Why Jeff Carter should have been traded

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Its been no secret that  Flyers GM Paul Holmgren backed himself into a salary cap corner this offseason. Some of his signings were good, some were questionable, some were just plain dumbfounded (I’m looking at you Jody Shelley).

But in the aftermath of all this, the most tenured Flyer, Simon Gagne was traded away for a 4th round pick and Matt Walker, or in Lehman’s terms; nothing & more nothing.

The return we got on Gagne was obviously far below market value because Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman knew that the Flyers were $2.5 million over the salary cap & therefore HAD to move someone.

Homer decided to trade Gagne, & keep among others, Jeff Carter.

Now I’m not one of those people who are acting like Gagne is one of the top 5 players in the league, because he’s not. At this point in his career, he is an above average player that has had his fair share of injuries. I can understand the logic of wanting to trade him for those reasons.

But my question is; why couldn’t Homer have made his “big trade” long before he put his team over the cap & was forced to move salary (therefore theoretically getting bigger return value), and why wasn’t Jeff Carter the one that was traded?

Likewise, I understand Carter is a bigtime goal scorer, 46 goals in 08/09 & 37 goals in an injury shortened 09/10 season. But I have several reasons why #17 should have been the one packing his bags this offseason…

#1. One Trick Pony– Watch Carter, and this is what you’ll see: skating up the sideboards, cross the blue line, wrist shot either high & wide of the net, or directly into the logo on the goalies chest. Next, puck goes back the other way, Carter doesn’t get back on defense quick enough (thanks to his often lazy efforts), therefore, scoring opportunity for the other team.

I understand he scores a lot of goals this way, but it’s so predictable, and easy to contain if you have good defensemen.  Also, if any decent player shot the puck 6-10 times a game like Carter does, they’d light the lamp 30-40 times a season.

Theres a difference between scoring 40 goals Carter’s way & doing it the way someone like Jarome Iginla or Evgeni Malkin does.

#2. He’s a center, but doesn’t make his linemates better- Who are some of the top centers in the league? Crosby, Malkin, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Sedin, etc… What do they all have in common? They do what centers are supposed to do, which is involve your linemates, and most importantly, make them better. Seriously, I think I could probably score 10-15 goals in the NHL if I played on a line with Crosby or Sedin.

My point is that Carter does not involve his teammates nearly enough, and therefore doesnt make them better, which obviously hurts everyone’s production, thus hurting the team.

#3. We have too many centers- Not counting Blair Betts, who is obviously locked in as our 4th line center, we have four centers on our roster & only three lines to put them on. Mike Richards, Carter, Danny Briere, & Claude Giroux are natural centers. Richards, in my opinion should be locked in on the #1 line. That leaves Briere, Carter, & Giroux for the last 2 center spots.

Briere and Giroux both switched to wing from time to time last season, but were not nearly as effective as they were playing at their natural position, as was proved in the playoffs.

From multiple articles that I’ve read, Carter is apparently uncomfortable and/or unwilling to play the wing position. So if logic wins out, and Coach Laviolette keeps the Briere/Hartnell/Leino line together & he leaves Giroux at his best position (center) where does that leave Carter?

#4-Upcoming free agency for Carter & others- This coming offseason, Carter will become a restricted free agent. You will have to assume that even if he has an “average” season, in the neighborhood of 30-35 goals, he will ask for a raise over the $5 million that he makes now, (especially when you consider Mikko Koivu in Minnesota is not nearly the player that Carter is & just signed a new contract for almost $7 million per year). 

Factor that in with other free agents this coming offseason; Leino, Giroux, Zherdev as well as JVR and Matt Carle the following season. Simple math tells you that Flyers are going to have to let someone go, so why not trade the guy who would get you the most value?

#5-We actually can trade him- GM Holmgren gives out no trade clauses like people give out candy on Halloween. Briere, Hartnell, Richards, Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, are all among the Flyers who signed contracts with NTC’s in them.

The one player who doesnt have a NTC, Mr. Carter. Which logically makes him the easiest player to trade simply because you don’t have to beg him to waive his NTC the way Homer had to do for Gagne. Therefore the Flyers are free to trade him anywhere you want, not where the player would prefer to go.

#6- Trade Value- Lets just pretend for a second that we actually did get fair market value for Gagne. What would that have been? My guess is probably a 2nd-round pick at best and maybe a decent prospect, which isn’t bad.

But what is the market value for a 25- year old who has the potential to score 40-50 goals?

If Phil Kessel could get Boston not one but two 1st-round picks, I could only imagine that Carter could get us something in the neighborhood of that deal or ONE high draft pick to help us in the future and even a good player or two who could help us in the now.

With all of that being said, I’m not saying that Carter is trash. In fact, he’s a very talented player. But I just don’t feel he fits this team in many ways. If I were the GM of a team that simply needed a goal scoring threat, I would want Carter. Simply put, he can put the puck in the net.

But if I want a guy to score, make my teammates better and be responsible on defense, Carter wouldn’t be a guy I want, and that’s what the Flyers need.

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