I’ve stayed pretty quiet on this whole Rick Nash to the LA Kings hubbub, partially because Scribe is spasming out far more than our quota of trade speculation posts but mostly because I haven’t really settled on a feeling about trading for Nash. My general thoughts have been that no trade will rectify what ails the Kings but also that this team needs a bit of a core shakeup. I’ve been warming to the idea of trading Brown, am 50/50 on losing Johnson and there was a moment during the Calgary game on Saturday when Kopitar had a chance to recover a puck at the blue line during a powerplay but instead stood uselessly at the right point while Williams lost the puck and the zone that made my teeth clench, my rage spike and one of the more obnoxious voices in my head yell ‘Trade his ass!’. Just a flash. I’ve since calmed. A little.
However one thing of which we can all agree, even considering Scribe’s worming into Lombardi’s mind, is that creating a big hole (read: Brown or Johnson) while acquiring a big player doesn’t help all that much.
As we saw with the Richards trade, we are not so deep a team as we’d like to believe that trading away our regular NHL players can be easily counterbalanced by the farm system. Truly, if we are making a trade, it should be one of two kinds of trades. Either a star for star trade, think Chris Stewart for Erik Johnson (as opposed to a big package for a star), or a trade that is centered around futures, more akin to, and I cringe to say this, the Penner trade. I don’t particularly like the idea of any other kind of trade. So without even considering the lusty feelings Nash on Kopi’s wing arouses in me, I can rule him out of one side of my brain.
But what about Jeff Carter? Well, while Nash is a big, mean, slash skating, power forward winger, Carter is a big, not mean, plodding, sniping center. Both players have a nose for the net, but this comes down to some ‘P’s for me. Not that Carter is a partier, a primadona or a pouter. Rather his position, price and perks.
Position. Carter is a natural center but he can play all 3 forward positions. “Surly, you dumbass, what does it matter that he’s a center?” Well you contrarian dufus in my skull, having 3 gret centers is a boon and since Stoll better not get another contract, Carter is consistently over 50% on the draw. Kopi is OK on the dot, Richards is wildly inconsistent. Carter has a face-off percentage of 51.3% this season and an average of 52.8% over the last 3 seasons. Not quite Stoll numbers (who is 56.3% in the same time span), but Kopi is 50.97% and Richards is 50%. With regards to face-offs, every percent is magnified over the course of a season.
“Well OK fine, but this is about goals!” Goals, I know, those things Carter has scored more off over the last 4 seasons. 127 to Nash’s 124. We won’t get into linemates and the fact that Carter played for a team that didn’t completely suck and all that jazz, Carter’s shot is as good, if not better than Nash’s. That’s what we need, a shot.
But we do need a winger. It’s all about options people. Carter can easily play on Kopitar’s wing, or Richards wing, or, and keep an open mind here, allows the Kings to try something we’ve all wondered about at one time or another, Kopi on the left wing. Insanity. The point is that possible line combinations are notably vaster with Carter than they are with Nash.
Price. Carter hates Columbus the way Rick Santorum hates premarital sex. That’s not fair. Carter has a good reason to hate Columbus. More on why we shouldn’t care that Carter despises his current team in a moment but for now his status as a malcontent means he will not be fetching the king’s ransom that Nash will, despite his scoring prowess and long term contract. Where Nash will command Brown or Johnson and Bernier and more, Carter could be had likely for a pick and a strong prospect. Zatkoff/Jones and a first. Maybe Martinez, tops. You may think I’m crazy but I don’t think any team is about to offer up close to what Columbus paid for Carter last summer.
Then there is also the price of the contract. Carter comes with more years, but at over $2.5 million less per year. That’s a third line winger or raise for Voynov right there. That could be the difference in Quick’s salary.
Perks. I am a big fan of intangibles. Carter doesn’t bring them. Least not the kind you think about, character, work ethic, leadership. No, he brings an ego, one I think could be well stroked by Los Angeles. If there is one thing I am willing to bet motivates Carter a great deal, it’s women. Another P word. Well, enjoy success in Los Angeles and you will have the nations best crop of bimbos and boob jobs to choose from. You could look at being a partier as a negative, but I look it as extra incentive to do well. But let’s not discount his friendship with Richards. Pals, the final word in my little mess of forced alliteration. Acquiring Carter will not only add the goals that he brings, but it is reasonable to believe he will elevate Richards’ game as well. The two have chemistry together and being reunited on the team if not the same line should invigorate both of their games. I know the former Flyer thing pisses everybody off, and it should, but perhaps getting a close friend of a player will offset the bad karma Lombardi has accumulated by trading his star’s best friends. Though I do have to wonder if getting Carter would make Doughty jealous…
So with all that said, I think Carter is the smarter move.
However, emotionally… I want Nash.