In a weird twist of fate, former Flyers star center Jeff Carter was traded Sunday night from the Kings to the Penguins, reuniting Carter with ex-Flyers general manager and current Penguins head man Ron Hextall.
The Penguins sent a conditional 2022 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 fourth-round pick to Los Angeles, while the Kings agreed to pay half of Carter's salary.
For Flyers fans, it's a weird, topsy-turvy trade deadline move that has all kinds of Philly-related tentacles.
Carter, now 36, was drafted 11th overall by the Flyers in 2003 and spent his first six seasons in the NHL with the club before being traded to the Blue Jackets in 2011 and eventually landing in Los Angeles the same season. Carter played 580 games over 10 years with the Kings.
That 2011 deal netted the Flyers two crucial pieces for their next decade: Jakub Voracek and the draft pick that would become Sean Couturier. While it was tough for Flyers fans to watch Carter become a Stanley Cup champion — alongside Hextall, who was a Kings assistant GM at the time, and of course former Flyers captain Mike Richards — the Flyers at least added some serious value in two crucial players for the future.
Now, though? This Carter deal probably hurts Flyers fans, and it has the potential to hurt a lot more in the coming weeks and months.
For starters, the idea of Carter playing for the Penguins would've repulsed any Flyers fan from 2005 to 2011, and even since then. He was a cornerstone piece of the Flyers' strong late-00s/early-10s years, and the Penguins are ... well, the Penguins. It's just not right.
And, while Carter's Cup win stung a little considering how close the Flyers got in 2009-10, it wasn't some insane gut punch. That Flyers team gave it their all, and the Western Conference's Kings aren't exactly the Flyers' fiercest rival.
But watching Carter lift another Cup with the Penguins, with Hextall at the helm of constructing another Cup champion in Pittsburgh? That would not go over well in Philadelphia. The Penguins are currently two points out of first in the East Division, while the Flyers are skidding and could miss the postseason entirely.
Philadelphia had better hope the Sixers and Phillies are good this summer, because that could get ugly.
Carter had 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 40 games with the Kings this year, and he finishes his Kings career (for now) with 383 points (194 goals, 189 assists) in 580 games with Los Angeles. He scored 343 points (181 goals, 162 assists) in 461 games with the Flyers.
The Flyers face Carter's new team in Pittsburgh on Thursday, April 15, and then twice in a row here in Philly in early May. Should be very interesting.
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