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Why Jeff Carter is the Perfect fit for the Kings and their chance to make a playoff splash

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A history of the last 5 seasons of the Philadelphia Flyers and Why Jeff Carter is the perfect fit for the LA Kings

by: Trevor Rocco

The L.A. Kings are looking for scoring, that is a given. The Kings have been consistently in the bottom of NHL team scoring for quite a few seasons now. To their defense, they have one of the best defense (no pun intended) core and goaltending core in the league which have kept them in the playoff hunt for the last two or three seasons.

A lot has been said about Jeff Carter and the Columbus Blue Jackets recently. As the worst team in the league, the Blue Jackets are struggling in every department and are a team far off from the playoff potential of 2009.

The Kings are looking for scoring, Carter can score. Those are the givens, but a lot is being said about Carter’s attitude, locker room presence and consistent play. Kings fans, and a lot people around the league are skeptics, but I, however, am not. For me to explain why Carter’s supposedly cancerous locker room attitude and other potential problems are overly media hyped, were going to need to backtrack a little bit.

In 2005, after his team (The OHL’s Greyhounds) were eliminated from playoff contention, Carter joined the Philadelphia Phantoms for 21 playoff games, where he recorded 23 points and helped the team to a Calder Cup (Mike Richards was also on this team, recording 15 points in his 14 games). The following season both Carter and Richards made the Flyers out of training camp. At the same time, John Stevens, the model of consistency for the phantoms coaching staff (4 playoff appearances and 1 calder cup in his 5 years) was promoted to head coach of the team. The two players were a bright spot on an otherwise horrendous season for the Flyers. However, the following season the Flyers would be a huge surprise in reaching the conference finals under John Stevens coaching styles, as Richards and Carter became a model of consistency. With this came contract extensions and a captaincy for Richards as it looked like the future of the Flyers had arrived. For a while, things were great. Although they were eliminated from the playoffs early, the next season, Carter recorded 84 points including a whopping 46 goals. Carter and Richards were 1 and 2 in team scoring and Stevens was thought to be in contention for coach of the year after an amazing bounce back from 2006.

Enter Chris Pronger. In an attempt to add defensive depth, Chris Pronger was brought in the next season in a blockbuster trade that sent young forward Joffrey Lupul back to Anaheim in return. The team looked as if it was the heavy favorite for a cup winning season.

However, any time a team with a very young captain adds someone with the experience and leadership that Chris Pronger brings to a locker room there is a setup for trouble. At this point the media had begun to spin stories of Richards, Carter, Lupul and Umberger (the flyers youth core) in a negative way, saying that they had too much of a party life style. Richards went on record to say that the media had spun these stories negatively and were reading into things that weren’t there (This isn’t a Dennis Rodman/Kobe Bryant/Tiger Woods sized problem, obviously whatever lifestyle they were living did not interfere with career years and a captaincy for Richards, as well as the coaching staff having no complains). Up until this point the entirety of both Richards and Carter’s careers were coached by John Stevens. They knew his system and were obviously succeeding in it, however, Mike Richards lead-by-example leadership and his young age were not going to mesh well with noted outspoken media dynamo and born leader in Chris Pronger.

When the 2009-2010 season started off slow for the flyers (13-11-1) it was obvious that a problem of leadership was the reasoning. The media pounced and once again tried to attribute blame to Carter and Richards lifestyle outside of the rink. It seemed however, that their were two different styles meshing here. That is the wanted direction of the ownership to win now through veteran leadership (ie Chris Pronger) and the player favorite, quiet winning style of John Steven and Mike Richards. Unfortunately, the GM’s hold all the power in a situation where changes may be in need for a struggling team, and after a hard fought but troublesome 5 game loosing streak, the past successes of John Stevens were no longer impressive to the big guys upstairs as he was let go for the likes of Peter Laviolette. The team struggled mightily under Laviolette at first both as a result of learning a new system and the devastation of the teammates in the loss of the leader who helped them go from the bottom of the league to top contenders. Richards and Carter were among those most heavily affected due to their long history with Stevens. However, things picked up under Laviolette as Carter and Richards helped to turn the season around as the Flyers ended up on the doorstep of a championship, showing the coaches, management and organization that they cared and would do whatever they could to help the team and organization succeed.

