The Pittsburgh Penguins added some forward depth Sunday night by acquiring Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for two conditional draft picks. The Kings are getting a 2022 third-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2024. TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun reported that the third-round pick becomes a second-round pick if the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final and Carter plays in at least 50-percent of the games.
Carter has eight goals and 11 assists this season in 40 games for Los Angeles, which has fallen into seventh place in the Honda West Division. Carter has one year remaining after this season on an 11-year, $58 million contract that carries a cap hit of $5.27 million. His cap hit will be $2.36 for the Penguins after the Kings retained half of his salary for this season.
Carter Adds Insurance at Forward
Evgeni Malkin has not played since March 16 when he suffered an upper-body injury on a hit from Jarred Tinordi of the Boston Bruins. In his absence, the Penguins have climbed near the top of the MassMutual East Division and are just two points behind the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders, who are tied for first place.
Carter brings plenty of experience to a Penguins team going all-in this season. In 1,080 regular-season games, the 36-year-old right wing has 390 goals and 361 assists combined with the Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, and Columbus Blue Jackets. He has 39 career-playoff goals in 120 games. He was part of the Kings’ 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup-winning teams.
Selected 11th overall in the 2003 Entry Draft by the Flyers, Carter scored a career-high 46 goals in 2008-09 and scored 30 goals in three other seasons (2009-10, 2012-11 and 2016-17). He has scored at least 20 goals in six other seasons.
The Penguins are hoping that Carter can fill a void as a bottom-six center for a team that will have to go through the Capitals and Islanders in the playoffs to get out of the tough East Division.
Los Angeles Begins Selling
In the days leading up to the trade deadline, the Kings have some other players that teams are interested in and may not be done dealing before 3 p.m. today. Alex Iafallo and Dustin Brown, who does have a no-trade clause, are just two names that teams might be interested in, but it remains to be seen if the Kings decide to make a move with either player. Goalie Jonathan Quick could also draw interest from teams in search of goaltending.
With Los Angeles becoming sellers, they are going all-in with rebuilding and doing it through the draft. There is a good chance that they can get in the Top 10 in July’s draft to help draft a need they have for the future.