The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired forward Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional 2022 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2023 fourth-round draft pick, the team announced late Sunday evening.
Some of the conditions attached to the pick are that the third-round pick will become a second-round pick if the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final, and Carter appears in at least 50 percent of the team’s games. Carter is in the final year of his contract and carries a cap hit of $5,272,727 annually, and the Kings have retained 50 percent of that salary in the deal.
The 36-year-old brings a veteran presence to the club and will likely slot in the team’s third-line center role, behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Despite his age, the two-time Stanley Cup Champion is still a very useful player with a desire to win, and his goal-scoring ability will help bolster the Pens’ already dangerous offense. The former first-round pick (11th Overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft has proven to be a useful player throughout his career, spending his last 10 seasons with the Kings, and was an integral part of their two Stanley Cup wins in 2012 and 2014.
The 6-foot-3, 219-pound forward has registered 751 career points in 1080 career games, spread across three different organizations. The London, ON-native began his career with the Flyers where he spent six seasons, before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, a first-round pick (Sean Couturier) and a third-round pick (Nick Cousins). After a brief stint with the Jackets, Carter was again traded to the LA Kings for Jack Johnson and a first-round pick (Marko Dano). The four-time 30-goal scorer has been a key piece of the Kings organization since being acquired, serving as the team’s alternate Captain. However, it is important to note that Carter has been known for his ability to shine in the playoffs, another reason why the Pens would have high interest in the veteran forward. The Canadian has posted 74 career playoff points (39 G, 35 A) in 120 career playoff games, including 25 points in 26 games during the Kings 2014 cup run. Aside from his leadership and experience, his ability to perform in important games makes this depth piece a very important one for the Pens heading into the playoffs.
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It is not clear where Coach Mike Sullivan will use Carter, however it is likely that with a completely healthy lineup, the former Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound will slot in alongside Jared McCann and Brandon Tanev on the team’s third line. The forward is no stranger to several Pens players including Captain Sidney Crosby, who represented team Canada alongside Carter in the 2014 Winter Olympics where the two won Gold. Carter tallied five points in six games during that tournament.
A two-time NHL All-star, Jeff Carter has tallied eight goals and 11 assists in 40 games played this season, and the acquisition for the Penguins only bolsters their young and speedy offense, adding veteran leadership and grit heading into an interesting 2021 NHL Playoffs.