However the management would prove that they didn’t feel the same way about them. The 2010-2011 season would see the flyers miss best-in-the-east by just 1 point. An injury saw Carter miss the majority of the playoffs and with Richards not matching the point per game pace of Briere and Giroux, the Flyers took an early exit. After all the effort and success from the young core of the Flyers over the past 5 years, by the summer of 2011, everyone was gone. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were the last dominoes to drop from a youthful roster that was the talk of the NHL just a few years before (ie Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, Joffrey Lupul, Scottie Upshall, Joni Pitkanen, Dennis Seidenberg, Patrick Sharp, Antero Niittymaki and of course John Stevens [most of which were members of the 04-05 calder champs]). A combined 23-year $117 million contract extension in their early careers were traded away within hours of each other when Carter went to Columbus and Richards to LA.

Within a MATTER OF HOURS two consistently amazing players who believed that their next TEN YEARS would be spent with the Flyers organization a team that is known consistently as winners (partially because of their factors in the organization), and where they had spent their first six successful years together, would be shipped out.

No surprise, at least from my point of view, that Jeff Carter would refuse to speak to the media for the following weeks.

Jeff Carter saw his contract transferred to the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team whose future was in question and were attempting to make a big splash before next season. It was a failure. With the additions of Carter and Wisneiwski the question around the league was, would it be enough? And with major injuries and underperformance the Blue Jackets would find themselves at the bottom of the league, by a lot, just before the trade deadline. Unfortunately, things couldn’t or can’t be much worse for Jeff Carter.

On the flip side Richards was sent to the LA Kings who, with off season moves and signings, were looking for a last bump to put them into the pacific division and western conference elite. His season too, has been plagued by injury and lack of consistency with the new club. His season however is still salvageable on a team that could use a change or some help up front.

And thus we have a perfect storm. The LA Kings are scrambling to plug the holes in the sinking ship that can be helped. The Blue Jackets are swimming in the ocean looking for a new boat. The storm is coming on the open seas and in a perfect world, the LA Kings would see Jeff Carter swimming alone in the ocean and send out a life preserver. With successful moves the LA Kings can have their positives from the last few seasons success and add to it the success and potential that the Flyers once had. The Kings have the opportunity right now, to reunite what was once successful in Philly: Carter, Richards and John Steven (currently assistant coach).

Carter and Richards have played successfully together (692 points in 914 games played for the Flyers alone), and their most successful under John Stevens. I argue that their is no reason to attribute any validity to locker room issues, attitudes and inconsistencies for Carter as management issues were the real problem. Some say his cap hit is too large and its length, until 2022, is too long, but for LA, even the potential of having a 60+ point/30+ goal scorer is well worth the 5.27 million they take on with his contract. Heres what happens with Jeff Carter for the rest of this season if he signs with LA: he can have the ability to move from the worst team in the league to a playoff contender, to reunite with his team mate and coach with whom he was most comfortable and successful, and to prove to the team that abandoned him that they made the wrong choice. In this perfect scenario, the former 40 goal scorer will be more motivated and excited to play than he ever has in his career.

LA Kings organization, it’s your move.

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WOW! I read most of that!

I wonder what pieces would have to go back to CBJ for them to get Carter. Reports are that they have only had one offer and it was very low.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if he ended up in LA with his buddy. Time to bake a cake Johnny!!

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WOW! I read most of that!

I wonder what pieces would have to go back to CBJ for them to get Carter. Reports are that they have only had one offer and it was very low.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if he ended up in LA with his buddy. Time to bake a cake Johnny!!

Thanks for the response OZ. I call a piece of that cake!

Seems like the Blue Jackets are looking for a high price in return for Carter since they gave up a lot for him, but they'll probably take a little bit of a loss, and rightfully so for shopping him so quickly after the trade. They could use help in almost every category but in any situation they're probably looking for a package similar to what they gave up. The kings have the expendables to make it happen though.

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When Paul Holmgren separated Richards and Carter, it was not for their lack of performance. He gave them both a chance at a fresh start elsewhere. If those 2 end up back together, there will be a new "posse" forming in LA and it will only be a matter of time before they manage to alienate team mates with their attitudes. Carter has so much potential and makes the game look easy when he puts forth any effort, but he was moved due to the lack of effort he showed all too often on the ice. I was sorry to see Mike Richards moved , but that was a locker room issue (clashes with coaches, front office, and team mates) and not his lack of performance. The return on both of those trades has been more than fair thus far but it was a big risk taken by Homer at the time to give the party boys a chance to right their own personal ships. I really believe that if those 2 are reunited in LA, it will only be a matter of time before we are reading about one or both of them in the tabloids and not the sports pages.......

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I believe that both Richards and Carter were knocked off their high-horse after being traded. In Philly, they were both hailed as the second coming and were going to lead them to the Cup. I believe the attitude that they displayed in Philly is gone and even if reunited in LA, will be a non-factor. Carter is a above average player but in all honesty, never displayed that clutch performance in the playoffs. Richards, as good as he is, was given the captaincy way too soon which contributed to his demise in Philly.

