Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets: Why He Is More Motivated Than Ever

Franklin SteeleAnalyst IIJune 28, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jeff Carter #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Wells Fargo Center on November 18, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Lightning defeated the Flyers 8-7.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers can defend themselves however they see fit. Salary cap pressures. The need to sign a top goaltender. A desire to look for the future.


The point is a simple one: The Flyers promised Jeff Carter that he wouldn't be traded, and then a few weeks later the team proceeded to trade him.  And now Blue Jackets fans want to wonder if they should worry about Carter's silence.

Columbus, worry not.

Carter is bent out of shape for one reason and one reason only. 

That Flyers management would sign him to an extensive and long-term contract, and then deal him.  That is his issue.  That he made a commitment to the team and the city, and he was dealt for future considerations (more or less) to a club that can hardly make the playoffs year in and year out.

Admit it. You'd be pissed too.

Carter has the talent to be one of the better players in the NHL despite what Philly fans are repeating to themselves.  Now in Columbus, suddenly, he has a trait that no one can put a price on. 

Carter has motivation.

He has the motivation to set up Rick Nash for 55 goals in a season.

He has the desire to backcheck teams to death and leave them wondering if this is the same player that they remember.

He can come in as borderline hockey phenom and make himself a hockey god—in Columbus, Ohio—and Carter knows it.  He has to.

If you're Jeff Carter, what do you have to play for? 

After being dealt from the Flyers—a Stanley Cup Contender just a few short months ago—what do you have to lose?  And for Carter, the answer is nothing.

The guy can go for broke now, and be the man in a way that he never imagined possible for the Blue Jackets.  Because Columbus fans are already buying his sweaters and preparing signs welcoming him for the home opener.  His face is already being printed on tickets for the long-time season ticket holders that have been waiting for the legitimacy that he brings to the team.

Columbus is saying to Carter:  You're our legitimacy.  Do us proud.

And after being handled and put on a rail by the Flyers, why wouldn't he accept this assignment?  To be cast off to the Island of Misfit toys that is the Blue Jackets may be all the motivation Carter needs to find his two-way game and to tap into everything he could be.

To take his game to another level entirely.

Philly fans have been quick to cast out Carter and welcome Jakub Voracek like he was some kind of steal.  But I can go ahead and squash the suspense now:  Voracek isn't a steal.  But you'll see that in time. 

Comparing the trade isn't the point of this write up though. 

The point is to say that there will be few players in the league more hell bent and determined than Jeff Carter in Union Blue come this October.  Because he was betrayed by the managers of his former team.  Nothing more and nothing less.

The NHL is a league that has no room for sentiment.  But this was different.

And I reckon that he'll be a player that is beyond determined to prove that trading him was a mistake for the Flyers.  For the next decade, Carter will be driven by the demons of this trade.  And once he comes out from hiding and gets back to business at training camp?

Fans across the league will remember why he was considered a commodity.