The Predators' priorities, heading into the February 27 trade deadline should be:
- Convince Suter (and Weber) to stay
- Make the team better for the stretch run
- Increase payroll
And in that order.
These goals are interrelated, of course--some potentially available players could help the Predators in the playoffs, and, in turn, make Nashville more attractive to the team's impending free agents. Very few of said players, however, signal a significant long-term financial commitment and instantly make Nashville a serious Stanley Cup contender.
Jeff Carter does! And he fits a series of needs.
Tweet with the hashtag #barterforcarter to let David Poile know Jan Hlavac and Dustin Boyd aren't going to cut it!
What Jeff Carter brings to the Predators
The sweet, sweet nectar of goals. Carter shoots a lot and he shoots to score. In the three years before this one, Carter scored 46, 36, and 33 goals. That's right--his off year matched the Predators' franchise record, held by Jason Arnott. I've put together the following table to help illustrate how Carter fits the Preds' needs:
|Predators Needs||Jeff Carter|
|1st Line Center||✓|
|Ace PK guy||✓|
|Size up front||✓|
Carter signed a 11-year $58 million contract with Philadelphia before getting traded last summer. You can view the gruesome details here. The Predators have never given out a contract of more than seven years, as any additional years are uninsurable for major injuries. And while Carter makes a ton in the coming years, a $5.273M cap hit is a really good deal for someone of his talent. It's a contract built to benefit a cap-spending team and rumor has the Preds are looking to become such a team.
The Clubhouse Concerns
It has to be addressed that Jeff Carter is supposedly a bit of a clubhouse cancer. In my opinion, this kind of thing can only help the Predators, as it will drive his value down. Players on bad teams are unhappy and vice versa. You may say the Predators' clubhouse chemistry is the reason for their success, but in my opinion, winning teams are happy; happy teams don't just magically win. Barry Trotz has a good reputation of taking supposed jerks (Shane O'Brien and Sergei Kostitsyn, anyone?) and making them into good citizens. In this instance, the franchise should use Trotz to its advantage.
What it might cost
The Blue Jackets paid Jakub Voracek, a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick to get Carter last summer. Fortunately, Carter won't cost nearly as much to the Preds. Through various injuries and generally bad behavior, Carter has significantly depreciated his value and played his way out of Columbus.
The Kings supposedly offered Stoll/Bernier for Carter/Sanford. How about Spaling/Lindback/2nd for Carter/Sanford? Or Lindback/1st for Carter/Sandford? The infamous Lindback/Blum package? Anyway, you get the idea.