It’s human nature to simply transfer a player’s numbers to another team after a trade, but the human element tends to get lost in the shuffle. After all, NHL teams aren’t just acquiring X amount of points; they’re also adding any number of quirks, insecurities and other traits to the equation.*
When the Philadelphia Flyers traded Jeff Carter to Columbus, he was nakedly devastated. It took him an unusually long time to make a public statement on the matter, so the natural question after his latest trade is how he feels. It’s also tough not to wonder if Jack Johnson might react in a similar way to going from a contender to a pretender.
If you believe public statements, then the verdict is: everyone’s happier than the characters in a schlocky Robert De Niro movie.
Carter: satisfied to little surprise
Naturally GM Dean Lombardi released a glowing statement, but Carter didn’t hesitate to voice his approval, as you can see in this NHL.com article.
“I am obviously excited,” Carter told the Kings’ website. “I am familiar with the team and a lot of guys on the team. I looked at the Kings at the start of the year as being a club in a good position to win. I look forward to coming to L.A. and being a part of it all.”
Imaginary Carter added: “Seriously, there’s a ridiculous amount of Philadelphia Flyers on this team!”
My guess is that the Kings were either No. 1 on his wish list or at least in the top five. The only drawbacks one could imagine probably revolve around a) having to answer inevitable questions about partying with Richards and b) all the pressure that comes from a tenuous playoff run.
Here’s video of Lombardi’s reaction:
Johnson: also quite pleased
Some might be surprised that Johnson seemed pretty happy, but if you look at some of his time with the Kings, it shouldn’t be that surprising. Lombardi was quite frank about Johnson’s NCAA days, as he basically said that Red Berenson allowed him to roam freely instead of learning to play a disciplined defensive style at Michigan.
Eric Smith reports that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said Johnson is “over-the-top” excited about the deal while Aaron Portzline captured these comments from the defenseman:
“I am excited by this, to go to a team that wants me and to play in a great sports city,” Johnson said. “I’m a mid-western boy at heart.”
Key phrase: “A team that wants me.”
Howson on the aborted Carter era
To close things out, Portzline gathered this interesting thought from Howson on Carter’s short stay in Columbus.
“I don’t regret the move (to acquire Carter),” Howson said. “I regret how it turned out. But that’s the nature of pro sports. You move on.”
All things considered, it seems like everyone is moving on with a solid burst of optimism. Logically speaking, I must say that those rave reviews seem genuine, but do you buy them?
* – They’re also separating players from former linemates, which can have little-to-no impact or drastically change an individual’s ceiling.