Flyers to trade Carter – Possibly for a goalie?
Carter, who has struggled in consecutive playoff seasons and is entering the final year of a contract that pays him $5 million.
Carter certainly deserves credit for returning early from two broken feet, and it would be unfair to judge him on his playoff performance. But with Briere and Giroux flourishing at center and Carter out of place on the wing, there is simply no room for him on the roster.
So the question may not be whether the Flyers should trade Carter, but for whom? Do they deal him for a young goalie, like Jonathan Bernier , Jonathan Quick , Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak ? Or, do they trade him for a much-needed, top-line right wing like Florida’s Nathan Horton ($4 million cap hit for three years) or Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan ($1.9 cap hit for one year)?
The Flyers could also use a productive right wing to go with Giroux and van Riemsdyk. Mark Recchi, a 42-year-old unrestricted free agent who followed an 18-goal regular season with six goals in 13 playoff games, might work.
Really, it comes down to this: Do you re-sign Michael Leighton at about $2 million and let him challenge Johan Backlund for the starting job? Or do you let Leighton walk and give up a player like Carter to land a prospect you can groom into your No. 1 goalie for the next 10 years?
It appears highly unlikely the Flyers will go the free-agent route with a goalie, simply because it would be cost-prohibitive.
Leighton certainly struggled vs. the Blackhawks in the finals, but the fact he got them there after missing seven weeks with a high ankle sprain is amazing. Just as important, his teammates believe he should return as the No. 1 netminder.
Of course, if Leighton is looking for a contract in the $3 million range, the Flyers would be wise to let him walk and trade for one of the young goalies in Los Angeles or Montreal.