The Boston Bruins have been linked to a very big name by one of the National Hockey League's very best insiders.
According to comments made by Sportsnet's NHL insider Elliotte Friedman earlier this week it now sounds like the Bruins and general manager Don Sweeney may be eyeing a veteran center from one of the NHL's struggling teams. Speaking as a guest on Calgary's Sportsnet 960 radio this week Friedman was asked about the trade speculation surround Los Angeles Kings star center Jeff Carter. Friedman not only acknowledged that he had heard the rumor floating around the league but immediately linked it to the Bruins.
“Yes, and it is out there,” said Friedman as per Nichols on Hockey. “Boston has been looking for a center.”
That would of course be a tremendous addition to the Bruins line up should the trade every materialize. Carter has been a stud center in the NHL for several years now and although at 33 years of age he is certainly in the latter stages of his professional career he still brings a great deal to the table. It's true that through 33 games this season he has just 6 goals and 9 assists for a total of 15 points, but the Kings offense has been entirely stagnant this season so take those numbers with a grain of salt. That being said it does not sounds like trading for Carter is as easy as you might think, given the Kings' terrible struggles this season, as the player would appear to have a great deal of say in what happens next.
“Now, the interesting thing about Jeff Carter is, and I’m going to have to - we’re all going to have to start following this up a bit - is that there have been rumblings that if he doesn’t like where he’s traded to, he could just potentially retire,” said Friedman. “As I sit here this morning, I don’t know if that’s serious or if that’s a tactic. I don’t know the answer to that question.”
“But if you look at his contract, the numbers also really drop too. It’s one of those backdiving deals that doesn’t exist anymore under NHL rules.”
What Friedman means here is that due to the nature of how Carter's contract was designed at the time that it was signed, an early retirement could lead to punishing cap recaptures for the Los Angeles Kings. Carter has to be acutely aware of this fact and could use the threat of retiring should the Kings attempt to trade him to a team he does not want to play for. Needless to say this would also prove to be catastrophic for the team giving up assets in order to bring Carter in through a trade, so this would be a very risky deal to say the least.
Now the good news for the Bruins is that should Carter in fact choose to go the retirement route they themselves would not face the cap penalties that the Kings would, they would however lose whatever assets they gave up to get Carter.
“I still think Jeff Carter can help teams. I think he’s still a very talented player. But there’s going to be a little bit of, ‘Okay, we better make sure that if we’re acquiring him, he’s content with our situation.’”