Earlier this month, the Columbus Blue Jackets' owners decided it was in the best interests of the team to put Jeff Carter on the trading block. Actually trading him is, of course, an entirely different matter.
What's the value for a player that has the potential for 40 goals? One that has a $5,272,727 cap hit through 2022? CBJ Blog had some trade proposals that seem like fair value … until you get to the intangibles.
Face it: Jeff Carter will be moving on to his third team in two seasons if he's moved at the deadline. There's a reason, beyond cap space for Ilya Bryzgalov, that the Philadelphia Flyers jettisoned both Carter and Mike Richards last summer. There are reasons beyond on-ice performance and salary why the Jackets would look to deal him now. Rob Kunz of 10TV went as far as to call him "damaged goods."
How bad is the damage? According to one Columbus writer, teams are wary of trading for Carter because of his attitude.
Rick Gethin, formerly of The Hockey Writers and blogging on The Cannon, writes that Carter's comportment in Columbus is well-known around the League:
Independent sources have confirmed that there have been inquiries about a Carter trade, but they cooled to the notion of a trade when his unhappiness/attitude with Columbus were confirmed to the interested teams.
While this doesn't preclude a trade from happening, there is absolutely no way for Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson to come close to getting in return for Carter, what Philadelphia got when they traded Carter away. He knows this, and at this point, has to be willing to take almost anything in return for clearing Carter from the team. Jeff Carter is making Adam Foote, and his notorious trade demand, look like a choir boy at Sunday Mass.
Why does this matter? According to Cap Geek, Carter's no-trade clause kicks in fully for the 2012-13 season. Wherever he's going, he's probably staying.
In a move that'll no doubt make Ritch Winter happy, Gethin reached out to Carter's agent Rick Curran for comment:
He [said] that "he's tried to give his best effort while in Columbus. His main concern is to get healthy and get back in the lineup as soon as possible to help this team. He shares the same frustrations with the team about the way this season has unfolded." He concluded by saying that Carter "has not made a trade request" to the Columbus organization.
Interesting times indeed for the Jackets. A time when 250 people head the arena on a game-less Saturday, carrying signs like "All-Star City, Bush-League Management", to protest the direction of the team; and a time when that very direction could be determined if, and how, Jeff Carter is traded.