Here's video, courtesy of Puck Daddy, of Paul Holmgren's press conference in Minneapolis.
This is a make or break move for Homer. If it works out, it will go down as one of the smartest, ballsiest things a GM has ever done. If it doesn't… well, you remember that scene in Goodfellas where Tommy was supposed to be made? Homer will have to pay for that thing. He killed a made man.
This has a distinct Cliff Lee-Roy Halladay trade feel to it. We've spent the last month pining for a goalie, and now we got him. At what cost? Jeff Carter was moved to clear cap space, but the Mike Richards deal wasn't required. The Flyers would have had enough cap room to sign Bryzgalov with Carter gone. The Richards deal had nothing to do with a goalie.
This tells us two things:
1) The Flyers aren't done.
Trading Richards cleared up even more cap space. The Flyers will now have roughly $8 million to re-sign Leino and others, or go after a more impactful player.
2) It was a Richards thing.
This team has spent the last six years promoting Richards as "the future" and the greatest leader the team has seen since Bobby Clarke. He's gone now. There has to be something more that happened. Just a year ago, he was praised for leading the team to within three periods of a Stanley Cup (think about that for a minute). For most of last season, he captained the second best team in hockey. Yesterday, he was traded for a rookie- albeit a very good one.
Rarely, if ever, will you see a team – capable of winning now – trade two superstars. It might not have been broken, but it was fixed. That's how the whole Lee-Halladay trade felt. Lee didn't need to be traded to make room for Halladay. In this case, Richards didn't need to be traded to make room for Bryzgalov… he was traded for other reasons. That's the part I'm having trouble getting my head around. In a vacuum, would the Flyers have traded Richards for Schenn? Probably not. This signals a much larger shift in direction, philosophy, and, ultimately, the end of an era.
Dan Hershberg, who is much more rational about this than I am right now, takes a look at the other side – the upside – below.