FanPost

Why Trading Jeff Carter Makes Sense

(Please note this based entirely on speculation. All stats are from ESPN, Yahoo, and the NHL.)

So I'll begin this by making a BOLD statement. Anyways: The Philadelphia Flyers NEED to trade Jeff Carter. Yes Carter was third in points with 68 and led the team in goals with 36. But Carter does not fit in with this team unfortunately. He is a talent, a gem even. But he doesn't work within this system. It's almost like Rod Brind'Amour. Amazing Player I was sad to see him be traded, but the Flyers traded him because they needed a player like Keith Primeau more. Tough moves sometimes have to be done for the better of the whole team.
I'll begin this by answer (1) why? And then (2) for whom/to whom?

Goals per Shots

First, Carter's goal to shot ratio last year was horrific, he scored once every 9.31 shots last season. The next highest SOG Flyer was Danny Briere, who shot 246 times, 89 times less than Carter. Below those two was Mike Richards, who only shot 184 times this season. Although high scoring, he shoots the puck a lot. If any other of the Flyers top 6 (or 9 with the depth we have) shot 335 times, I'm confident they would have just as many, if not more, goals than Carter would. Briere scored only 2 times less than Carter this season, despite Carter shooting 89 more times. If you would like to argue this season was an outlier view the chart below:

Season

Games Played

TOI/Game

Shots On Goal

Goals

Shots/Goals

2005-2006

81

12:04

189

23

8.22

2006-2007

62

18:58

215

14

15.36

2007-2008

82

18:50

260

29

8.97

2008-2009

82

20:56

342

46

7.34

2009-2010

74

19:18

319

33

9.67

2010-2011

80

18:15

335

36

9.31

Career

76.83

 

276.67

30.167

9.812

Depth Issues
So he shoots a lot, but why trade Carter? He's relatively young (26) and he is signed at an annual cap hit of 5,272,727 until 2022, which is a pretty reasonable. Obviously the Flyers envisioned him being a top center on their team for the duration of his career, especially with his eleven year contract extension due to start next season. But things change. Two years after Carter entered the NHL, Briere was brought in and flourished here. Next, Giroux sprang out of nowhere to overtake Carter for the 3rd Center spot. The Flyers face a depth issue: 4 top line centers for 2 lines. Carter has been forced to play RW all season, something he would prefer not to do.

Obviously given the choice in vacuum I would dump Briere, he's older and has an annual cap hit 1.3 million more than Carter. But it's not so simple. Briere has a no movement clause. I doubt he'd wave it for anything, seeing as he made the choice to come to Philadelphia and has loved his time here. Other options could be trading Richards or Giroux. Richards is also signed through 2020 with an annual cap hit of 5.75 million. But it's unlikely they would trade the Captain and he also has a no movement clause. Finally that brings us to Claude Giroux, who is 23. He is the future of the franchise and would not be traded under any sane logic. He also just signed an extension with the Flyers.

Fair logic you might say, Carter's production isn't that good for the number of shots he takes and we have too many forwards and Carter, who does not have an NMC, would be the easiest to ship.

Trade Partners?
The question is though "For whom and to whom?" Easy answer (among others I'm sure): The Los Angeles Kings. The top 4 centers for the Kings (in terms of Games Played) are Michal Handzus, Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll, and Brad Richardson.

Name

GP

G

A

P

+/-

Age

Anze Kopitar

75

25

48

73

25

23

Michal Handzus

82

12

18

30

-5

34

Jarret Stoll

82

20

23

46

-6

28

Brad Richardson

68

7

12

19

-13

26

            Not so bad there. Kopitar is locked up until 2016-2017. Stoll is a free agent after the 2012-2013 season. Handzus is a free agent this season and Richardson is an UFA. Carter could be a 1-2 punch to an already dangerous Kings team. No Kings player this season had more than 28 goals. Only 6 had more than 20. After those 6 the next highest player had 14 goals. That's a pretty top heavy line-up. But if you add Carter to that team, he adds 30 goals (his season average since he began playing for the Flyers). That's 2 goals more than the Kings' season leader. His 30 Assists would also place him as 4th highest on the Kings. This is another valuable asset to a Kings team with good solid talent on the wings.
            Carter could also return to the Center role, something he would like to do. He would have little competition for a center spot and most likely increase his ice time and responsibility as a definite number two center.

