'Get Carter' Coming To A Rink Near You?

Pretty soon the phrase “Get Carter” might be more than the title to a bad movie to GM’s around the NHL. Once again, Anson Carter has put together an early season hot streak and is driving the Oilers’ offense. Usually Carter cools off with a major slump (last year) or a significant injury (every other year) but this is a critical contract year for him and it could be different this time. Last year, Carter almost made the Canadian Olympic Team with a roaring start, but then his game went colder than Martha Stewart’s personality and his hands got stiffer than her facelift. As a result, he was forced to sign a one year – $2.4 million deal this past offseason. (managed to cash in like Martha too) This will make him an RFA at the end of the year just like fellow Oiler top guns, Comrie and Smyth.The first question then is: “What do you do when the contracts for your entire first line are due at the same time?”

Prioritize, of course. (Unless you are the Rangers, then you just pass out three pens and three small pieces of paper – “Boys, just tell me what you want, and don’t worry about the zeroes; save those wrists for the goalscoring”)

Comrie is the local boy #1 centre, only 22 yrs old with huge upside and best of all, has absolutely no leverage whatsoever. (You get to appreciate watching players playing for nothing when you grow up with the Oilers) Lowe will keep him for sure and try to tie him up long term if possible, with a likely $2.5-3.5 million/year ticket. Smyth is the best player on this team without question and he is the heart and soul of the Oilers. Lowe would have to swallow real hard to let him go, much harder than dealing Weight. Smyth has plenty of leverage with an Olympic gold, years of Oiler service and the fact that he is the only real scoring threat on LW for the Oil. (he shares a Oilers’ scoring record with Gretzky too – PP goals in a season. Means little but looks good on the resume) Smyth has arbitration rights and will want 2-3yrs at $3.5-4.5 million per season, especially if he continues his recent play. (also reminiscent of early last year) I would expect Lowe would do whatever he can to sign him.

If Carter can complete an entire year with 30-35 goals and 70-75 points he will be looking for $4-5.5 million a year. Carter has never been easy to negotiate with in the past and if he has leverage this time, you can be guaranteed that he will use it. The Oilers just can’t afford to throw $12-13 million at their first line because they won’t be able to put a team around them. Carter has less value to the team than Comrie or Smyth and thus will be the odd man out. Hemsky will be ready to eat up RW minutes in scoring opportunities next year and Jani Rita spent most of his junior career on the RW.

It looks like maybe a problem for next year, but Los Angeles and the New York Islanders are regularly rumoured to be after Carter. In fact, the rumours started as soon as he got to Edmonton. Could the Oilers get the best possible value right now? The Islanders are looking for a winger for Yashin and have Isbister, Scatchard and Torres to dangle to the Oilers. Isbister is dicey and actually not too cheap, Scatchard is serviceable and the Oilers would like Torres. LA is one of those teams with little to offer a small-market club in a trade. All of their significant roster players are older and expensive, while any younger guys are core players. They are also a little low on prospects. Cammalleri, Aulin and Frolov come to mind, but the Kings will want to keep Frolov for sure and the Oilers probably don’t want another 5’9″ centre in Cammalleri.

So if you were Kevin Lowe what would you do? Would you move Carter this year? At the draft? Sign him and trade him early next year a la Bill Guerin? (ironical since that is how they got Anson) Would you even choose Smyth and Comrie over Carter?

(I would sign him and move him next year to a different team with a decent young roster player to offer. The Oilers should be able to make a playoff run this year and I don’t think they can get equal value for Carter for this year)


17 Responses to 'Get Carter' Coming To A Rink Near You?

  1. mikster says:

    It’s a tough call.

    I would not even consider trading Carter right now, or ever until my team (the Oilers in this case) is done with the 2002-2003 regular/post-season.

    If the Oilers make a playoff run, keep Carter. If there are signs that the Oilers can miss the playoffs then trade him because a playoff team would drool to get him as an extra player, especially if a key player is injured.

    I don’t think there is a big difference between dealing Carter before re-signed and dealing Carter after he is re-signed by the Oilers. His value does stay the same. June draft day trades….meh. Maybe. Depends if Lowe and his fellow scouts find a draftee missed and know that they can get him.

    Rangers would love to get Carter, but he is a RW and that’s a no-no.

    Flyers would also like Carter, but that’s just a thought.

    Heck, many teams would want Carter.

    The best scenario is if Bettman helps the Oilers financially to keep Carter, Smyth, and Comrie without problems. Oh wait, Bettman is more interested in putting another team in Redneckville.

  2. ego100 says:

    I’d package Carter and Marchant and send them both to the Isles for Isbister,Scatchard, and Torres. They could always turn around and move Isbister to another team if he’s not really in their plans.

  3. mikster says:

    Trying to replace Carter with Isbister would be like replacing Tkachuk with with an ineffective Daze`.

    Isbister had 3 goals in his last two games, and all three were lucky squeezes.

    Sctachard isn’t much at all….

    Torres is a great prospect and the Islanders always give up on their top prospects or young guys and trade them for trash (excluding Yashin and Peca).

    Oilers can get a better deal for Carter.

