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“The idea was that both of these deals were very attractive to what we need to do in the future,” Luukko said.

General manager Paul Holmgren, the former Flyer, got misty-eyed last week when he announced the trades.

“Both those guys have been here a long time and you sometimes get emotionally attached to your players,” Holmgren said. “I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I believe it’s good.”

Luukko, Holmgren and chairman Ed Snider had come to a consensus it was time to move on from Carter and Richards.

“There could have been other moves made to clear the cap space,” Luukko said. “I just think these options presented themselves to Paul. And Paul, to his credit, had the guts to make these moves.”

Both players were signed to lengthy deals: 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.

Luukko said the Flyers will not shy away from signing players to similar deals just because they got rid of these two.

“We’re not in the business of developing players,” he said, “and watching them walk away.”

Luukko also flatly denied the players were traded because of their dealings with the media, chemistry issues in the locker room or any nightlife activities.

“They’re men,” Luukko said.

In hindsight, Luukko admitted Richards might have been too young when he was named captain. The Flyers aren’t close to naming a replacement and don’t have to until training camp. Luukko even called the captaincy “overrated.”

Maybe so.

But the Flyers are counting on the 19-year-old Schenn as the real deal. Holmgren called Schenn the top player outside the NHL. He had 315 points in 224 games in the Western Hockey League. Holmgren said Schenn will play in the NHL next year at some point, and will earn every opportunity in training camp to start the season with the Flyers.

“I feel ready,” Schenn said.

One year removed from a trip to the Stanley Cup finals, the new players are wildly optimistic they can help the Flyers get back there soon.

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