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Flyerrod, I hear what you're saying and part of me agrees, I certaintly want to believe just to validate the moves. But exPG also has a valid point. These guys got some cold water thrown in their faces and hopefully it snapped them out of their superiority complexes.

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Thanks for the response OZ. I call a piece of that cake!

Seems like the Blue Jackets are looking for a high price in return for Carter since they gave up a lot for him, but they'll probably take a little bit of a loss, and rightfully so for shopping him so quickly after the trade. They could use help in almost every category but in any situation they're probably looking for a package similar to what they gave up. The kings have the expendables to make it happen though.

I would have thought that CBJ would have have already known that Carter wasn't the player they needed for Nash. But somehow they looked over the minor detail that Jeff is a shoot first center that doesn't make the other players around him better. Add to that he disappears for games at a time.

CBJ brass got a taste of the real Carter right after the trade when they had to go to the Jersey shore to convince him it was going to be okay in Columbus.

There can't be one team left in the NHL that would be willing to take this guy at full value. I think you are right that CBJ are going to have to take a hit but I think it's going to be a pretty decent hit.

Voracek (1st Rd), 8th in Couturier and a third was a lot to give up for Carter.

As for the Kings being a good fit for Carter.... why would the Kings want to reunite two party boys that caused a huge divide in a locker room & were known for their drinking/partying? They can't think that it's not going to revert back to that if they were reunited. I think the Kings would be taking a big step backwards if they were to deal for Carter.

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I would have thought that CBJ would have have already known that Carter wasn't the player they needed for Nash. But somehow they looked over the minor detail that Jeff is a shoot first center that doesn't make the other players around him better. Add to that he disappears for games at a time.

CBJ brass got a taste of the real Carter right after the trade when they had to go to the Jersey shore to convince him it was going to be okay in Columbus.

There can't be one team left in the NHL that would be willing to take this guy at full value. I think you are right that CBJ are going to have to take a hit but I think it's going to be a pretty decent hit.

Voracek (1st Rd), 8th in Couturier and a third was a lot to give up for Carter.

As for the Kings being a good fit for Carter.... why would the Kings want to reunite two party boys that caused a huge divide in a locker room & were known for their drinking/partying? They can't think that it's not going to revert back to that if they were reunited. I think the Kings would be taking a big step backwards if they were to deal for Carter.

Better to have Carter disappear for games at a time then penner, stoll, and richardson disappear for months at a time.

As for Carter's attitude, I'd be pretty devistated if I took a pay cut to essentially play the rest of my career in Philly just to be traded out of the blue to the worst team in the league. He got over it, he hasn't complained to the media, or requested a trade which is a lot more than others would do.

The locker room problems, which started with the media, and was then brought to the locker room through their intervention, was over analyzed and more of a shot in the dark than anything. The real problem then stemmed from the inclusion of Chris Pronger, who should have been the captain and not richards, and the owenership jumping the gun in making him captain. That plus the subsequent firing of John Stevens during only a 5 game losing streak (the team was still over .500 and not given a fair chance to get things moving in the right direction) was the reason for the Richards and Carter attitude problem. Never the less, I believe it was still the Flyers who made it to the Cup Finals that year with Carter and Richards still being the regular season points leaders for the team and combined for 35 points in 35 games played between the two of them in that years post season.

But hey, who wants that? Maybe the Kings will take a step forward if they resign Penner instead...

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@Please login or register to see this link.

For me to explain why Carter’s supposedly cancerous locker room attitude and other potential problems are overly media hyped, were going to need to backtrack a little bit.

First of all the media did not over-hype this the issues circulating around Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. If anything they did not uncover enough info. Lombardi, Stevens and Hextal are well aware of the issues surrounding these two and why bringing Carter to LA to unite with Mike Richards would be of poor decision.

Let me start with John Stevens was brought in as head coach because Richards and Carter were to be the cornerstone of the Flyers. They said they needed a head coach who was not as tough on young players as Hitchcock. These players had a good deal of respect for Stevens as a player-coach, but at the same time the group of Richards, Carter, Eager, Upshall and Lupul were known to have partied too much. Upshall and Eager were sent off to other organizations to send the message that the partying would not be tolerated.

At the same time Stevens insisted that he would would instill more discipline and hold the players accountable for their actions. To accomplish this Stevens tried to treat Carter and Richards as men with responsibility. He made them part of the Leadership group. However they didn't limit their partying, instead they increased it. The team was eliminated first round of the playoffs.

