It’s mid-November and we’re nearing the quarter pole of another NHL season. After the first twenty games or so, the GMs around the league know what kind of team they have.
For the Columbus Blue Jackets, the season has been a downright disaster so far. They have earned three wins in 18 games to start the season, with no signs of turning it around.
To make matters worse, the Jackets’ star acquisition in the summer may already want out. This hasn’t been confirmed, but rumor has it Jeff Carter has asked for a trade.
Carter has been hampered by an injury that has kept him out of all but eight games this year. As this is being written, he has yet to score a goal, tallying only three assists.
If it’s true he’s asked for a trade, should the Kings get in on the action? If they do want to trade for him, they’d better be sure, as he carries a $5.3 million cap hit until 2022.
Carter can play center or wing. He relies on his big shot to produce most of his offense as his passing skills are not all that great. He also has decent two-way skills.
The Jackets traded forward Jakub Voracek and a first round pick to acquire Carter from the Flyers last summer and the thinking is the Kings would have to pay equal value to pry him away from Ohio.
The Kings are strapped for cap space at the moment, so they would need to send some salary the other way. That means a roster player or two would have to be traded. Columbus wants to salvage what’s left of the season, so they will want a roster player anyway.
With a glance at the Columbus roster, it would appear they have a need for defensemen. If the Kings want Carter, the negotiations would probably start at Jack Johnson and move from there. He’d be a tough loss, but with the play of Slava Voynov of late, he’s not impossible to replace.
Columbus also has goalie troubles, but appear adamant on letting Steve Mason figure out his game. Not that the Kings would be willing to trade them someone like goaltender Jonathan Quick anyway.
If he’s traded he would rejoin former teammate and close friend Mike Richards. Carter could find himself rekindling old magic on the same line as Richards.
It would be nice to have a player of Carter’s caliber on the roster, but the Kings already have a stacked forward group, so they shouldn’t overpay to acquire him, as he’s far from a necessary piece.
Having said that, there is a spot available for him in the top-six (thanks to Dustin Penner) and he would look good suiting up next to Richards and Dustin Brown.
Jeff Carter would provide the Kings with another 30 goal option and further legitimize them as Stanley Cup contenders.