From Philadelphia to Los Angeles, Jeff Carter’s had a quietly successful career at the NHL level.
He broke into the league at the age of 21 with the Philadelphia Flyers who drafted him 11th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Carter spent six seasons with the Flyers following his debut season scoring 181 goals and 343 points in 461 regular season games.
His Flyers went to the playoffs five times in his six years – with Carter contributing 21 points in 47 postseason games with the orange, black and white.
But following the 2010-11 season, the Flyers shipped a 26-year-old Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2011 offseason – a move that would last long for Carter.
On June 23, 2011, the Flyers and Jackets finalized a deal that saw Carter head to Columbus. In return, the Flyers acquired a package that included Jakub Voracek, a 2011 first-round pick (Sean Couturier at eighth overall) and a 2011 third-round pick (Nick Cousins at 68th overall).
|Going to Columbus||Going to Philadelphia|
|F Jeff Carter||F Jakub Voracek|
|2011 1st-round pick|
(#8 – Sean Couturier)
|2011 3rd-round pick|
(#68 – Nick Cousins)
At the time, Voracek was just 21 and had just finished his third season with the Blue Jackets. In his first three years he notched 134 points (39 goals and 95 assists) in 241 regular season games.
While the Jackets believed they were getting themselves a potential top-line center in Carter, what they didn’t know was that their newest acquisition wouldn’t really find his way in Columbus. Carter struggled throughout the season with injuries and just didn’t seem like he fit with the organization – a small blemish on an otherwise successful career.
He played just 39 games with the Jackets scoring 15 goals and 25 points before he was shipped out once again to the Los Angeles Kings (a trade we’ll discuss in a future piece).
The Flying V Among Three
The Flyers came out with a healthy collection of new players in dealing away Carter – who scored 46 goals for them on his way to 84 points in 2008-09 as a 24-year-old.
At the time, they got a 22-year-old Voracek who has developed into quite an offensive player. In six seasons with the Flyers since the trade, Voracek has 354 points (116 goals and 238 assists) in 445 regular season games to go along with 15 points (five goals and 10 assists) in 24 postseason games with the club.
He’s coming off a season where the Flyers couldn’t provide any consistency and yet the 27-year-old was able to lead the team with 61 points in 82 games. Voracek remains under contract with the Flyers through the 2023-24 season at a cap hit of $8.25-million per season.
Along with Voracek, the Flyers also received a first-round which they used to draft Couturier and a third-round pick used to draft Nick Cousins (both in 2011).
While Couturier has taken on the role of a more defensive-minded center, the 24-year-old still ranked sixth among Flyers in scoring in 2016-17. His contract doesn’t expire until the end of the 2021-22 season and based on the fact that the Flyers protected him in the Expansion Draft, his role on this club is safe.
Over six seasons with the Flyers, Couturier has 191 points (70 goals and 121 assists in 416 regular season games to go along with four points in 19 postseason games.
As for the final piece the Flyers got in the trade – Cousins – remained a Flyer up until this offseason. Cousins played parts of three seasons with the Flyers racking up 27 points (12 goals and 15 assists) in 107 regular season games. But on June 16, 2017, the Flyers traded the 24-year-old along with Merrick Madsen to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for 20-year-old Brendan Warren and a 2018 fifth-round pick.
|Going to Arizona||Going to Philadelphia|
|F Nick Cousins||F Brendan Warren|
|G Merrick Madsen||2018 5th-round pick|
Jackets or Flyers: Who Won?
From this trade alone, the clear winner was the Flyers. They got three pieces for a guy that played less than half a season with the Blue Jackets. That’s not to say that Carter wasn’t a great piece going the other way – but the Blue Jackets definitely didn’t get their money’s worth when it came to the big center.
On the other side, aside from Cousins being traded, the Flyers still have Couturier and Voracek on their roster and get production from both of them. While Couturier’s isn’t always offensive, NHL clubs do need role players and that’s exactly how the young forward fits in.
In return for Cousins, the Flyers got a young prospect and a fifth-round pick in 2018. It will take time to see just how well these two pieces factor into the Flyers lineup.
While the Flyers remained relatively unscathed following this move, the Jackets eventually moved Carter for Jack Johnson and a pick. The second Carter trade (which, again, we will talk about in a future piece) made the Flyers-Jackets trade a much closer one in terms of value. Still, it’s hard not to think that the Flyers came out on the winning side when they traded away Carter.