The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports.
Carter has one year left on his current contract, with a $5.27 million cap hit entering the 2021-22 season.
Through 40 games, Carter has eight goals and 19 points, and though he’s not the world-class player that he used to be, he could provide some ancillary scoring punch for a Penguins team that is lingering as a contender.
Carter’s underlying numbers aren’t great this year, with sub-50 percent Corsi For, Fenwick For and expected goals for percentages, while playing 16:27 per game. The 36-year-old is now four years removed from his last 60-point plus season and frankly, his name recognition outweighs his real value. But that’s not to say it’s a terrible deal in and of itself for the Penguins, although further analysis is contingent upon knowing what the conditions are on the picks involved.
Pittsburgh is banking on Carter serving as an immediate upgrade at third-line center over the inexperienced Frederick Gaudreau, who has posted a goal and four points in 13 games to date, and is likely to be more productive than Teddy Blueger, who was just taken off injured reserve after spending nearly a month inactive.
Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke has an affinity for name-brand players with a bit of an edge to him, and probably wants to remember Carter as the imperative member of two Stanley Cup-winning Kings teams, along with his key contributions to Canada’s gold-medal win in 2014 at the Sochi Olympics. Carter simply isn’t that guy anymore and expecting him to turn back the clock is setting him up for failure. He is, however, an immediate upgrade on the bottom-six options for the Penguins and if he adds more veteran experience to a team that boasts two future Hall of Famers, helping spur the team towards Cup contention again, it’s a short-term win, long-term consequences be damned.
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