What do the Kings Have?

Now here comes the question: Assuming Carter would fit into the Kings, which I think he would, for whom do they trade him? The obvious answer: Jonathan Quick. He played 61 games with a 2.24 GAA and a .918 Save Percentage, which are solid numbers. But why would the Kings give up their number one goaltender for Carter? Answer: Jonathan Bernier, who is apparently the next Patrick Roy. He played 25 games this season as a 22 year old with a .913 SV% and a 2.48 GAA. Solid stuff and the Kings really believe he is the future. Problem is ahead of Bernier is Jonathan Quick, age 25, signed through 2013-2014 at 1.8 million.

Why not trade for Bernier?

            Although others have thrown around the idea of trading for Bernier, I doubt the Flyers would do it for Bernier and I doubt the Kings consent to such a trade. From the Flyers' end, don't forget about Bobrovsky He had similar numbers to Bernier (Bobrovsky: GP 54, SV% .915 2.59 GAA) in 29 more games. I think it's too early to give up on Bobrovsky, who is also 22. Bernier is a better prospect by all means but if Bernier is on your team that means you are giving up on Bobrovsky. I don't think the Flyers are ready to do that. On the other side of that argument for the Kings, I hear Bernier is regarded very highly by the Kings. I also know he was rated as the top goalie prospect. I think the Kings have huge plans for him down the road and would rather dump Quick, who is older. It is a risk, but for Bernier, I think the Kings would do it.

Intangibles

            Personal Reasons

            Quick is an East-Coast man. He's from Milford, Ct., which is not too far from Philadelphia, only a few hours by car. Los Angeles is very far from home. For some guys this doesn't matter as much, but everyone generally likes being close to home. Quick could compete for a cup in a seemingly easier conference, closer to home, and still be a number one goaltender. From his end, he's getting a great deal personally

            Carter is also a notorious partier. We saw it under John Stevens and I am sure it still persists. For Carter why wouldn't he want to play for the Kings? Los Angeles and partying go hand and hand. As previously mentioned, Carter can enjoy a spot as a solid number two center, who will command tons of ice time with skilled wingmen. Carter benefits both personally and professionally from the move, as also Quick would.

Confidence of a Team Playing by a Solid Goaltender

            Another underestimated factor is the confidence provided to a team with a solid goaltender. ESPN Insider Craig Button wrote an entire article, splicing an interview with Marty Turco about how solid goaltending can affect players on ice and the Philadelphia Flyers. It's a solid article to check out if you have an insider account. Anyways point is Turco speaks of how a confident goalie can allow the defense and offense to focus more on their positional requirements instead of trying to cover for bad goaltending. Imagine the impact a goalie like Jonathan Quick would have on the ice for the Flyers offense and defense. I imagine it would improve the level of play across the entire team. Offensive Players could focus on scoring and take a few more risks with the puck not worrying about soft goals. Let's be realistic: Laviolette's forechecking strategy would be most effective with a solid goaltender. The offense pinches up and pressures the puck leaving fewer men back to defend against the break. Quick would allow our forechecking to reach a new level. Defensively, our depth, skill, and experience would really show. They would be able to focus more on defensive assignments and clearing the puck instead of worrying about bailing the goalie out.
            Off the ice, Flyers would no longer be pestered by questions about goaltending. You saw it in the playoffs; the media literally destroyed the Flyers with this goalie situation. Every player was asked about it and I'm sure it eventually took a toll on the players. Generally, the more you hear something, the more likely you are to believe it. The Flyers' players are humans too, and I'm sure privately they had doubts about the goalie situation despite saying publically they did not.

