When the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Jeff Carter, it didn’t seem like that big of news. The guy was 36 years old at the time, how much of an impact could he have made with the team? Turns out, that impact was pretty big. Since then, he’s been a pretty big part of the team and provided leadership when the organization desperately needed it. Now, it looks like he’s going to be sticking around for a little bit longer.
Carter’s Career So Far
Carter was drafted 11th overall in the 2003 NHL entry draft by, of all teams, the Philadelphia Flyers. He first made an appearance with the Flyers during the 2005-2006 season where he appeared in 81 games and scored 23 goals and 42 points. Since then, he’s bounced around the league, with a short stint with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then, he landed in Los Angeles with the Kings.
With the Kings, he broke out into a consistent point-scoring machine. In 580 games with the organization, he scored a total of 194 goals and 383 points. Fans also can’t forget about the Stanley Cup victories in 2012 and 2014. Newly appointed general manager of the Penguins, Ron Hextall, saw this experience and decided to make a move.
On April 12, 2012, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Carter for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL entry draft and a conditional pick for the 2023 NHL entry draft. Not only that, but the Kings retained half of Carter’s salary. How has he done though? With 37 points in 50 games, it goes without saying that Carter was certainly worth the low price.
It was announced Wednesday that the Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed Jeff Carter. The official contract is a two-year, $6.25 million extension. That carries an annual value of $3.125 million that goes against the cap hit. That’s all good and well, but looking to the very, very near future, is this really a good deal? Turns out, it could hurt the team.
Considering the amount of talent that the Penguins have to re-sign this offseason, Carter’s extension could’ve waited. The names on that list include Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Kasperi Kapanen and Bryan Rust, just to name a few. Malkin and Letang will likely ask for similar contracts to what they have now, and Kapanen and Rust are in for a pretty hefty pay increase.
Now, nobody is saying that Carter isn’t worth that price tag, because he absolutely is. However, Hextall’s attention should be turned towards the younger guys in Kapanen and Rust, and to two of the infamous “Big Three” for the Penguins. Ideally, Malkin and Letang agree to a lesser contract value to save the team some cap space. However, if they don’t, then Hextall will have to work some magic to shed some cap. It’s tough to say what the future will look like, but right now, it’s looking a little dicey.
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