The Flyers Organization again tried to address the issue of excess partying and poor fitness levels by trading away one of their best buddies Lupul, They brought in a natural leader in Pronger who Richards felt was a threat. Management made him Captain and gave Carter the "A". Richards began to clash with the media. To make matters worse, Richards began to clash with the veterans Timonen and Briere. They felt the young players weren't fully dedicated and were still partying too much off the ice. Before long due to the continued partying and lack of conditioning, the organization felt Stevens could not change the actions of the young core. Stevens was soon traded for a more disciplinarian type coach in Laviolette...... And you know the rest of the story.

Although Carter and Richards had their greatest success under Stevens, what makes you think anything has really changed?

Carter showed his true colors the moment he was traded. He locked himself in his shore house away from everyone. He wouldn't talk to his new organization and issued very little through his agent. Eventually Carter reported to Columbus after the Blue Jackets coach and Nash came to visit. Carter did nothing to prepare himself for the season, thus...the injury filled season ....and now their own media was on NHL Live and said, "The Jackets want to trade THE PLAYER to get him out of the organization. This is not a salary dump."

And thus we have a perfect storm. The LA Kings are scrambling to plug the holes in the sinking ship that can be helped. The Blue Jackets are swimming in the ocean looking for a new boat. The storm is coming on the open seas and in a perfect world, the LA Kings would see Jeff Carter swimming alone in the ocean and send out a life preserver. With successful moves the LA Kings can have their positives from the last few seasons success and add to it the success and potential that the Flyers once had. The Kings have the opportunity right now, to reunite what was once successful in Philly: Carter, Richards and John Steven (currently assistant coach).

There are other forwards to be sought after, I should hope that Stevens insists to Kings management to not resurrect that sunken ship.

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@Please login or register to see this link. - I admit that I didn't read all of that, but I actually think it could work. I would not say that Carter and Richards were "consistently amazing", but they are both good players. I think both would be happier if they were on the same team, seeing as how they are best friends. And getting back with Stevens should be a good thing for Carter. The problem with Carter (well, one problem) is that he plays center and is not much of a playmaker. There was no way he was ever going to be the set-up guy for Rick Nash, that was a big mistake on Columbus' part. But if he can be matched with the right line mates he can certainly score some goals. Just keep him away from the Southern California beaches.

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Bleh, Jeff Carter wouldnt be bad, but him playing center gets me a little worried. I dont think we can have Kopitar,Richards,Carter,Stoll all in the center position. And im also thinking it's going to take about that same as it will to get Rick Nash; Jonathan Bernier,Jack Johnson,Toffoli/Good Prospect.

So would you rather have a lineup that looks like this.

Rick Nash-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams

Dustin Brown-Mike Richards-Penner/Gagne

or this

Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams

Jeff Carter-Mike Richards-Penner/Gagne

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Carter/Richards can play on the same line, despite both better as centers.

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And im also thinking it's going to take about that same as it will to get Rick Nash

I'm sure Carter would come a lot cheaper than Nash.

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Bleh, Jeff Carter wouldnt be bad, but him playing center gets me a little worried.

Is it his inability to make a 3-foot pass?

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Is it his inability to make a 3-foot pass?

Or his nearly complete unawareness of what's going on around him?

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@JackStraw - Between those two things, it's a lethal combination for a so-called "center." Perhaps what is most shocking is that he manged to play center all the way into Jr and was drafted as one. The guy is the anti-center: he makes those around him worse.

Edited by Podein25

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It seems as if LA is talking to Columbus again.......talking Carter for Jack Johnson + pick.......according to Dregger

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That's closer to what Carter is actually worth.

Homer got Jake and Cooter for him. Outstanding return.

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@Please login or register to see this link.

I don't think Carter will make a positive difference in LA, it is more of the same. Plus Carter had his breakout season with Lupul.

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but him playing center gets me a little worried. I dont think we can have Kopitar,Richards,Carter,Stoll all in the center position

This actually makes a pretty good line.

You are right that Carter is not a center.

When Carter and Richard's played on the same line they were just okay. You'd think they would have a big spark but it's kind of fizzled. Might be worth a shot again.

I still don't think that's what's best for both of their carriers but whatever. Just my opinion.

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According to Bob Mckenzie on TSN he just said the Kings aren't done. His sources indicate that Bernier and Brown are mentioned in many trade possibilities!

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According to Bob Mckenzie on TSN he just said the Kings aren't done. His sources indicate that Bernier and Brown are mentioned in many trade possibilities!

JvR & Bob for Bernier & Dustin Brown!

Get it done, Homer!!!

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