Darren Dreger of TSN kicked things off with this tweet, with fellow TSN insider Bob McKenzie following up. Kelly Chase, part of the St.Louis Blues broadcast team, then gave us this tweet, saying that Columbus scouts have no interest in goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Aaron Portzline of the Dispatch agreed with Chase's comments.
Then something interesting happened- Rich Hammond, who writes the LA Kings Insider blog, gave us this tweet, (a link to his blog) which was soon after retweeted by the official Kings twitter account. Now, I'm unsure of how common it is for an official team account to RT speculation and rumor, but this one seemed strange, even though Hammond is a beat writer for the Kings' official site.
EDIT: At 8:32 PM EST, Darren Dreger announced that the deal had been finalized.I've modified the post below to reflect this.
The trade goes down as Carter to the Kings for Jack Johnson and a first round pick. If Carter was truly unhappy as a Blue Jacket, shedding his huge contract and attitude alone is a positive. The first round pick almost goes without saying- the Jackets will need to stockpile as many draft choices as possible over the next year or so, to give the rebuild the proper base. The pick is conditional on whether or not the Kings make the playoffs, if they do, the pick is in June. If not, the pick is in 2013.
Jack Johnson is the key piece coming back to the Jackets. He's a legitimate top-four blueliner, who loves the physical stuff and has a decent offensive side. He's currently sitting at 8G-16A-24PTS in 61 games played, already tieing his career high in goals. Last season he finished with 42 points, playing in all 82 games. The 42 points were a career high. Since making the jump to the NHL in 2006-2007, he's been dogged by terrible plus/minus numbers. He's a career -90. Johnson is in the first year of a seven-year deal, which has a cap hit of $4,367,143 per season. His actually salary sees him paid $3.5 million in the first three seasons, and $5.0 million in the final four. All numbers are of course, thanks to Cap Geek.
To be honest I'm happy that this deal doesn't involve Jonathan Bernier. I think it's about time the Jackets focused on acquiring an experienced goaltender, rather than going on potential alone. Bernier has the talent, that much is known, but he barely plays and has yet to fill the role of number one goaltender.
For the Kings, this move makes sense. They are dead last in scoring. Carter and Richards are best buds. The Kings have Slava Voinov and Thomas Hickey waiting in the wings on defense. All signs point to this deal going down sooner, rather than later.
I am very much in favor of this deal. Defensemen who can skate and put up points are hard to come by, and Johnson is signed long-term at a decent cap hit. The pick will likely be in the middle of the round, giving the Jackets a shot at a pretty good player to add to the stable.