- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Exit Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

Welcome to Ilya-delphia.

In a pair of separate shocking trades, the Philadelphia Flyers hit the reset button on a team only a year removed from a trip to the Stanley Cup finals, dealing forwards Richards and Carter, and signing goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year deal.

Gone is Richards, their team captain.

Out is Carter, their leading goal scorer.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren cleaned house _ and cleared needed salary cap space to sign Bryzgalov to a reported $51-million, nine-year deal. The Flyers acquired the rights to Bryzgalov, 31, earlier this month in a deal with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Flyers shed over $100 million in salary _ and a combined 314 goals and 692 points from the duo _ in Thursday’s deals that sent Richards to the Los Angeles Kings and Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“This had nothing to do with the financial (part) at all,” Holmgren said. “What we did today was make two good hockey trades.”

No one saw this Flyers Facelift coming. Richards said he was shocked. Carter declined comment and his agent said there was “total disappointment.”

Holmgren’s voice quivered and his eyes moistened talking about the departure of two key cogs to the franchise. This would be like the Phillies trading Ryan Howard and Chase Utley … on the same day.

Richards wasn’t on the market and the Flyers were going to have to be overwhelmed to trade Carter before acquiring Bryzgalov. Once the Flyers acquired the rights, though, they needed to get the cash, because they were pressed against the salary cap.

So the Flyers dangled the pair. And the Kings and Blue Jackets bit on the eve of the draft.

Flyers chairman, and founder, Ed Snider told The Associated Press the team is closer to winning a Stanley Cup now, rather than before the shakeup.

“Yes, I do,” he said. “I like our goaltending, I like our defense, I like our forwards. We moved things around a little bit. I really think we’re stronger.”

Richards, once viewed as the next Bobby Clarke, was traded for forwards Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a second-round pick. Carter fetched forward Jake Voracek and the club’s first- and third-round picks from the Blue Jackets.

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