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Penguins Trade: Jeff Carter to Penguins for Picks; Full Analysis



Pittsburgh Penguins trade Jeff Carter

The second Pittsburgh Penguins trade report on Sunday was the winner. After an earlier report from Sportsnet, which was walked back, semi-retired Bob McKenzie broke the news the Penguins GM Ron Hextall convinced the LA Kings to part with long-time winger Jeff Carter in exchange for a couple of conditional draft picks.

According to McKenzie, the Kings also agreed to a 50% salary holdback. The Penguins traded a conditional 2022 third-round choice and a 2023 fourth-round pick to LA.

Carter, 36, is a right-shot currently playing RW in LA, but he can also play in the middle. Or at least has in the past. He is in the 10th year of an 11-year contract with a $5.272 million cap hit.

The 6-foot-3, 219-pound forward won a Stanley Cup with the LA Kings in 2012 when Hextall was the AGM of those Kings. Carter and LA also won the Stanley Cup in 2014.

Hextall was rehired this season as a part-time senior advisor for the Kings, so he is quite familiar with the player.

This season, Carter has 19 points (8g, 11a) in 40 games.

The two-time NHL All-Star (2009, 2017) has 751 career points (390g, 361a), including 113 power-play goals, 18 shorthanded goals, and 83 game-winning goals in 1,080 career NHL games with LA (2012-21), Columbus (2011-12) and Philadelphia (2005-11).

Penguins Trade, Full Analysis: 

With Carter coming to town, should we wonder about the health of Penguins right wings Kasperi Kapanen and Brandon Tanev?

It’s far from a sure thing that Carter is a center at this stage in his career. Don’t assume.

While many assume Carter will come to Pittsburgh to be a center, the Penguins trade is for the 36-year-old Carter, not the 30-year-old version. He’s playing RW in LA for a reason.

Are the Penguins hedging their bets on Kapanen’s or Brandon Tanev’s availability for the playoffs? Kapanen has not yet resumed skating after taking a hard slapshot off his skate on March 24 against Buffalo. He has not resumed skating.

Brandon Tanev returned on April 1 after a multi-week absence due to an upper-body injury. He left the lineup on April 3, again, due to a UBI. On Sunday, the Penguins placed him on LTIR, retroactive to April 3. However, the CBA rules for minimum LTIR stays are 10 games and 24 days. So, the earliest Tanev can return is April 27, which is about two weeks before the end of the season.

Again, that would be the earliest date of return.

So, is Carter RW insurance or a third-line center? The bet here is a winger. The LA Kings head coach Todd McClellan moved him to the wing for a reason, and that reason was not that LA had too many good centers.

Last season, Carter had 27 points (17g, 10a), largely as a center, and that isn’t exactly a banner year. This year the Kings completed the full-time transformation to the wing.

The Penguins snagged an expensive veteran, but LA is holding back salary. The veteran knows how to win, offers lineup versatility and insurance against prolonged RW injuries. The Penguins gave up only two conditional draft picks.

And how about this potential benefit–if Carter retires after this season, the Penguins get a 762k cap “benefit.”

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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