As you may have read, Philadelphia Flyers GM, Paul Holmgren made some very intriguing trades over the weekend. He dealt 2 of his best superstars for up and comers that were generating buzz around the NHL water cooler so to speak. Flyers dealt forward, Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Jakub Voracek, the 8th overall pick in the 2011 entry draft and a 3rd round selection. In just his 6 years in the NHL, Jeff Carter has reached the 30 goal mark 3 times and is known as one of the best pure sniping centermen in the league. Jakub Voracek is a prospect generating alot of buzz. Just 3 seasons into his NHL career, he has yet to reach the 20 goal mark but speed and great hands make a guy like Voracek very valuable and dangerous to the opposition.
Short term winner: Columbus Blue Jackets
Lets face facts, pure statistics wise, Carter is the better pickup and Columbus has needed a strong center to accompany Rick Nash. Perhaps this is a deal that could finally push Columbus into the post-season but on the other side of things, this is a deal that hurts Philadelphia in the short term.
Long term winner: Unknown
There just aren't enough solid facts to pick a long term winner right now. Sure it looks like Jakub Voracek is well on his way to having an long prosperous career but that could all change with 1 injury or who knows, maybe he never even reaches 20 goals, stranger things have happened. Philly also gets a strong prospect in the draft in Sean Couturier. Carter is a battle tested and proven player and for now Columbus can look to build on the talent they have to take them to the playoffs.
In a separate deal no more than an hour after the first big trade, the Flyers deal their captain, the most loved player in the city of Philadelphia and they're best player Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. 2 Superstars in 1 hour? That's got to be a record!!!
Short term winner: Los Angeles Kings
No brainier here folks, the Kings pick up one of the leagues best players and one of the great playmakers of the last 20 years in Mike Richards. The guy is a winner at every level of the game. Add Richards to a roster with great talent like Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and a great young net minder in Johnathon Quick. If they weren't contenders before, they are now. After this trade everyone seems to think LA is out of the running for the most valuable free agent this offseason Brad Richards but this writer thinks otherwise. Look at what they've done in the days after this trade, they deal Ryan Smyth to Edmonton in exchange for Colin Fraser and a 7th round pick. That's a 5,450,000 decrease in cap. Still think Richards isn't a possibility in LA? Look at this deal from a business perspective, where in the world does one have better market ability in entertainment than in Los Angeles? LA already has star caliber athletes in the other sports such as Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin Matt Kemp and not to mention the great one that was previously in LA that sparked hockey interest all across the west coast Wayne Gretzky. So sure, you can pencil in that 7 million he will be asking for on the ice but add to that the off-ice endorsements and market ability of LA? That's an extremely lucrative deal but then again who knows, according to nearly every source available the Rangers are still considered front runners for #91.
Long term winner: Los Angeles Kings
Questionable? Yes and that's exactly why LA wins this deal. They get a proven leader and winner on their squad to add to already superlative talent that led them to the post-season this year and may have got them even farther had their marquee center Anze Kopitar not been injured. Philly took all the risk here, again, its all question marks until players like Voracek and Schenn prove that they can produce at a high level in the NHL, these trades go to the teams who get proven power players and in the case with Los Angeles, it makes them a contender for years to come while the Flyers changes might render them unable to even see the post season. Of course one problem they dont expect to have after all this is goaltending inconsistencies now that they've signed Ilya Byzgalov to that 9-year, 51 million dollar contract.
What does this have anything to do with the Penguins? Well, you tell me another team in the Atlantic division that can compete with a squad like Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Neal, Letang and Fleury not to mention the Jack Adams award winning coach Dan Bylsma. And that's not all, with the possibility of adding Jaromir Jagr to the Pens roster that only sweetens the pot.