Cap Relief

            In addition the Flyers would receive significant cap relief. The difference between Carter's Cap hit and Quick's Cap hit amounts to roughly 3.4 million dollars. Assuming the Cap increases next season the Flyers would have enough money to resign UFA Ville Lenio and if they want RFAs Daniel Carcillo, Andreas Nodl and Darroll Powe. The Only other UFAs on this team are SOD, Nick Boynton and Brian Boucher. If the flyers can find a taker for Michael Leighton and his 1.55 million dollar cap hit (minus Carter and with Quick) The Flyers would have a huge amount of salary to improve the team. I think this is a case of addition by subtraction. You can do more without Carter than he offers as a member of this team. And I believe his production can easily be replaced by JVR, G, Richards, Versteeg, Lenio, Briere, Hartnell, ect.

Bobrovsky's Development + Future Value

            Assuming the Flyers have Quick, you would also assume healthy he would start 65-70 games. Perfect number so he can stay fresh in the playoffs. Bobrovsky, who I believe personal has a bright future, would be allowed to settle into the USA culture and the NHL. He could work with Jeff Reese and hone his deficiencies (and let's be honest they do exist). Maybe you even send Bobrovsky down to the AHL with a personal goaltending coach to work on his skills. Don't forget Bobrovsky made this team as a fluke. Leighton got hurt and they needed a goalie. Bobrovsky got hot in the beginning of the season and played well, but the latter half of his season was significantly worse.

            Now I'll make another assumption: Quick becomes a stud and the goalie of the next 10 years. Bobrovsky would be 32 at the end of this tenure. Bobrovsky would become a tradable commodity. Who knows what you could get for Bobrovsky in return. Maybe it would turn into a Kevin Kolb type situation down the road.
            Now let's assume Quick doesn't work out. He's only signed through 2012-2013 at 1.8 million a season. Every trade is a risk, risk in terms of what you give up and what you get. If Quick goes south or doesn't work out here, he can be allowed to walk. Although you gave up a large price in Carter, Quick does not have a large contract in terms of money or years which would hurt the team long term.


Two Final Numbers

            76 - The difference of GA given up by the Flyers versus the Number of goals Quick gave up in 61 games. Adjusted for if he played 82 Games, the number is 29. Not compelling per say you give up 36 goals and only save 29. But the Kings have a terrible defense, aside from their top pair of Jack Johnson-Drew Doughty. See the below chart on the Kings Poor Defensive Play (Top 7 in Games Played)

Name

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

Jack Johnson

82

5

37

42

-21

Drew Doughty

76

11

29

40

13

Rob Scuderi

82

2

13

15

1

Matt Green

71

2

9

11

3

Alec Martinez

60

5

11

16

11

Willie Mitchell

57

5

5

10

4

Davis Drewiske

37

0

5

5

-1

            We saw this season how a deep defensive core can significantly improve a team and goaltenders' stats. Imagine how much worse Bobrovsky or Boucher would play if the defense was horrible. (Think games 1 and 3 against Boston). It is reasonable to say that with the defensive corps here he would perform better and save more goals. If you disagree see the below stats between the Flyers goaltenders the past two seasons (assuming no empty netters, unrealistic but I couldn't find the number of empty netters given up. I'm sure it's knowable, but whatever)

Season

GP

SOG

GA

GAA

Save %

2009-2010

82

2506

242

2.95

.903

2010-2011

82

2465

210

2.56

.915

Difference

-

41

32

.39

.012

            A major difference between the two teams was the strengthening of the defensive pairings. Obviously they played a major factor in the Flyers allowing 32 fewer goals. Also consider the +/- of our defensive group Carle, Mez +30; Coburn +15, Timonen +11, SOD +8, Pronger +7. Our top 3 are higher in +/- than the Kings top guy is. I assume Johnson drew a lot of shorthanded time to account for his horrific -21. Point is our defense is on pretty strong, judging by +/-. Seeing as the Flyers scored 256 goals this season and 232 last season, I am sure some of that can be accounted to offense, but the defense also played very well this season, without Pronger most of the way mind you.

Unlike proposing a trade for Ryan Miller or Henrik Lundqvist, Quick could be plucked from the Kings for the right price. That price is Jeff Carter. Either way I feel Quick-Carter (Maybe adjustments on either side) is a reasonable trade; one that would benefit both teams and also would help our team find a strong number one goaltender.

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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