Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings: Did They Give Up Too Much?

Louis HamweyAnalyst IIIFebruary 23, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 13:  Jeff Carter #7 of the Columbus Blue Jackets controls the puck during the game against the Vancouver Canucks at Nationwide Arena on December 13, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.  The Blue Jackets defeated the Canucks 2-1.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images

Jeff Carter was traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night in exchange for Kings defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick in 2012 or 2013.

It has been rumored for some time now that Carter would be moved before the trade deadline, but the exact destination was never certain. The Kings always seemed a likely place for the center to land as they are currently a squad staffed with players ready to make a deep run in the playoffs and were lacking that cutting edge in front of goal to see them through.

With a league worse 129 goals scored, there was little mystery that the weak point in the Kings' armor was their inability to produce offense. Though Carter has struggled through injuries at Columbus, his average of 30 goals through six seasons is what LA is banking on being who he really is.

However, Carter did not necessarily come cheap.

The Kings were forced to give up their young defender Jack Johnson. The third overall pick in the 2005 draft has been a consistent contributor for the club, becoming a staple of the ascension to the contending team today.

He has also been somewhat of a fan favorite for his strong physical play and recognizable American face in a sport that is becoming increasingly foreign to the country.

In addition to Johnson, a conditional first-round pick in 2012 or 2013 is also in the details.

Over the past two seasons, the Kings have elevated themselves out of the cellar of the West and have become consistent playoff participants. GM Dean Lombardi feels that the time is now to take the team to the next level:

Jeff is a proven goal scorer in our league.  He brings goal-scoring abilities, speed, and at his age, he is entering the prime of his career.  We also like his versatility as he can play both center and wing. We also want to wish Jack Johnson the best going forward.

It is hard to argue that Lombardi is not right in making a push now, but did he give up too much for him?

Carter is a proven goal scorer of the past, but in pro sports that past does not extend beyond your most recent games. Carter has been terrible this season and hindered by injuries that could pose a real risk for his future promise.

Jack Johnson has nothing but promise ahead of him as he has already established himself as one of the very best young defenders in the game. The Blue Jackets will almost surely be the winners in the long run as he is the ideal character you want to build a franchise around.

Giving up Johnson and picks are a gamble that could come and backfire on Lombardi if Carter does not regain the form he enjoyed in Philadelphia.

Do you think Lombardi bet too much on Carter having an immediate impact without enough foresight to the future? Or is he making the right move, knowing that the Kings are in a position to win like they have not been for a decade?