|Mike Richards Is A KING?!?! Yeah...I'll Drink To That|
Remember when it was rumored that the Kings might be after Vinny Lecavalier back in February 2010? I said this.
Take a look at recent Stanley Cup Winners. In addition to great goaltending; every team's had a great 1A/1B center combination. Penguins with Crosby/Malkin, Red Wings with Datsyuk/Zetterberg, Hurricanes with Brind'Amour/Staal, Lightning with Lecavalier/Richards.
As much as I love Jarret Stoll; he's not in the same-class as any of those players. Some would argue that Brayden Schenn could be that player but I'm not sure the Kings are prepared to wait 3-4 years to find out.
And then remember when the Kings were struggling in January this season and I said this.
DL will wait for a full season of Brayden Schenn before he even considers making a move for an impact player. Schenn will play next season as a 20-year old. A lot of ‘experts’ compare Schenn to Philadelphia’s Mike Richards especially after his breakout performance at the 2011 WJC. Keep this in mind, Richards also debuted for the Flyers as a 20 year old. His breakout year came three years later when he scored 75 points in 73 games. Just saying. Four more years is a longtime to wait.Well, I guess DL agreed that the Kings needed a legit #2 center and just couldn't wait those four years for Schenn to develop. Instead, he dealt Schenn for the 26-year old Flyers captain. I have to type that again. Dean Lombardi traded prized prospect Brayden Schenn along with Wayne Simmonds and 2012 second-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for Mike Richards.
My first reaction was, "We got Mike Richards?!" My next reaction was, "Has Philly lost their mind?"
I was under the impression that Philly had signed Richards and Jeff Carter to long-term deals to watch them finish their careers in Philly. Based on Flyers GM Paul Holmgren's reactions to the deal, I would say he was under the same impression as well.
Holmgren certainly didn't sound like a GM who was happy that he just dealt his team's captain and two players that he'd signed to a combined 23-years worth $127 million. With that said, the pair of trades are directly linked to the Flyers acquisition of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. The trio of moves seems to have the fingerprints of Flyers chairman Ed Snider all over it. A man who witnessed Bernie Parent backstop his Flyers to consecutive Cups in 1974 and 1975. Snider vowed the Flyers would fix their goaltending issues after being swept in the Conference Semi-finals by the Boston Bruins. A series which saw the Flyers tie an NHL record with seven in-game goalie changes. The Flyers goaltending carousel also failed to record a shutout all season.
Was Snider upset with his captain? Perhaps. Snider anointed Richards the 17th captain in franchise history for the start of the 2008-09 season. Richards scored a career-high 80 points but has failed to reach 70 points in each of the last two seasons. Mike Richards relationship with the Philadelphia media has been well-documented for years now. As well as some of his antics off the ice. It looks as though Snider got tired of the act and wanted a major shakeup. Mission accomplished. I would like to personally thank Mr. Snider for being one of the most proactive owners in hockey. I would also like to thank the inabilities of Sergei Brobrovsky, Brian Boucher, and Michael Leighton to stop a puck in the postseason. I would also like to thank Rich Winter, agent of Ilya Bryzgalov for getting his client a ridiculous 9-year, $51-million contract. Without you, none of this would have been possible. Welcome to L.A. Mike Richards!