Jeff Carter: Why the Trade to Columbus Was a Steal for the Philadelphia Flyers

Jason Sapunka@moreSapunkaCorrespondent IIJune 25, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 08:  Jeff Carter #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers waits during warmups before an NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 8, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

On a historically significant day of roster moves for the Philadelphia Flyers, which included trading captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings and signing Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year contract, Jeff Carter was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, the 8th overall pick in the 2011 draft (Sean Couturier) and a third-round draft pick.

Despite Philadelphia trading away the player who has led the team in goals for the past three seasons, this trade was an absolute steal for Paul Holmgren.

Carter has several glaring downsides; an 11-year contract, a habit of missing wide open nets, a resistance to physical play, and a tendency to miss wide open nets.

Only three players with 30+ goals had a worse shooting percentage than Jeff Carter's 10.7.

Carter was seventh among all NHL players this past season in goals with 36 despite being third in total shots at 335. Carter led the Flyers in goals by just two over Danny Briere, but took 89 more shots.

Though it is not a statistic which can be measured, a close observer of each Flyers game played during this past season would concur; as many pucks as Jeff Carter has put in the back of the net, he's shot wide despite being set up perfectly.

Myriads of offensive opportunities were blown by incomprehensible misses from Carter. The consistent inaccuracy paired with obvious scoring talent made Carter one of the most frustrating players to watch for the Philadelphia faithful.

A microcosm of Jeff Carter can be found in the last game of his 2009-2010 season. After leading the Flyers in scoring during the regular season, Carter came back early in the playoffs despite breaking his foot in the first round.

Minutes after Scott Hartnell tied Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Carter found a way to hit Antti Niemi in the chest with a shot, despite having the puck on his stick with a half-open net. Unfortunately for Carter, this may be his most memorable moment in the orange and black uniform.

In Jakub Voracek, the Flyers not only get a player who is five years younger than Carter at a significantly lower price, but one that may turn out to be better than the gifted goal scorer Holmgren traded away.

At 21, Voracek has completed three NHL seasons, all with the Columbus Blue Jackets. His career totals are: 39 goals and 95 assists, for a total of 134 points.

After the 2007-2008 season, Carter was 23 and had completed his first three NHL seasons. His career totals were: 66 goals and 66 assists for a total of 132 points.

Voracek's point contributions are just as productive as Carter's were at that stage of his career. The differences are Voracek sets up more goals than he scores, and Voracek is two years younger than Carter was.

Obviously, the young Voracek will continue to develop and should be producing more points in the upcoming seasons, especially when he is surrounded with the offensive talent the Flyers currently have under contract, such as Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Scott Hartnell.

Voracek may be capable of scoring more points than Jeff Carter within two years.

As if this wasn't sufficient enough, the Flyers were given the eighth overall pick in yesterday's entry draft as well.

Holmgren turned that pick into Sean Couturier, a large two-way forward. Couturier should be able to use his size effectively and mature into the physical type of scorer Philadelphia loves to watch.

Doubters will be lost in efforts to understand how a Stanley Cup contender could improve itself by trading away the leading goal scorer, but Philadelphia has acquired a pair of youths that could very well turn out to be better hockey players than Jeff Carter.