Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Closer strikes: Welcome, Jeff Carter!

Averaging over 57 points and nearly 77 games a
season over his 6-year career, 2009 All Star center
Jeff Carter offers Columbus - and Rick Nash -
a proven player to anchor the top scoring line.
The long rumored "Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets" trade finally went down this afternoon.  Per TSN's Bob MacKenzie, Columbus' consideration was winger Jakub Voracek and this year's 1st rounder (8th overall pick) and 3rd rounder.

The deal is full of few surprises for those closely following the CBJ:
  • As mentioned, it was pretty much common knowledge that Carter was at or near the top of Scott Howson's most wanted list.  
  • Voracek, while talented, never ascended to the level of elite talent that Columbus needed - at a position where the Blue Jackets' cup runneth over.  Beyond that, he was known to be close with exiled CBJer Mike Commodore, training in California with Commie before the disastrous 2009-10 season.  It would not surprise me if there was just a bit of guilt by association, making it easy for the club to move Voracek.  Remember, Voracek was a restricted free agent this offseason, and the CBJ only tendered the minimum required offer.  That doesn't show a lot of love or investment on Columbus' side.
  • The first round pick did indeed turn out to be a deal sweetener.  Or Jake was.  Ah well, not important now.  
  • The third rounder was perhaps the biggest surprise to me.  If that's what was needed to make the deal happen, so be it.  You gotta give to get.

Carter is signed through (gulp) 2021-22 - not a typo - with an annual cap hit of $5.27 million.  Considering that the salary cap keeps rising, and Carter appears to be a durable, genuine talent who can perform on the ice, five million bucks isn't a lot.  Now, five million bucks for a 37-year-old (his age when his contract expires) is...but we'll burn that bridge when we come to it.  Besides, it's now fair to say that in the 2009 All-Star Carter, Rick Nash finally has a top-level center who can make his performance that much more fun to watch - and more productive!  

CBJ fans need Scott Howson
to be the MVP of this offseason.
With the Jeff Carter trade, he's
off to a fast start.
There are other ramifications of this trade to be considered over the days ahead, like whether Sammy Pahlsson or Antoine Vermette will center the third line (or Vermette moves over to wing).  Then there's the money thing; the CBJ aren't close to the salary cap, but they're not making money and likely are on some form of salary budget.  Considering that the team is in desperate need of NHL-caliber defensemen, who is next on the 2010-11 roster to get the heave-ho?

Lastly, let's give credit to Scott Howson.  He's clearly under a win-NOW mandate (from management?  self-imposed?  Does it matter?), and he has to close deals like this.  To his credit, he did.  Way to go, Mr. CBJ GM.  I knew you had it in you.  Keep making the team better.

Things just got a whole lot more interesting in CBJ land, folks.  Tomorrow's draft probably won't mean as much to us, but don't you think that a player like Jeff Carter is worth the trade-off?

2 comments:

  1. I like this move a lot DBJ. An all-star. That is an instant LOFT upgrade. Now its like having two Nashes on the top line. It passes the straight face test. We are a better team today then we were yesterday. Expensive, yes, but that's the way this was going to go.

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  2. FYI Jeff Carter won't be paid $5 million when he's 37...the $5.27 million is the cap hit, but his actual salary in those later years is pretty cheap (3 million, then 2 million, then 2 million)

    http://www.capgeek.com/players/display.php?id=740

    The cap hit isn't bad especially considering the CBJ don't go to the full cap, and even when he is in his late 30's and less productive, the cap will have risen a ton more.

    Pretty much a flawless deal for the Jackets. I'm beyond pumped. The contract to me is a positive, not a negative - to get a center of that caliber, who is so young, for such a low cap hit is amazing. This leaves us room to improve the defense, and also sends a message to free agents this is a team serious about winning NOW.

    Look at the seasons Brad Richard and Joe Thorton had at age 31 this year. We have Nash and Carter, 26, locked up for the next decade, both entering their prime years.

    Pretty amazing. The only way this could turn out any better is if Filatov ends up working out and replacing Jake in the top 6...

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