Has Jeff Carter Played His Last Game as a Blue Jacket?
By Patrick Powell (@Gordsie)
On June 23 of last year, the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired center Jeff Carter from the Philadelphia Flyers in a blockbuster deal. The plan was for Carter and Blue Jackets’ captain, Rick Nash, to make each other better.
49 games into the season, the Blue Jackets hold the dubious distinction for least points (32) in the NHL.
Carter’s feet have failed him again, causing him to miss 19 games, but he and Nash have been unable to get in sync through 30 games. His 17 total points project to a career-low 35 over the rest of the season. In addition, Carter is operating at a minus-9. He has recorded but one minus season in his NHL career (minus-17 in 2006-2007).
As for the man that Blue Jackets’ management brought him in to assist, Rick Nash is on pace for career lows in goals and points since his rookie campaign. Currently, he has 17 goals and 33 points while operating at a minus-21.
Clearly, the plan is failing in Columbus. Head Coach Scott Arniel has already lost his job. To add insult to injury, goaltender Steve Mason, who Blue Jackets’ management expected to take the next step this season, has turned in career lows in goals against average (3.42) and save percentage, an abysmal 0.882 mark. (Maybe the Blue Jackets would be interested in Ilya Bryzgalov? Ok, bad joke)
Earlier this week, Blue Jackets’ beat writer Aaron Portzline responded to widespread speculation and rampant rumors about Carter’s status with the declaration that Carter “is 100% available.”
Now this: NHL sources indicate that Carter has once again requested a trade.
The Carter Experiment has officially failed in Columbus.
Now, Blue Jackets’ management will have to try to recoup equal value for an injury-prone guy with perceived attitude and maturity issues. His contract is an impediment as well- $5.273 million average annual value through the spring of 2022.
On Friday evening, the Chicago Blackhawks acquired veteran center Brendan Morrison in exchange for defenseman Brian Connelly. I mention this because Calgary now appears to be as likely of a destination for Carter as any. They have already acquired Mike Cammalleri, and they have indicated that they will be aggressive buyers. Well, they now need a second line center, and the potential acquisition of Carter would certainly be par for the course.
According to Capgeek.com, the Flames currently have just over $4 million in available cap space. Therefore, they would have to return at least one roster play to the Blue Jackets in a potential deal. Given that the Blue Jackets may want to unload their $5.273 million headache, they may not squabble with the Flames over multiple high draft picks or multiple top prospects.
Perhaps Carter needs to play in an environment where he is not the top guy. If the Flames were to maintain captain Jarome Iginla and keep Olli Jokinen on the top line, Carter may settle into a second line role nicely.
Maybe the Flames don’t take the risk, but one team will.