When the Penguins take the ice at the arena formerly known as the Staples Center tomorrow night, one can expect it might be an emotional night for Jeff Carter.
The 37-year-old Penguins forward will be returning to Los Angeles for the first time since being traded last year, a place he called home for nearly a decade.
Carter started his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, drafted 11th overall in 2003. An organizational shakeup in City of Brotherly Love would lead Carter to be traded to Columbus, but his stay there was short-lived. He was then dealt to Los Angeles, where he was a big part of the success the Kings had, winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.
Flash forward to last year, when Penguins general manager and former LA assistant general manager Ron Hextall brought Carter to Pittsburgh, sending a conditional 3rd round pick and a 4th round pick to the Kings.
Carter was asked about his thoughts on being traded to Pittsburgh yesterday ahead of the team’s game scheduled vs. the Kings.
Carter on when he first was traded to Pittsburgh: "It was a tough day, I’ll be honest with you. I wanted to finish my career here [in LA], but you understand the other side of it. The trade worked out great for me. I think it gave me a boost in my career and prolonged it."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 12, 2022
Carter’s career certainly seems to have been boosted by his time in Pittsburgh already, with the veteran forward seemingly scoring at will from time to time,
During his time in Pittsburgh over the past year, Carter has scored 20 goals and chipped in another 11 assists in his 40-some games with the team, even putting together the first 4-goal performance of his career last spring against the Sabres.
Carter is in the final year of an 11-year, $58 million contract he signed with the Flyers in 2010 before being traded. It’s hard to predict whether Carter will want to end his career in Pittsburgh, as he’ll turn 38 at the midseason mark next year. If he does decide to keep playing and chooses to do so elsewhere, with how he has played thus far in Pittsburgh, it’s not extreme to think that a number of teams would be interested in signing him.
Is a third Stanley Cup in the cards for him with the Penguins this season? Brian Burke seems to think it’s possible.
How would you grade Jeff Carter’s time with the Penguins so far?