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Before Thursday, the Flyers didn’t have a pick until the third round. Now, they’ll pick eighth overall on Friday night.

Richards said he had “no idea” why the Flyers traded him.

The reasons are more than monetarily based, though that played a factor. Richards and Carter still had plenty of years remaining on monster contracts _ Richards has nine years left on a 12-year extension he signed in 2007, and Carter agreed in November to a $58-million, 11-year pact.

Forwards James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux have instantly become new cornerstones for the Atlantic Division champions, who were surprisingly swept in the second round by the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Boston Bruins.

“I think we have two good young players there that are on the verge of doing even better things for our team,” Holmgren said. “So that certainly was a factor, particularly Claude. I view Claude as sort of Mike Richards-like in his competitiveness and his ability to do a lot of things for us offensively and defensively.”

Giroux and van Riemsdyk combined for 13 points in the playoffs. Carter and Richards had seven, including just one goal.

“We’ve gotten younger and I think we’ve gotten stronger,” Snider said. “It will really help us tremendously. I think Giroux and JVR and some of our other players have an opportunity to have more ice time and, hopefully, prosper.”

While Giroux and van Riemsdyk produced in the playoffs, the Flyers’ postseason run was short-lived because of problems in net. In the 11-game postseason, Philadelphia used three goaltenders with little success: Sergei Bobrovsky, Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton. Bryzgalov would help to solve that three-pronged problem in net.

“He does give us stability,” Holmgren said.

A Vezina Trophy finalist in 2009-10, Bryzgalov went 36-20-10 with a 2.48 goals-against average and seven shutouts last season, but had some shaky moments as Phoenix was swept from the playoffs by Detroit in Round 1.

Bryzgalov and his agent, Ritch Winter, spent two days last week in Philadelphia hammering out details of the contract, and visiting the city.

“When you get a goalie you view as an upper-echelon goalie,” Holmgren said, “you know you have to pay him.”

Snider liked what he saw, too.

“I thought,” he said, “he was a very impressive kid.”

But Philadelphia certainly paid a steep price to find some peace between those pipes.

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