and intangibles have been a critical component of the Kings’ success. Two Stanley Cups and counting shows that despite the play of Schenn and Simmonds, the Kings should not have any regrets.
Philly added youth in the trade and Schenn and Simmonds epitomize how the Flyers like to play the game. Richards had also worn out his welcome in Philadelphia and the team was clearing cap space to sign Ilya Bryzgalov. Given the way the Bryz era happened and the Kings’ success makes the move a draw for the Flyers.
While Richards has struggled offensively in L.A., the team has been a postseason powerhouse with Richards leading the way. Two Stanley Cups are just the tip of the iceberg as Richards brought a winning attitude to what had been a moribund franchise and that isn’t changing anytime soon. The Kings will be a contender for a long time and Richards will be at the forefront of that charge.
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