The Jeff Carter Dilemma

Now, I’m no mathematics major, but from my calculations, it feels as though 90% of Philadelphia Flyers fans do not want to see Jeff Carter in Orange-and-Black. But, before we get into that…

In case you’ve been on Mars for the past two days, or still recovering from that Patrick Kane Stanley Cup-winning goal, the Flyers have made quite a splash in Free Agency – whether if you agree or disagree with the decisions.

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Flyers announced they have re-signed goaltender Michael Leighton for a two-year contract worth $3.1-million. Just minutes until the Free Agent puck-drop at 12 p.m. Thursday afternoon, the club announced it has traded a second round pick in 2012 for Tampa Bay defenseman Andrej Meszaros – a deal that I love – and re-signed defenseman Braydon Coburn to a two-year contract worth $6.4-million. The Flyers also announced the signings of free-agent tough guy Jody Shelley and bottom pairing defenseman, Sean O’Donnell.

Back to the infamous Cartier.

I can confirm through many sources high in the organization that, unless a deal comes along that absolutely knocks the socks off of Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren, or unless ‘the Flyers acquire a superstar’ Carter isn’t going anywhere. Period. Paul Holmgren has mentioned that he gets lots of calls from other general managers and it’s always a short conversation. He is considered untouchable to many.

So why?

Most of you view Carter as this – Lazy, sticks out like a sore thumb defensively, a locker room cancer, a party boy, a non-playmaker who always wants to shoot the puck, doesn’t sacrifice for his teammates and suffers from the infamous – Jim Jackson High-and-Wide syndrome.

I’ll tell you why. The 25-year old has upside around the National Hockey League that is unimaginable. Drafted with the 11th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Carter was tabbed as a can’t miss, franchise center – and through his first five seasons, Carter is still considered that by many scouts and executives around the NHL.

Flyers’ head coach Peter Laviolette is the only man to decide if Carter is a lazy player, and from Laviolette conversations – he is not. Carter’s skating stride comes so easily that to some, may look like he is taking plays off – I am not getting into the locker room situation because that is something that will never be spoken of on the record. There is nothing wrong with a player always wanting to shoot the puck, it’s what coaches teach you from your pee-wee days. Getting pucks to the net generates many offensive chances through rebounds, goals or offensive zone face-offs.

Carter is a scoring threat anywhere in the offensive zone, and there aren’t too many NHL players with that ability. He possesses one of the hardest wrist shots in the game and can score goals from anywhere on the ice.

Through the last two seasons, Carter has 79 goals, including 46 goals as a 23-year old, and 66 assists. Find me players around the League who match those numbers. We are talking about superstar players.

If you know how Holmgren works, he is always looking to make his team better and improve the squad. With Carter’s production evident (past three seasons: 238 GP, 108G), chances are very slim that the Flyers find a way to get better after losing the services of Carter.

The Flyers drafted Carter, is a homegrown product and are not going to give up a player so proven, and sought after, for a player who is unproven. It just doesn’t work that way.

Every NHL player is going to have rooms to improve, or short comings. But Jeff Carter is a franchise centerman who possesses and excellent offensive acumen and great size for the center position. He displays great skating ability and a hard, accurate (more times than not) shot.

Despite what you may think by reading this, I’m not the biggest Carter fan in the world, but I’m just telling you how the organization feels and why they feel that way.

When the Flyers visit Pittsburgh in October, don’t be surprised if the famous Jeff Carter is the number one center, playing on the top-line with Mike Richards on his wing.

Whether you like him or not, it’s easy to see why a player of this caliber is deemed “untouchable”.

NOTES: With contracts rewarded to 21 players and only just under $600,000 in cap space, sources say the Flyers are shopping three forwards, Simon Gagne, Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell to afford the qualifying offers to Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe and possibly another goaltender.

10 Responses to The Jeff Carter Dilemma

  1. Chris Tartaglia

    I don’t see Briere leaving. He was far & away the best forward the entire playoffs. Unless the offer to too good to pass up I’d hope they keep him. And we can’t forget those 3 letters that make this nearly impossible unless Danny wants to leave: NMC

    With Carter, it drives me nuts that this guy can’t play wing. WTF is that shit? He HAS to be center & we all saw how useless he is on the wing in the SCF. So now at center that leaves Carter, Briere, Richards, Giroux, Betts. Briere is not that good at wing either, but can do it.

    I like Carter…..but I like the idea of how much he would bring back to the Flyers in a trade even more.

    I guess at the end it’s a good problem to have, unless he’s floating his way to barely 30 goals again.

  2. agreed,good story, but i still personally have a grudge against him haha.

  3. Chris: thanks for reading and commenting – Richards played the wing in 2007, 08 and this year at the Olympics, I think if push comes to shove you may see Carter, Briere, Giroux down the middle. But I agree with you about his non-versatility.
    Wan: Thanks friend 🙂

  4. Great article, my dad alwaya said great centers are hard to come by and wings are a dime a dozen. I think its a smart move to be heavy on solid centers. Look what happened last year with the lines after all the injuries. They were able to fill the gap when Carter went down and were successful because of having natural centers that can float on the wing. GO FLYERS!!! is it October yet, somebody wake me up when we get to Pittsburgh.

  5. i hope hartnell leaves doesn’t do anything during the season

  6. Kevin Harquail

    Well written, I would have to say that giving this a good thorough read, my fickle attitude towards Carter has somewhat changed because of the points you bring up. Can’t say i’m happy with any talk of Briere or Gags going anywhere though, I guess we just wait and see what happens.

  7. I have calmed down since the SCF with regards to Carter. I feel like he played as well as he could given the fact he rushed back from “season ending” injuries twice. If he gets a little more accurate with his shots (I’m tired of seeing high and wide or right to the goalies logo from him) I think we’re better off keeping him. But he’s going to make too much money in his career to struggle to score 30 goals. I don’t want to see Gags or Hartnell or Briere go anywhere, but if I had to choose one it’d be Briere. I think he and Leino are very similar players, and we don’t have anyone else quite like Hartnell on the team. In the end though, it’s going to be goaltending that kills us again.

  8. Couple of things about Jeff that stick out to me:
    1. He played the SCF with two broken feet. So maybe he is not as soft as I used to think.
    2. This is the 2nd year in which he shanked a vital would-be goal in the playoffs. Pitt game 2 last year and SCF game 6 in OT this year. THIS bugs me the most.
    3. Through his first five seasons, Carter has 145 goals and 277 points. Through his first five seasons, Vincent Lecavalier had 114 goals and 261 points. So I can see why the Flyers want to keep him.

  9. Debbie Crennan

    Great article but have issues with the Flyers talking about moving Gagne. He is a proven leader, goal scorer and certainly comes thru when the job needs to get done. IMO Gagne should retire as a Flyer.

  10. Awesome article. I don’t seem to recall all this talk of what would be great if Carter got traded when he scored 40+ goals. I remember a lot of sighs of relief he wasn’t traded for Kaberle.

    There are only 7-10 guys that are ahead of him in goals since the lockout, and they include Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin, Kovelchuk, and a few others, all of which are unobtainable to the Flyers, and all of which have contracts in excess of 6-7 Mil.

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