BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 08: Jack Johnson of Los Angeles is challenged by Jack Johnson of Buffalo during a friendly match between Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings at O2 World on October 8, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)
After news officially broke that Jeff Carter had been traded to Los Angeles for Jack Johnson and a 1st round pick, there were no more questions as to whether or not the Blue Jackets were going to be blowing up the roster. Antoine Vermette and Jeff Carter gone in a matter of two days.
It also didn't take long to hear positive comments coming from Johnson, a nice change from the previous lock-down of Jeff Carter for days after his trade from the Philadelphia Flyers to Columbus.
"I’m excited by this," Johnson said. "I’m excited to go a team that wants me and to play in a great sports city."I want to be part of the solution there. I know they’ve had some bad breaks and some tough seasons, but it’s going to be great when it turns around. Really, I don’t think there is anything sweeter in sports than being part of a team when they get it turned around."
It should be noted that Johnson is a Midwestern boy, born in Indiana and raised in Michigan. Although he attended that school up North, he at least comes to Ohio with an appreciation already in place for the city and lifestyle, not unlike James Wisniewski.
Johnson instantly makes the Jackets top 4 stronger on defense. While he's not necessarily a top-pairing defenseman, when you add in Wisniewski, Fedor Tyutin, and Nikita Nikitin, there's a good mix of size, skill, and speed. To say the least, we've seen much worse in Columbus.
More importantly, when you have enough players with this attitude, it will start to become infectious. When Johnson, Wiz, Derek Dorsett, Vinny Prospal, Derek MacKenzie, and others want to leave it all on the ice, the room slowly starts to shrink for those who don't. If someone starts gliding, the vocal leaders will have room to call them out. And that's exactly what this team needs - to tip the scale in favor of everyone competing. As sad as it may be, this is a great way to start.
For all the comments saying this was a bad deal for Columbus, Carter's attitude and contract leaving town at least make this move passable for the Blue Jackets. The team saves money over the next decade, has a player that actually wants to be here, and from his comments sounds like a leader and someone that can help push his teammates. Jeff Carter was never going to be that.
I don't care if it's the last place Blue Jackets or playing in the AHL, any player with the approach of Jeff Carter is a problem. Kings fans are happy now, and they probably should be. But normal players don't get traded twice in less than one season. It just doesn't happen.
John Boruk of CSN Philadelphia tweeted:
On the Richards-Carter relationship one Flyer told me: Mike likes Jeff but Jeff loves Mike.
So, Carter gets his bromance, but this trade can really only be evaluated in the next one to two years to see where the Kings and Blue Jackets stand. It shouldn't be overlooked that for some reason, whatever it was, the Flyers wanted to trade both captain Mike Richards and Carter in the same off-season. In the same day. The Flyers are sitting 1 point out of fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Hmm.
The first round pick shouldn't be overlooked, either. Yes, Columbus' track record for drafting is dodgy at best, but a first round pick is nothing to scoff at. John Moore, one of the Blue Jackets top prospects, was selected 21st overall.
Some other good to great players selected with pick 16 or later in the last five years: Michael Del Zotto, Nick Leddy, Chris Kreider, Luca Sbisa, Tyler Ennis, John Carlson, Max Pacioretty, and Jonathon Blum.
Is this a home run deal for Columbus? No way. But it's about as good as you can make a bad situation.
I'll end with the sentiment that was shared by Dannie Brown of Strait Jackets - it's a shame this didn't work out. The fans in Columbus deserve a player like Jeff Carter coming in and playing at an All-Star level. No one here's calling for the Cup - not yet anyway - just some respectability. In year 12, I don't think that's too much to ask.
But it didn't work out, so let's move on. Hopefully Plan B is better.