  4. ego100 says:

    I don’t if i’d go as far as saying “Scatchard is nothing”. Essentially he’d replace Marchant as a 3rd line checking center. He’s strong defensively and has scored 20 goals in a season before so he isn’t a big dropoff from Marchant as far as offensive numbers go.

    I agree though, they could probably get more for Carter in a couple months when we get closer to the dealine.

  5. Rico71 says:

    I dunno…

    Something I’d love to see but I know won’t happen:

    Carter to Montreal for Marius C. and Dykhuis.

    Edmonton gets a streaky winger (like Anson, but cheaper and signed for a few years) and a 5th defenseman they would be able to play. Karl sucks at the physical play, but he’s a good skater that would benefit from playing in the West.

    Montreal upgrades in size at RW and he would look good on a line with Perreault. Also, they can afford him.

  6. burky says:

    I like Comrie and Smyth and I hope they both stay in Edmonton for a long time and not cost the Oilers too much. As for Carter, he’s too streaky a player for the Oilers and Lowe would be smart to save his pennies for Comrie and Smyth who deserve the money more. If Carter asks for too much, then trade him, he would have most value in a city with a more african-minority fan base, such as Philadelphia, who could offer Joni Pitkanen or Justin Williams in return.

  7. RooksOilers says:

    I agree with you Milkster, keep him until the end of the season. (post season that is)

    As for Comrie and Smyth, I would rather keep both these guys in a second and dump Anson (when he asks for too MUCH MONEY), because the organization has those few good prospects in Jani Rita and my GOD ALES HEMSKY!!!!

    I’ll tell you right now if Mac T starts shuffling the first line, Smyth;Comrie and someone else, then you know Mr. Lowe is shopping Carter! (remember Dougie being taken off the first line for COMRIE)

  8. Amazingoilers says:

    I’m not sure I agree with you about Ryan Smyth being the best player on the team. I think Carter is becoming better than him. Smyth goes through many streaks without any points and doesn’t get the negative publicity that Carter gets. After watching almost every Oiler game since Smyth became an Oiler I have to say he’s a bit overrated if anything. He gets the best ice time all the time, plays with the best players, and still hasn’t done as well since his first couple years in the league. I also saw him on Hockey Night In Canada’s “After Hours” show and he was asked if he wanted to remain an Oiler forever, and he said basically it was a business and he hoped the Oilers got help with the upcoming CBA but he didn’t act like it would be terrible if he went elsewhere and he said he’d live with it if the time came to play somewhere else which really suprised me. I was expecting him to say how he wanted to play here for ever and win a cup and so forth but he didn’t. Could be he’s tired of seeing his best linemates get traded away all the time. But anyhow my point is I hope the Oiler can keep Carter a couple more years because he’s just coming into his own. I don’t think we’ll have to lose any of the 3 this year anyhow because they aren’t unrestricted yet and Lowe has found ways to keep those guys all the time.

  9. MossRocks says:

    This is a fabulously poor assessment of Ryan Smyth’s contribution to the Oilers. First of all, you are completely glorifying Ryan’s early years with the Oilers. He scored 39 goals one year (20 on the PP) but was a huge minus player – with a combined -41 in his first three years. Now he is a completely different player. He plays defense, he kills penalties and he still does great things down low and is one of the best players in front of the net in the NHL. In the last three years he is a combined +15 and he consistently gets more assists than goals, which shows his dramatic improvement as a playmaker. Smyth’s best year statistically was 2000-2001 and he was on pace for a much better year than that before the ankle injury last year. He is a much better scorer, playmaker, penalty killer and all-round player than he was in his first three years. Go look at the numbers.

    Carter doesn’t hit anybody, doesn’t inspire teammates and doesn’t work that hard. Clearly he is far more streaky than Smyth has ever been. Carter also gets as much ice time as Ryan and plays with the Oilers best players. Having said this, I agree that Carter gets some negative treatment in the media in Edmonton and he is certainly a top player. Carter has a smooth, easy style that makes it look like he isn’t working too hard sometimes but he has tremendous positioning and rarely coughs up the puck.

    The bottom line is exactly that. Carter had a lot of contract troubles before coming to Edmonton and it is unlikely that he would sacrifice any of his market value to stay in Edmonton. Smyth is far more likely to do something like that and his scrappy style is better suited to leading by example. Smyth has always said all the right things in the past, so I find your paraphrasing of the interview rather suspect.

    However, an old locker room rumour from Bob McCammon had Smyth seeing big dollar signs after his 39 goal season. He promptly went out and tore up his knee, if you remember. Apparently he was sounding pretty selfish before the injury. I don’t know if his tune has changed since then, but I expect he would like to get paid this time around.

    Your faith in Lowe is unfounded. Lowe has not been able to keep players like Smyth and Carter in their position in the past. Lowe was forced to move Weight and Guerin in the same situations (both were RFA’s) – this will be the same scenario. By this time next year – one of the three will be gone and we can both agree it won’t be Comrie.

