Note: this is all about my view. I'm not trying to be overly didactic and as this is a blog feel free to disagree.
So there's been a lot of talk about possible trades involving Jeff Carter. I have to say that I have partaken in such discussion because in my view there are significant positives in a potential Carter trade. But I don't necessarily agree with everyone on the reasons and potential results of such a trade. So here I am to air my view:
The Wrong Reasons
1. Carter chokes in the big moments - to be fair to him, he was a fairly useful player last season in the playoffs despite injuring his shoulder, which is important for a sniper and center. This season, he was possibly playing with two partially healed feet, rushed in to react to the Game 3 loss against Montreal. That obviously would have affected his effectiveness. I still reckon he should've got that goal in and won us game 6, but that alone is not a reason to trade our top sniper. Besides, this would be too much of an emotional knee-jerk reaction.
2. We need an elite goaltender - a straight swap Carter for Tomas Vokoun might have won us the cup this season. But there's so much risk involved. We don't know whether an elite goaltender like Roberto Luongo or Henrik Lundqvist (not that we could possibly get those guys) would make a difference. Because Brodeur, Lundqvist and Luongo weren't duelling in the Stanley Cup Finals: Michael Leighton and Antti Niemi were. Carter is a potential 40+ goal scorer, and we can't afford to lose that goal scoring, in my opinion, for a cap-eating goaltender who may or may not make a difference.
3. Carter doesn't play with enough heart - it's impossible to quantify heart. What might appear to be a lack of heart might be skating hampered by pain in both feet.
4. Carter just isn't that good - which is wrong. If we trade Jeff Carter. We should know that we are trading a very good player, our best face-off man (OK that's not saying much), our leading scorer, a big guy who can lay hard checks and be solid defensively. He was the first in line replacement on the Canadian olympic team.
The Right Reasons
1. Carter is the most tradeable and valuable of our tradeable assets - we would get no better return for anyone else. Briere, Gagne and Hartnell - even forgetting how hard it would be to trade them in the first place and how they performed for us in the playoffs - wouldn't fetch us anything as much as Carter would.
2. Carter isn't necessary for this team's success - we made it through much of the playoffs with no Jeff Carter/an injured and underperforming Jeff Carter. And we made it through to the Stanley Cup Finals. I think it possibly shows that we can make another run without him. This isn't certain though
3. Carter will not be playing in his desired position with the Flyers - Briere-Giroux-Richards-Betts should be how we go forward into next season. Putting Giroux/Briere at wing only hurts us. Briere has hit 90 points before when he was centering a line with good chemistry. We should give him the opportunity he needs because he has always been a very good player that's got some unnecessary flak in Philly.
4. Carter realistically will leave the Flyers eventually - this is the most compelling argument to me. Let's just take a look at this:
Here you can see our cap situation going forward. Notice that after 10/11 a lot of our forwards come off the books. The main guys to note are: Simon Gagne, Claude Giroux, Ville Leino and Jeff Carter. In many ways Leino has stuffed up our plans going forward. Because that trade all of a sudden gives us a valuable young asset to re-sign. Let's say Gagne + Carter re-sign for around the same combined salary because Gagne takes a paycut. That gives us very little (even anticipating a salary cap raise) to sign both Giroux and Leino. The next season we'll have to get JVR signed as well and hopefully Reimer will have shown us something to make him valuable by then.
So unless we plan to lose Carts as RFA (we would get compensation I guess), or give up on one of our three amazing prospects, we will need to trade him eventually. We might as well do it when his value is high.
What do we get out of it?
There's plenty of possible scenarios. Some suggest a straight swap for a scoring winger from another team. If the value is roughly even or in our favour, then surely this would only help us. Others suggest a prospect goalie + picks/prospects, which could work in our favour depending on who the prospect goalie is. I'm not sure on what we would get for Carter and what other teams would give. But I do think that picks + prospects is a good way to go, because unless we want to end up having an offseason like Chicago having to dump salary in what will end up being very one-sided deals, we need to have a balance between established players and elite prospects playing above their contracts.
So what do people think? Feel free to disagree.
Additional note: I asked the folks at Jewels From the Crown for their input as to a possible deal with LA. Read what they have to sey here.