Now that the dust has settled in Philadelphia, it’s important to reflect on the entire situation before judging. Take it all in before reaching your negative (in most cases) conclusion.
If Team X loses Jeff Carter and Mike Richards and gains Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, then Team X loses this trade. As per Angus’ Golden Rules of trading – they are giving up ‘quality’ and ‘proven’, for ‘quantity’ and ‘unproven’. However, the salary room that this creates evens the deal up a little. And the fact that they used that salary to sign a Top 8 goaltender in the league solves a major issue with them – and sates the angry fans. But that’s not the entire picture. That is the “obvious” picture that a lot of analysts and fans are looking at and commenting on, mostly saying that the Flyers are worse off.
Not true. And here is why.
With Carter, Richards, Danny Briere and Claude Giroux, they had four centermen who would be No.1 on most teams. So all of them suffered. Carter was forced out of his position and often Briere was as well. All four took hits in ice time and power-play time. The team lacked role players. Is a team with 12 top centers a Cup winning team? Hell no. You need energy guys, grit guys, tough guys and face-off guys. Moving out two of them pushes the Giroux and Briere power-play time from three minutes each per game to four. Getting rid of two centers slots everyone back into their proper position - is Carter playing right wing better than Voracek? By a lot? Obviously, he's miles ahead of Voracek as a centerman, but on the wing he just wasn't as effective. It wasn't the "real" Jeff Carter who was playing, it was a shadow of himself. Briere was also a shadow of himself on the wing.
You could almost re-word the transactions to say:
"Shadow-Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Shadow-Danny Briere, Sergei Bobrovsky out; Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Ilya Bryzgalov and Real-Danny Briere in."
Now let's address the character of the team. Obviously, Richards was the heart-and-soul and fans can only hope that Schenn could blossom into that kind of character player. But Simmonds has a lot of heart, which helps, but isn't enough. Then again - were there too many cooks in the kitchen? Briere, Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger are all former captains, while Scott Hartnell could probably be one. This may be addition by subtraction. It's certainly addition by subtraction when they walk away from Nik Zherdev later this week!
And how perfect is Brayden Schenn as the third-line center? The pressure is off, yet he'll get enough ice time to continue his development. And if one of Briere or Giroux gets hurt, he'll fill in nicely.
On the surface, the pessimists have a strong point. But it's only when you delve deeper, do you see the beauty of what the Flyers did. The pieces fit into place a lot better - no more square pegs in round holes. Centers are centers and wingers are wingers. Checkers are checkers and scorers are scorers. Everyone has a role, and one of the worst prospect pipelines in the league is now up to at least the middle-of-the-pack.
Perhaps the Philadelphia Flyers will take a season to gel and find their new identity, but I think this team is stronger than it was a week ago.