Flyers trades of Richards and Carter among the most stunning blockbusters in franchise history: Fan reaction

The Philadelphia Flyers acquisition of the rights to pending free agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) indicated that the team was willing to chart a new course. Who knew that the organization would go in such a totally different direction?

The stunning dual trades of team captain Mike Richards(notes), to the Los Angeles Kings, and assistant captain Jeff Carter(notes), to the Columbus Blue Jackets, instantly reshapes the team. The moves also take their place among the most staggering transactions in organizational history.

Snider and Holmgren

Team Chairman Ed Snider is in his late 70s. The Flyers won their only two Stanley Cups in the 1970s.

Snider obviously felt that in order to taste victory again in his lifetime something dramatic had to be done. So, he began saying a month ago that the manner in which the Flyers had performed in this year's playoffs would not be repeated.

That is when he must have directed General Manager Paul Holmgren to do whatever it took to move the team in a new direction.

After emerging from recent meetings, Holmgren made a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes to acquire one of the better goalies coming onto the open market. Ilya Bryzgalov is a true number one net minder who solves a long standing goaltending deficiency.

Mike Richards

Richards was selected twenty-fourth overall by the Flyers in the first round of the 2003 entry draft.

Lingering doubts about his ability to handle the captaincy duties at a young age continually dogged his time in Philadelphia.

The twenty-five-year-old was a solid two-way center who spent six seasons in a Flyer uniform. He appeared in 453 games since the 2005-06 season, scored 133 goals, had 349 assists, was a plus 39 and averaged 19 minutes and 20 seconds of ice time per game.

Chris Pronger(notes), who had been the de facto ice leader, now seems set to become the team's official captain.

Jeff Cater

Carter was another first round selection of the Flyers in the 2003 entry draft. He was taken eleventh overall that year.

The high-scoring twenty-six-year-old center was always an integral part of the team's power play during his six years in Philadelphia.

He appeared in 461 games, scored 181 goals (48 of which came on the power play), had 162 assists, was a plus 51 and averaged 18 minutes and 1 second of ice time per game.

The new road ahead

It will be interesting to see how the organizational shift to a goaltending-focused approach, combined with an influx of new players and draft picks, affects the teams immediate future.

Moving such high profile, high-salaried, players is surely a bold way to attempt to reclaim the Stanley Cup.

I became a Flyers fan during the 1970s. I met Dave Schultz during his "Hammer" days, consider street hockey to be the winter version of wiffle ball, remember Gene Hart as the best there ever was and wore an all-black mesh team jersey to school to honor Pelle's life after that November day. Follow me on Twitter @SeanyOB

More from this contributor:

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Updated Thursday, Jun 23, 2011