  10. MossRocks says:

    Not a chance. Dykhuis stinks and the Oilers already had Czerkawski and traded him away remember? Why would they trade Carter for someone just as expensive who doesn’t play defense or score as much as Carter? Carter makes $2.4 million now and will likely ask for $4-5million later on. Czerkawski is two years older, does far less and already makes $2.6 million.

    Change that to Hossa and Komisarek and maybe you would have a deal.

  11. BudMan says:

    Don’t know bout this either.

    If TO. could trade Tucker, since Oilers have been interested in him along with Corson for either Carter or Smyth(which will probably not happen, just like the deal would probably not happen.

    I would like suggestions on what the Buds would have to give up for one of the players.

  12. Rico71 says:

    Hey…at least Karl fights against his own team mates..the idiot. He even goes on to say that he plays a solid physical game. *lmao* Man in what universe does he live in? He sucks.

    I agree with you Moss, but hey its all wishful thinking. Surely you don’t believe Carter to be worth both Komisarek and Hossa? Komisarek is a future Derian Hatcher type D and Hossa could be a 1st-2nd line winger.

    Carter is good but very streaky and injury prone. I’d take him anytime, but not for those 2 youngsters.

    I don’t think that getting Isbister would help the Oilers all that much. He’s VERY streaky and plays like a smurf half the time. Maybe if they traded Carter and Marchant for Dipietro, Isbister and possibly Torres or Scatchard…that would be great. Salo should be leaving soon(($$$ and Oilers don’t mix, just like water and oil) and they would get a good, cheap young goalie to go with the #2 guy (forgot his name). And since Mad Mike loves to trade away good young goalies, lets give it a shot? *lol*

  13. MossRocks says:

    Souray and Hossa? Carter is worth quite a bit, but not two top propsects. You are right there.

    I don’t think Dipietro would come here. It sounds good on the surface, but when you sit an think about it, it doesn’t make too much sense. To me, Dipietro is an eastern American through and through and he would not like living in Edmonton. He also appears to be really arrogant and that wouldn’t fit in well with the Oilers’ group of players. Also the Oilers have Jeff Deslauriers, who was the #1 rated N.A. goalie in last year’s draft and (much more importantly) impressed in training camp. I am not saying he’s going to be great, but I think the Oilers feel they have a goaltending prospect already. Salo has another year left and Deslauriers will get a shot at the backup job for next year and might be ready for the following year. The Oilers are also really high on Markkanen and some Salo trade rumours were out there this summer. If the time comes for Salo to leave after this year or next, they will let him go. (But they’ll try to deal him first – no more Cujo’s!!!)

    Torres is the player the Oilers really want from NYI. They like Scatchard also, but I haven’t heard any word out of Edmonton on what the Oilers think of Isbister. It’s a little weird. Since he’s a local kid, I assume no word means they don’t like him much.

  14. MossRocks says:

    I guess what really counts, is who will ask for the most money? My bet is on Carter, so let’s talk about him.

    Lowe used to like Tucker a lot before the Peca mess. There has been no word out of Edmonton on Tucker since then. This doesn’t mean anything, but it is noteworthy. (Lowe didn’t mind playing on the edge) You will notice a pattern in Oiler trades and it is actually a good strategy. When moving a big name, the Oilers usually look for a decent young player that is either NHL ready or has played a few NHL seasons and then a top prospect. (Weight, Guerin, Hamrlik – all traded in the same type of deal)

    So to look at the Leafs’ roster and prospects. Tucker, Antropov, McCauley and Kaberle would interest the Oilers off of the roster. Likewise, Boyes, Colaiacovo, and Steen would draw interest from the prospects. I can’t see the Leafs moving Kaberle or Boyes but I think they would consider all the others if Carter was coming in return. I think Tucker and Colaiacovo for Carter might work. McCauley, Antropov and Steen would be a good package also.

  15. BudMan says:

    You are probably right about TO. would have to get him. Though it would be nice if they could get rid of the slow Corson. Though no other team is stupid enopugh to pick him up.

    Though with your proposal, i don’t know if Quinn would be ready to depart with a young prospect. Like the leafs have done so all the time, making their team, but not by developing good young talent. Edomonton would probably not go for Tucker, along with McCauly and a pick or something like that.

  16. big_booty says:

    The Flyers would love to get their hands on Carter, and I would do cartwheels down Broad Street if they did. They are in desperate need of some scoring punch, and need a big power winger now that LeClair is on the shelf again.

    Perhaps Justin Williams could be the right offering. He’s younger and cheaper than Carter, and has a load of potential. He just needs to add more muscle and work on his skating.

  17. big_booty says:

    No way in hell are the Oilers getting Joni Pitkanen for Anson Carter. I don’t know what you’re smoking, but it must be some real good Maui wowie or something. This guy is the future of the Philly blueline, and there’s no way they’re giving up on him before he even gets a chance to show them what he can really do.

    Williams, on the other hand, could be offered up in a deal for Carter. As a Flyers fan, I would do that deal in a heartbeat. Williams keeps taking baby steps in his development, he’s not muscling up enough, and his skating is just plain horrible. His ass spends more time on the ice than the blades of his skates do. The guy trips over the blue line at least twice a game. Still, he has a great offensive upside – he just needs a lot of work.

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