Flyer Shocker Reeks of “Same Old, Same Old”

Mike Richards and Jeff Carter

And just when it seemed like someone was finally getting it.

Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren looked as though he was going to be a pioneer. The GM who decided enough is enough and it’s time to end these ridiculously lengthy contracts.

I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

After trading the two cornerstone players of the Flyers franchise in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter for young prospects and draft picks, Holmgren went out and messed it all up. He signed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 year, $51 million contract. He got rid of two bad contracts in order to make room for one really bad contract.

Richards who had 9 years left on a 12 year contract and Carter who has his new 11 year contract extension kick in next season both were shocked by a deal that came completely out of left field.

Apparently NHL GM’s enjoy torturing themselves. These contracts are like a bad marriage. The one’s that last only because there’s a kid involve. It’s great until you realize the person that you married isn’t the same person anymore. However, by the time you realize it you’re tied down.

Signing long contracts to avoid a cap hit is no different.

According to sources, the Flyers weren’t happy with their franchise cornerstones. The work ethic that garnered them their lengthy extensions was falling. They were partying too hard. Rumours have been floating around for a while. Richards and Carter had changed. The marriage was failing.

It was amazing that Holmgren found a way to get out. He got a good return on his unwanted investment while the value was still high. Holmgren received ultra-prospect Brayden Schenn, Jakub Voracek, the 8th overall pick, Wayne Simmonds and a 3rd rounder. Brilliant.

For some reason Holmgren reeled himself back in.

The Flyers have desperately needed goaltending though. Of course that’s what Holmgren is thinking. But the amount of foolishness involved in committing 9 years to a 31-year-old goalie is almost unimaginable. History is repeating itself again in the National Hockey League.

Did he not witness the Vancouver Canucks suffer at the hands of their $64 million man? Does Holmgren not even comprehend the lost motivation and deteriorating play of his former stars upon receiving their long contracts?

Obviously this old dog doesn’t get it.

Neither does anyone else in the NHL.

Related: Note to NHL GM’s – This is Getting Out of Hand

In an attempt to set his team up well for the future, Holmgren unknowingly has devastated it. The cap space opened up by the departure of Carter and Richards was necessary to free up room for Bryzgalov. Consequently, the signing of Bryzgalov will hurt their chances of locking up their future stars like Brayden Schenn, Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk.

Good thing the Flyers don’t have to worry about that right at this moment. Phew.

These GM’s keep going back to the same bad girlfriend. The guys that will always find a way to get with the same type of girl no matter how bad it has been. The guys just never seem to recognize it.

Is Columbus GM Scott Howson brain-dead for not noticing that Jeff Carter’s scoring totals have dropped significantly in the last two years? Is he brain-dead for not noticing that the Blue Jackets don’t have the team to contend despite now having a first-line center to play with star winger Rick Nash?

You would have thought that the disastrous contracts of past years would make these GM’s a little more shy.

For all we know, maybe the names Wade Redden, Scott Gomez, Brian Campbell, Vincent Lecavalier and Rick DiPietro don’t ring a bell to them.

Clearly, a disaster of Vesuvius proportions will have to occur to make NHL GM’s realize the error of their ways.

The Tim Thomas fountain of youth isn’t experienced by many. I wonder if Bryzgalov has access to it.

A large part of a players motivation stems from the fact that he has a contract looming in the future. The Flyers put the trust in Carter and Richards that they had enough character not to lose that motivation. It didn’t work out.

Why should we believe it will work in a different city?

The Flyers themselves are once again trying to build from within but this go around they are stuck with an aging goaltender. It won’t be an overnight maturation for their young guns to get the Flyers to the point where they are true contenders. By that time, they’ll see that Ilya is not the same goalie. He won’t be the man they thought they had.

He’ll be older and not nearly as sexy. It is what is to become of all these nonsensical contracts.

They should think like Hugh Heffner instead. Trade ’em in when they’re older and breaking down. Well, at least don’t pay them as much.

Someone will eventually come in and change the landscape of the NHL. A new dog will show everybody new tricks. All the old dogs will wonder why they never bothered to learn.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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