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.
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.