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PhiLAdelphia Story: Top 5 Kings-Flyers Trades

by Jesse Cohen @KingsMenPodcast /

The LA Kings opened their inaugural season on this day 50 years ago with a 4-2 defeat of the Philadelphia Flyers in the Long Beach Arena.

Much has been made of the recent ties between the Flyers and Kings, but the tradition of sharing players and personnel dates back to the very early years of the two clubs existence. With all that history in mind and the home opener set to be played tonight at STAPLES Center against the Flyers, we bring you:

The Top 5 Trades Between the LA Kings and Philadelphia Flyers

No. 5 - Mike Byers

The first trade between the two franchises took place on May 20, 1970 in the week leading up to the expansion and entry drafts.

Philadelphia, concerned about defensive depth, sent the 23-year-old Byers to Los Angles for defenseman Brent Hughes.

Byers appeared in 100 games with the Kings, racking up 31 goals and 23 assists during his time in Los Angeles, while Hughes managed to compile five goals and 41 assists over 122 games in a Flyers uniform.

Both men had careers that took them all over the continent, playing for a combined 12 teams, and each found himself back in Southern California after their time with the Kings. Byers played for the Los Angeles Sharks while Hughes suited up for the San Diego Mariners, both of the WHA.

No. 4 - Dave Schulz

Dave "The Hammer" Schultz racked up a staggering 2,294 penalty minutes in just 535 NHL regular season games and an additional 412 in just 73 NHL playoff games. During four seasons in the AHL, and one in the now defunct Eastern Hockey League, he earned another 1,391 penalty minutes.

That's a staggering 3,685 penalty minutes in 813 regular season games, or 4.5 PIMs per game.

Schultz still holds the record for most penalty minutes in a single season with 472. Only three other times in NHL history has a player eclipsed the 400-minute mark. And one of those three was yet another by Schultz.

Before the start of the 1976 season, Schultz was traded by the Flyers to the Kings in exchange for two future draft picks (4th round pick in 1977 and a 2nd round pick in 1978). Schultz only played 84 games for the Kings and never reached the heights he did with the Flyers, where he won the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons and helped cement their reputation as "The Broad Street Bullies."

However, in his one full season in Los Angeles, Schultz led the Kings in penalty minutes with 232 while also registering 30 points (10 goals and 20 assists).

No. 3 - Jari Kurri

Jari Kurri never played for the Philadelphia Flyers. In fact, he was only with the club for less than one full day. Yet, he's still part of one of the biggest trades between the two clubs.

After spending a season playing for HC Devils Milano in Italy, his rights were traded to Philadelphia by the Edmonton Oilers in a multi-player trade.

The Flyers then swapped those rights and defenseman Jeff Chychrun to the Kings in exchange for high scoring defenseman Steve Duchesne, forward Steve Kasper and a 4th round draft pick. Duchesne had scored 292 points in his first five seasons, leading Kings defensemen in scoring each season.

Despite the big asking price, the Kings felt that acquiring Kurri would vault them into serious Stanley Cup contention. At the time of the trade he was the second highest playoff scorer of all time, behind only former Oilers teammate and then-Kings captain Wayne Gretzky.

Kurri provided exactly the offensive boost the Kings needed during their run to the 1993 Stanley Cup Final, scoring nine goals and 17 points in 24 games.

As a member of the Los Angeles Kings, Kurri totaled 293 points in 331 games and created some truly incredible memories for fans while playing alongside Gretzky.

Jari Kurri Scores in a Burger King Jersey

No. 2 - Mike Richards and Jeff Carter

The Flyers trading Mike Richards in the summer of 2011 may have been one of the biggest trades in the modern NHL Era.

At the time of the trade, Richards had already won the Memorial Cup, the Calder Cup, a World Junior Gold Medal and an Olympic Gold Medal. He had been named to the Memorial Cup All-Star team, the NHL All-Star Team (2008), and he had led the Flyers over the Boston Bruins in a playoff series in which they trailed 3-0, a feat that hadn't been accomplished in 35 years.

The Kings had learned the value of depth after losing to the Sharks without an injured Anze Kopitar, and felt sure acquiring a player like Richards was crucial to escape the first round of the playoffs and contend for the Stanley Cup.

Then the Kings then double downed on their bet.

The team was struggling to score goals, so in the days leading up to the 2012 trade deadline, the Kings traded for another former Flyer.

Jeff Carter, who had previously been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the same day as the Richards, was flipped to Los Angeles for Jack Johnson and a conditional 1st round pick. The price was steep, but the Kings were on the playoff bubble and couldn't afford to miss the postseason.

The rest, they say, is history.

We'll never know if the Kings would have acquired Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets if they hadn't previously acquired Richards, but the end result was a locker room full of former Flyers hoisting the Stanley Cup in Los Angeles.

Fans still debate over who won the trade as Richards has departed from Los Angeles while Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn continue to have productive careers in Philadelphia.

There are no absolute conditions to determine a trade winner, but while Richards was with the Kings he padded his resume with two Stanley Cup championships and became the only player in NHL history to win two playoff series after trailing 3-0.

There may never be a truly clear answer as to which team "won" the Mike Richards trade, but at least we know the Sharks lost.

No. 1 - Dean Lombardi

Perhaps no one other than Gretzky has had the kind of impact on the Kings as Dean Lombardi.

Lombardi served as a Western Conference scout for the Flyers from 2003 until the Kings hired him to replace former General Manager Dave Taylor.

Since taking over in 2006, he has transformed the Kings into a perennial Cup contender. Under his stewardship the Kings have won the Stanley Cup twice, reached the Conference Finals three times and sent droves of players to All-Star games, Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey.

His experience in Philadelphia as well as his tenure as the GM of the Sharks enabled him to surround himself with some of the most talented and insightful hockey minds in the game.

It's hard to imagine an organization as competitive and desperate to win as the Flyers allowing someone like Lombardi to get away.

Fortunately for the fans in Philadelphia, the Flyers were compensated for the loss of Dean Lombardi.

The Kings sent a second round pick to the Flyers who used it to draft Mike Ratchuk. The 28-year-old Ratchuk has yet to appear in an NHL game and is currently playing for the Sheffield Steelers in the Elite Ice Hockey League… in England.

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