Five hours after learning he'd been traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Kings, an emotional Mike Richards said he still was trying to picture himself in a Kings uniform.

For the Kings, it was much easier. General manager Dean Lombardi reached into the Philly pipeline again Thursday and pulled out a blockbuster by acquiring Richards, the Flyers' captain and one of the Eastern Conference's premier centers, for left wing Wayne Simmonds, top prospect Brayden Schenn and a second-round pick in today's entry draft.

The 26-year-old said he was "excited" to join the Kings but didn't hide his mixed emotions.

"I wanted to stay in Philly for the rest of my career," said Richards, who's spent his entire six-year NHL career in Philadelphia. "That's what I envisioned until about 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock this afternoon."

He figured to be a Flyer for a while after signing a 12-year, $69 million contract extension in December 2007. Richards now becomes Kings property until 2020, when he'll be 35, at a cap hit of $5.75 million per season. His contract hits a peak salary of $8.4 million in 2012-13 and gradually decreases to $3 million each of the last two years.

Lombardi said trade talks began with the Flyers about four weeks ago.

"When I found out this player was available, there was no doubt in my mind," he said. "The thought of having him and (Anze) Kopitar down the middle allows us to match up with any team in the Western Conference."

Richards, known as a talented two-way player, increased his goal total every season from 2006-07 to 2009-10, when he scored 31. He dipped to 23 goals and 66 points last season while averaging 18:52 ice time per game.

Richards is reunited with Kings head coach Terry Murray and assistant coach John Stevens, who was the Flyers head coach from 2006 to '09. Murray was a Flyers assistant coach from 2003 to '08.

Along with Richards, the Kings also acquired the rights to prospect Rob Bordson, who becomes a free agent July 1.

It was the second big move the Flyers made Thursday. Philadelphia also traded top goal scorer Jeff Carter to Columbus for for forward Jake Voracek and the club's first- and third- round picks in this year's draft.