There’s no shortage of reasons for NHL general managers to pass on Jeff Carter at the trade deadline. The Columbus forward is injury-prone, his attitude has been called into question, he’s earned a reputation for partying a little too hearty, and last but not least, there’s his contract that stretches all the way through 2021-22 with a cap hit of $5.3 million.
All that said, TSN insider Darren Dreger isn’t convinced Carter’s untradeable.
The L.A. Kings have moderate interest. The Calgary Flames may take a run, though contractually it’s hard to imagine how Jay Feaster finds the fit. And as much as Leafs GM Brian Burke loathes the mega-contracts, Jeff Carter is the player Toronto is looking for in a lot of ways.
The Kings speculation makes a certain amount of sense, as L.A. needs scoring badly. Plus, it would allow Carter to reunite with his old Flyers teammate, Mike Richards. (Sure, those two were a little out of control when they were together in Philadelphia, but when was the last time anyone partied in Los Angeles?)
Calgary? Seems unlikely, but the Flames did make a run at Brad Richards over the summer, plus Olli Jokinen’s a pending UFA.
Dreger rightly notes the Leafs are in desperate need of a first-line center like Carter, and have been for a while. The holdup would be the contract – both the length and the front-loaded structure. Burke has been among the most
uppity outspoken when it comes to that kind of contract.
“These deals that are front-end loaded and have small amounts on the back end in my opinion are designed to circumvent the salary cap,” Burke said during the summer. “I won’t do them, I never have, I’m not going to.”
One last team I’ll throw out there (after which I’ll get ridiculed in the comments section) is Washington. No, not just because Nicklas Backstrom is out indefinitely with a concussion – that’s a short-term problem (hopefully). And yes, Carter’s a center – but he can play the wing.
Adding Carter would obviously give Washington another goal-scoring threat, which could subsequently take some of the opponent’s defensive focus off Alex Ovechkin. But it would also allow the Caps to let Alex Semin walk away on July 1, or even trade him prior to the deadline.