The Philadelphia Flyers, as announced by the NHL today, will provide the Bruins with their opening-night opponent when they raise the 2010-11 Stanley Cup champions banner to the rafters to start next season.
But after today it’s become obvious the Flyers team that will arrive at TD Garden will not resemble the one the Bruins faced the last two seasons in the playoffs.
In two mega-deals today, the Flyers shipped their captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles and fellow star forward Jeff Carter to Columbus. In exchange, the Flyers got Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn from the Kings, Jakub Voracek from the Blue Jackets and draft picks from both teams.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said today he wasn’t surprised the Flyers shook things up.
“I know they acquired [goaltender Ilya] Bryzgalov, so you knew something was coming just from the cap situation to sign Bryzgalov,” said Chiarelli. “They had to shed some money, so you knew something was coming and it came in a big way.”
The Flyers have since signed Bryzgalov to a nine-year contract worth $51 million. Previously they acquired the netminder’s rights from Phoenix in a trade.
“I respect Paul Holmgren as a manager,” said Chiarelli about his Flyers counterpart, “and when they shake things up, they shake things up.”
Not only do the Flyers loose a ton of talent with the loss of Richards and Carter, they also lose some of their nastiness. For the sake of the Bruins-Flyers rivalry, hopefully they’ll be able to replace that grit and talent.