A prominent Blue Jackets forward now has a new home, but it may not be the one you thought. Thursday night, Columbus general manager Scott Howson dealt Jeff Carter to Los Angeles in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick.
While Rick Nash had dominated most of the trade rumors throughout the week, it ended up being Carter who was traded. Though the price for Nash was far greater than just Johnson and an early draft choice, Dean Lombardi chose to address his team's scoring issues by reuniting Carter, a former-40 goal scorer, with his old pal Mike Richards.
Carter has battled through a number of injuries so far in 2011-12 that limited him to just 39 games with the Blue Jackets. He never quite clicked with Nash the way Columbus had hoped, and managed just 15 goals and 10 assists in his short tenure there.
Howson acquired Carter in July of 2011 for Jakub Voracek and a first- and third-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. The Flyers used that first round pick to select Sean Couturier eighth overall.
That was only one of two blockbuster trades the Flyers made that day, as they also sent Richards, Carter’s close friend and team captain, to the Kings for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a 2012 second-round pick. The pair of old Flyers will be together again in Los Angeles, where they will be free to enjoy the nightlife as much as they always used to.
Both Carter and Richards signed long-term contracts with the Flyers in 2010. Now, barring a third change of address, they'll be together again for the foreseeable future. Carter is signed at a salary cap hit of $5.2 million through 2022, while Richards comes with a cap hit of $5.75 through 2020.
The Blue Jackets were one of the few teams that were absolute sellers, given the congested playoff races in both conferences. In an extreme seller's market, one wonders how they didn't get more from the Kings in exchange for a player who has scored over 30 goals in each of the past three seasons.
What gaping holes did they address with this deal? Jack Johnson, who is a fine offensive defenseman in his own right, is also guilty of looking lost at times in his own zone. Wouldn't the Blue Jackets have been better served by targeting Jonathan Bernier, the highly-touted Kings backup netminder who is stuck behind Vezina Trophy contender Jon Quick?
Furthermore, what did the Blue Jackets have to lose by holding out another day? Perhaps Kings general manager Dean Lombardi would have grown more desperate and been willing to part with a prospect like Tyler Toffoli to ensure he'd get his man. It's tough to say that there is any real winner in this trade, but few will argue that Columbus could've done at least a little bit better.
There is a stipulation involved with the pick Columbus will be getting this year. If the Kings make the playoffs, Columbus will have their choice of the Kings 2012 or 2013 first-round selection. However, if they are unable to crack the top eight in the Western Conference, they will surrender their 2012 pick.
Perhaps Howson is ballsy/crazy enough enough to think he can afford to forgo Bernier for Jack Johnson and a 1st because he plans to move down from his likely top-2 pick and take Subban in the draft?
@StevePace That would be an awfully risky proposition considering any goalie is easily a 2-3 year project. And with their new hole up front, passing on Yakupov/Grigorenko would be classically foolish. With that said, stranger things have happened.