Thursday, February 23, 2012

LW/C Jeff Carter to L.A. Kings

Columbus Blue Jackets have ended their partnership with the unhappy Jeff Carter. Blue Jackets send the former Flyer to Los Angeles for D Jack Johnson and a 1st round pick in 2012 (or 2013 if the Kings miss the playoffs this year).

Jeff Carter has been traded to LAK for Jack Johnson and 1st round pick...
Carter will rejoin buddies Mike Richards  and Simon Gagne along with ex-coach John Stevens.


Jeff Carter is good at a few things. Hockey being one of them, another is getting his way. Only eight months after Columbus flew down their GM and star player Rick Nash, among others, to convince Jeff Carter to leave his South Jersey beach house and come to Columbus-- Columbus throws in the towel.

Carter, 27, was traded the same day as his best friend and bar pal, Mike Richards. Richards went to perennial contender Los Angeles. Carter got stuck in Ohio on a team in the midsts of rebuilding. Fast forward to January 2012 and Carter was still pouting. It was rumored he was milking a foot injury and his underperforming was also tied to his discontent in Columbus.

Just 39 games played this year, Carter has 15 goals, 10 assists and 25 points. But in his last 9 games, Carter has 8 points. The news that he would be traded by deadline must have put a strut in his step.

The Kings paid a heavy price to remedy their 29th worst scoring team in the league. Young D stud Jack Johnson showed he can dominate the game in the Olympics in 2010. He had slowly declined in +/- over the last few years, but the consensus is, that Johnson is a top pair defensemen when he hits his stride in a short time.

However, the Kings may not have solved their problem with Carter. Carter is no slouch in the goal column if you look at the numbers alone. But his propensity to miss the net, take too many shots and disappear come playoff time gives me the feeling that the Kings only band-aided their problem.

Carter and Richards may have chemistry which could spark some goals, but they were broken up and traded from Philadelphia for off-ice issues. Moreover, Carter was jettisoned for his inability to raise his game come end of April and after.

Carter's contract is another possible issue. Carter is signed through 2022 at a cap hit of just over $5.25 million. The only bright side to Carter's life time contract is that in five years, that cap hit may be equal to third line defensive forwards, making Carter a steal.

However, no matter how much quick success Carter has in L.A. the winner of this trade will be decided by the results over the next few years. If Johnson and the Kings 1st start a positive rebuild and the Kings are still only also-rans year after year, handcuffed by both Richards' and Carter's deal, the winner will be clear.

Carter's value on paper is high, proven by the two separate trade returns made in under a year. However,  his value in reality is a little less clear. But under the bright lights of Hollywood, it will be put in cement.

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