Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets: Why the Trade Would Put Columbus on the Map

Franklin SteeleAnalyst IIJune 10, 2011

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: Jeff Carter #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates in warmups prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on November 27, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Flyers 2-1 in the shoot out.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Aaron Portzline from the Columbus Dispatch wrote yesterday that his local Blue Jackets are working on a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers that would send former first-rounder Jake Voracek and the eighth overall pick in the upcoming draft to Philly for center Jeff Carter.

Moving Carter would obviously be a salary dump for the Flyers.  The team is tight up against the cap with more money invested into their team next year than any other squad.  To make matters more interesting, the word in both Arizona and Philadelphia is that newly acquired goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is looking to be one of the highest-paid goaltenders in the NHL.

Obviously, the numbers don't add up for the Flyers as things stand now.

Enter the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have apparently been talking to Philly about a deal since January and who now may be in the running to make a much-needed splash.

Contrary to popular belief, the Jackets are not too far away from being a playoff team in the tough West, and a very interesting one at that.

Inconsistent goaltending down the stretch knocked them out of the big dance last season, causing the team to drop several games in a row on more than one occasion. 

That can't continue to happen. 

And while Carter doesn't shore-up their needs in net, he does give the team something they have never had.

A true No. 1 center for Rick Nash.

Columbus has been trying to draft a center for Nash for years now.  Derick Brassard has shown some potential and even some flashes of brilliance, but health has been an issue for the young pivot.  Ryan Johansen has scouts drooling over his vision and precision passing, but odds are the kid is still another season or two away from making his NHL debut, much less becoming an impact player.

Carter would give the Jackets two big bodies on their top line, and more importantly, a guy who can feed Nash the puck with consistency.

The two could pair up to be one of the more dangerous duos in the League if they developed chemistry.  And Nash has a history of clicking well with talented centers.  His play with Sidney Crosby at the Olympics and with various centers across five straight All-Star games makes that apparent.

With a young and underrated group of defensemen—Grant Clitsome, Sami Lepisto, Marc Methot and Anton Starlman all made large strides during the last two seasons—and plenty of character players throughout the lineup, Carter could be one of the last missing links in Columbus.