The Philadelphia Flyers traded top goal scorer Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jakub Voracek and the club’s first- and third-round picks. I guess that wasnâ€™t enough for the Broad Street Bullies as they finished blowing up the team by dealing their captain, Mike Richards to the LA Kings in exchange for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a 2nd round pick. Then, the Flyers signed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, whose rights they acquired during this off season a third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, forward Matt Clackson, and future considerations, to a nine year, 51 million dollar deal.
I know, right?
The Flyers got the best prospect in hockey, but youâ€™ve got to wonder about the logic behind it. Blowing up the team? Sure, if that team didnâ€™t have the potential to be a perennial contender and hadnâ€™t made the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010. But they did. Not only that but if you planned to get rid of their cap hit/contracts, why sign a goalie to a nine year, 51 million dollar deal?
Youâ€™ve got to wonder whether or not those rumors about the dressing room problem with Richards, Pronger, Carter et al were true. When you put the pieces together, there were just too many scandalous rumors circulating about a toxic dressing room environment for there not to be something to it.Richards and Carter had NTCs kicking in July 1 on their 12-year contracts, but it’s hard to find another conclusion when Holmgren subsequently signed Bryzgalov to a nine-year deal.
What does this mean for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Make no mistake, this was a extraordinarily rare opportunity at a shot at not one, but two elite centermen; the exact need Burke is trying to address this summer. The fact that the Leafs are an Eastern Conference team might have hurt Burke’s chances as much as anything. The package LA forked over for Richards might have been unmatchable, but it seems the Leafs had the value to match or better what Philly fetched from Columbus for Carter.
Update from Darren Dreger: “Dreger: Leafs were also interested in Carter and Kadri was discussed, but Tor wouldn’t include Kulemin to close deal for Carter.
Flyers asked for Kadri and Kulemin from the Leafs for Mike Richards. Toronto said they would consider it, but never heard back from Phi.”
So, what’s left? It’s pretty clear that the Brad Richards race just lost one competitive suitor â€“ the LA Kings, but an even more dangerous one has entered the sweepstakes. The only credible logic behind the events that occurred today is: The Flyers now need a No1 center. Brad Richards is available. They have the cap space and the positional need for just such a player. Apparently massive contracts still aren’t out of the question.
Brian Burke won’t like his lack of involvement in today’s mayhem. Burke is patient when he needs to be (looks like LA and Columbus jumped in with both feet a little quicker than Burke did), and holds a firm line, but you know the most competitive man in hockey is hating this right now. Has today’s insanity woke a sleeping bear? Wouldn’t be surprised at all to see his attention shift Paul Stastny’s way.
2011 Draft Profile: Jonas Brodin
By Alex Tran
Alright. Up until this point in the MLHS draft profile series, I’ve been cautiously optimistic about most of the names I’ve shared. But this one’s different. This guy right here…defenseman Jonas Brodin…this is my guy. This smooth skating Swedish blueliner will be the player I watch most closely on draft day with the hopes that he hears his name called by the Maple Leafs. Boasting remarkable natural ability and terrific upside, Brodin could go as high as just outside the top 10 and as low as the early 20’s.
The Basics: Well-rounded two-way defenseman from Farjestads of the Swedish Elite League; 4 assists in 42 games played
Strengths: Brodin is yet another in the long line of supremely talented and intelligent Swedish defensemen. He plays the game with terrific poise and his hockey IQ is through the roof, allowing him to suit up as a 17 year old (holy smokes!) in the Swedish Elite League. The flow of the game just seems to come so naturally and easy to him, displaying the ability to read plays several moves ahead and dictate the pace from the back end like a 10-year veteran. Brodin plays with a calming influence for the rest of the team and leads the transition game with a great deal of confidence and competence. The passing ability is there, the size is appropriate and the skating ability is excellent.
Weaknesses: I guess I can’t really leave this section blank can I? Oh well. Brodin doesn’t play with much of a physical edge so it is possible that his game won’t translate as effectively to North American ice, though that likely will not be a major issue. He also does not play with a great deal of flash or gamebreaking ability, so don’t expect a cannon from the point or end-to-end rushes on a regular basis. Most scouting services are a little more conservative with his modest offensive upside, but I believe with his hockey IQ, that it will come with time. He could stand to be more assertive as he gets more experience, learning to grab the reins of his own development and step up to become the player many believe he can become.
Draft Day Outlook: ISS has him going at #20, the Hockey News has him going at #22, and Central Scouting has him as the 3rd best European Skater. Thankfully, the scouts polled over at TSN have their heads on right and have him projected as the 10th overall pick. That’s where he belongs. If he is still on the board in the mid first round, this is the player I would trade up for. Swedish super scout Thommie Bergmann has done a fantastic job in recent years and allowing him to finally make a selection in the first round could go a long way in adding a big-time piece to the organization’s core nucleus. Brodin just seems to exude the kind of upside that you can dream on and project as a potential top pairing defenseman in the not too distant future. This is my guy for 2011.
Previous Draft Profiles: