Trade deadline day in the National Hockey League started early for London’s Jeff Carter.
Since Carter’s clocks in Los Angeles are set to Pacific time, it was technically still trade deadline day eve when a deal became official to send Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a conditional third-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-round pick in 2024.
The move basically guarantees the 36-year-old a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup this year. Pittsburgh currently sits in third place in the NHL’s East Division and the teams trying to catch the Penguins are at least 12 points behind, no more than dots in the rear-view mirror.
The Kings, where Carter has been since late February of 2012, are the dots in their division’s rear-view, although objects in that mirror are closer than they appear. L.A. is a more reasonable six points behind St. Louis but with a pack of Coyotes and a shiver of Sharks in the way, the Kings are not averse to trading assets.
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And that is exactly what Carter is. In his time in Los Angeles, he helped the Kings win two Stanley Cups. Carter scored the winning goal in the clinching game in 2012 when L.A. defeated New Jersey. Two years later Carter had 10 goals and 25 points in 26 games as the Kings marched to the franchise’s second championship.
That was the season that Carter and Kings teammate and fellow Londoner Drew Doughty joined the “Big Double Club” as two of only eight players ever to win a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal in the same year.
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If you were to build a hockey player from scratch you would probably end up with something that looked very much like Carter.
He owns size, speed, smarts and all kinds of character. Carter is also known for scoring clutch goals. He has led the NHL in game-winning goals twice and he sits in a third-place tie with Dave Taylor for all-time L.A. Kings playoff goals behind only Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille.
It is that kind of ability that the Penguins hope they have acquired. They already have quite a bit of clutch content on a roster that starts with Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh is currently tied with Colorado and Washington for most goals in the NHL this season.
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This year Carter has eight goals and 19 points in 40 games for the Kings.
Carter will bring the experience he has amassed during his 16-year career to a team already brimming with Stanley Cup know-how in what has made one of the strongest teams in the league even stronger.
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