Right now, the Flyers have five centers on the team. Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Blair Betts and Jeff Carter. Each player has a defined role. Danny Briere goes with Ville Leino (who the Flyers need to resign as well) and Scott Hartnell. Claude Giroux and Mike Richards can center any of the top three lines and be productive and Blair Betts plays his role on the fourth line and the penalty kill.
There's no place for Jeff Carter to center on this team. Carter can't go on the fourth line to replace Blair Betts because, well let's face it, Carter can't play on the fourth line. Carter can't replace Richards (signed through 2018/19), Giroux (just signed a three year contract extension) or Briere (signed through 2014/15).
Well, Carter could play out of position on the wing I suppose. Aside from the fact that his stats are much lower when he plays the wing, the Flyers could fit him in.
But how could they fit him in salary cap-speaking? The Flyers already have $52,313,096 committed to 17 players in 2011-12 after the Claude Giroux signing. With the salary cap at $59.4 million, that leaves the Flyers with slightly over $7 million to spend on players to fill out the roster. That doesn't leave much room to sign Leino, Carter and other players to fill out the team. Is Carter worth it?
Over the past three seasons, Carter has gone from 46 goals and 84 points in 2008, to 33 goals in 2009 and 61 points, to before his hat-trick yesterday, which would throw off his predictions, was on pace for 27 goals and 59 points in 2010. His statistics have slowly gone down and his errant shots that completely miss the goal have gone way up.
Carter is taking shots simply for the sake of taking shots. He'll skate in on the wing and shoot the puck before he gets to the circle. He doesn't look for the pass or to make a play, he just looks to hit top-shelf and more often than not, misses it. And when Carter does find the back of the net most of the time it's a direct result of a great play or a hard-work play from another player, and not from Carter.
Signing Claude Giroux to an extension was the best signing the Flyers have made in a while but if the Flyers resign Jeff Carter to a long term deal, it may rival the Jody Shelley acquisition. Carter makes $5.5 million per year already, and there's no telling how much Philadelphia may overpay for him now.
I'm not saying the Flyers should trade Jeff Carter yet, especially since the Flyers are 7-0-1 in their last eight games. You can't mess with that kind of play. The Flyers may want to wait until the end of the season and get some compensatory draft picks for the Flyers center. But if somehow the Flyers find themselves in the midst of an extended losing streak sometime before the trade deadline, I say send Carter out of town.
Hopefully for the Flyers sake, that doesn't happen and they roll on into the playoffs on the back of Carter. But I just don't see Jeff Carter carrying anybody right now, even after his three goals yesterday.
The Flyers resigned Jeff Carter to an 11-year, $58 million deal. Crap.