Columbus Blue Jackets reporter Aaron Portzline writes that Paul Holmgren offered the BJs both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards back in 2011:
Sources have told The Dispatch that the blockbuster trade swung between the Blue Jackets and Flyers on June 23, 2011, could have been much larger in scope, perhaps in a way that would have assuaged Carter’s feelings toward playing for the Blue Jackets.
After weeks of haggling between Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren and then-Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson – did the Jackets want Carter or Mike Richards? would the Jackets include a prospect, first-round pick, and maybe another decent pick? – the two sides began to narrow in on a deal that would send promising left wing Jake Voracek, a first-round pick, and a third-round pick to the Flyers for the veteran Carter.
Holmgren hemmed and hawed for a few days until GMs began showing up in St. Paul and Minneapolis for the draft.
Holmgren called Howson the day before the draft in the morning to tell him he was ready to make the move, but not before he dropped a bombshell on Howson’s lap, one that staggered him and forced him to sit down:
“You want ‘em both?” Holmgren asked Howson, meaning Carter (ital) and (end) Richards.
The Blue Jackets couldn’t do it without trading basically their entire team, so they just got Carter. But this bit of news shows you just how eager Holmgren was to get rid of both Richards and Carter. Richards going to LA was never about Brayden Schenn or Wayne Simmonds… it was about Holmgren inexplicably blowing up his team and needing to replace his fan-favorite(-ish) captain with a similar player who, as Holmgren admitted, projected to be like Mike.
You get the sense that the goals of the trades were, in this order, A) get rid of Richards and Carter, and then B) make the team better. I won’t even harp on how B still isn’t really working out.