Sweet Home Philadelphia: Why Jeff Carter's Extension Was the Smart Decision

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 01:  Jeff Carter #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Carolina Hurricanes on November 1, 2010 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Flyers defeat the Hurricanes 3-2.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Homer has done it again.

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed forward Jeff Carter to an 11-year extension worth $58 million.  Carter was scheduled to become a restricted free agent on July 1st of 2011.

This comes on the heels of the Flyers signing Claude Giroux to a three-year extension worth $11.25 million and there is talk of the Flyers working out a deal with soon to be unrestricted free agent Ville Leino as well.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren is doing his best to lock up the core of this Flyers team for the future while keeping the salary cap woes at bay.

Jeff Carter is a 25-year-old center who is really starting to develop as the player he will be for the future.  He is a shooter first and is one of the cornerstones of the Flyers offense.  His offensive abilities could be the key to another long playoff run this year and long runs for the next 11 years.

This is great to see that the young core of the Flyers will be locked up for the future.  Carter is signed for 11 years while Captain Mike Richards is signed until 2020, fireplug Danny Briere is signed until 2015, and future superstar Claude Giroux will be sporting the orange and black until at least 2014. 

For the remainder of this season, Carter will earn $5.5 million.  After this season, Carter will earn less than that per year against the salary cap.  Jeff Carter will earn an average salary of $5.27 million a year against the cap and that could be the best part of this deal. 

When a contract is signed, the average is figured by dividing the total amount of money involved in the deal by the number of years the player signs for.  This average is then used as the yearly salary cap hit for that player.

Not only will Carter be in the orange and black for the foreseeable future but he will be a relative bargain for a team that is always in a salary crunch.  He would be in the same earning range as players such as Tampa Bay forward Simon Gagne, Nashville Predators Martin Erat and St. Louis Blues center Andy McDonald.  I don’t know about you, but I think Jeff Carter is more worth the $5 million than any of those other players.

Some may argue that the length of the deal seems a little long and that it would raise suspicion of circumventing the salary cap but that can’t be proven.  Carter would be 37 at the conclusion of this contract extension and it’s feasible that he could still be playing at that age.

The New Jersey Devils have put a sour taste in everyone’s mouth with the Ilya Kovalchuk fiasco and the NHL knows that this Carter extension is nothing like the 17-year contract that Lou Lamoriello tried.  Kovalchuk was slated to earn $95 million over the first 10 years of the deal and then just $7 million over the last seven seasons. 

Now that’s what I call circumventing the salary cap!  Take that Gary Bettman.

As Carter continues to flourish and learn the game, he will become increasingly more potent and could become a top-tier goal scorer for years to come.  Let’s not forget that just two years ago he finished second to only Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin in goals scored with 46.  He can be a point-manufacturing machine and when he’s with players who are willing to feed him the puck, watch out.

As much as some will argue, he has the ability to pass the puck well.  Whether or not he chooses to use his talent is up for debate but the truth is, he sees the ice very well and can make big plays for his team.

Jeff Carter is off to a solid start this season with 14 points through his first 16 games but the more important thing is that the team is winning.  He has played solidly defensively as well but the team will never depend on Carter for his defensive prowess.

By signing Carter long term, Paul Holmgren is ensuring that the nucleus of this team will stay intact.  This in turn will allow Homer to plug different guys in and out as the years pass and still have the same relative cohesion.

So rejoice Flyers fans, the management of the Flyers has shown the fanbase that they care and that they will do whatever it takes to win.  Thank you Flyers brass, for giving us a quality product to support.


To read more on Jeff Carter's deal and his impact on the Flyers, Check out these articles: