As reported by TSN and the Dispatch's Aaron Portzline, the Jackets have traded for center Jeff Carter.
Going back to the Flyers are winger Jake Voracek, a first round pick and a third rounder. It's assumed that both picks are in this year's draft. For the first time in club history, the Jackets have a legitimate, star number one center. While he's more of a goal-scorer than playmaker, Carter gives the Jackets another go-to offensive weapon to compliment Rick Nash.
Carter comes with a an eleven year contract, with a $5.3 million per season cap hit. His salary for the next 11 seasons breaks down as such:
2011/12: 6 million
2012/13: 6.25 million
2014/15: 6.75 million
2015/16: 7 million
2017/18: 6.5 million
2018/19: 5 million
Carter played in 80 games last season, putting up 36 goals, 30 assists for 66 points. He'll likey start the season on the number one line with Rick Nash, where the pair will form one of the most potent duos in the NHL.
Voracek's development plateaued last season, and while he still may blossom into a star, the trade had to be made from a Columbus perspective. The club needs to win now, and Carter will go a long way in helping the Jackets get back to the playoffs.
Personally, I like the trade. It feels fantastic to finally have a number one center, a player who can take some heat off of Rick Nash. It saddens me to see Voracek gone however, I have been a fan of his since his days with my hometown Halifax Mooseheads. I wish him all the best with Philly.
This draft isn't known for it's high-end talent, so losing the number 8 pick and a third rounder is something the organization can easily swallow, especially if it's for an elite talent like Carter.
Now that it's a done deal- let's have some fun.
With two shooters in Nash and Carter, who's the other winger? Kristian Huselius is a playmaking winger, and he'll likely get first shot. That said, with Ryan Johansen with the team next year, why not move Derick Brassard to the wing on the top line, putting veterans Huselius and R.J. Umberger on the second line with The Johan?
That would allow Antoine Vermette to slide to the wing on the third line, (where he would do wonders) alongside Samuel Pahlsson and _____. Put me in the camp that wants to see Scottie Upshall re-signed, so he could fill that spot.
Nash - Carter - Brassard
Huselius - Johansen - Umberger
Vermette - Pahlsson - Upshall
Dorsett - MacKenzie - Calvert
It's fun to dream, but we'll have to wait a few more months to see how the lines will shake out. Who knows? Maybe GM Scott Howson isn't finished tinkering with the forwards. He still has a lot of work to do on the blueline, but fre
Wow. Uh, Myth Confirmed, I guess?
This is a deal that has been rumored all the way back to last summer. I agree that the cost is sharp, especially because I like Jake a lot, but this is also something of a message from Scott Howson to the fans that he'll make whatever moves possible - even parting with a player that he selected in such a meaningful moment in Columbus - to make this team a winner.
While some have said that Carter is a scorer, not a passer, I'd point out that for the last three seasons he has averaged 33 assists a year, and with Nash on his wing, you have to wonder if this might finally be the catalyst needed to push Nash into an 80 point+ player.
We'll have to see what happens next - obviously the team still needs to improve the defense, and one has to wonder if the sudden logjam of top six forwards (even if Vermette should move to the wing, as Howson alluded to during his pre-draft press conference) might be addressed by moving Kristian Huselius to another team in exchange for a defenseman? With two of Columbus' draft picks gone, could the rest be sacrificed on the altar of WIN NOW?
I'm incredibly curious to see what happens next. Suddenly this is a very different Blue Jackets squad, and I don't think Howson's anywhere near done...
First and foremost, in a vacuum, I will miss Jake. The guy looks like he truly enjoys playing the game, and let's be honest: he has all the physical tools to be a solid 70-point player. That said, he regressed a bit last year, apparently had some conditioning issues, and could be a positively maddening player to watch at times.
As for the trade, what's not to like? This team has had a glut of wingers recently, and has been begging for a legit #1 centerman for a long time. In addition to his scoring, Carter is +51 over his six-year career, and wins over 52% of his face-offs. So, it's not like he's a one-dimensional player. This move instantly makes their entire top six better by allowing them to re-slot some guys, and we don't have to wait three or four years for any help from the guy they would have drafted at #8.
I would disagree with Mike slightly, and my top two lines (barring any further moves) would look like this:
Adding Carter allows Howson to keep Ryan Johansen in Columbus, and gives he and Scott Arniel the luxury of not rushing the kid along. Columbus could conceivably put Johansen and Matt Calvert together on a third scoring line that plays maybe 10 minutes a game.
The move also fills such a huge hole that it allows a guy like Antoine Vermette to move back to wing, where he's a more natural player. It also means Columbus could move a guy like Sammy Pahlsson for some blue-line help, because I think Derek MacKenzie is responsible and energetic enough to play more minutes.
If nothing else, it finally looks like Scott Howson is ready to try to make this team A LOT better right now, and is no longer going to preach patience in the name of developing youngsters. And, Carter and Nash together... well, that sets up to make one of the best top lines in the game, and certainly will help Columbus score more goals. What's not to like there?