Penguins Acquire Jeff Carter From The Los Angeles Kings At The NHL Trade Deadline


LA Kings veteran Jeff Carter is traded to Pittsburgh at the 2021 NHL trade deadline.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–In the early hours of April 12th, the trade deadline day for the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced they had acquired forward Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional 3rd round pick in 2022 and a conditional 4th round pick in 2023. 

The 3rd rounder in 2022 can turn into a 2nd round pick if the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final and Carter played in at least 50% of the games played. The 4th round pick in 2023 can become a 3rd if Carter appears in at least 50 games during next season.

As part of the deal to help the Pens stay under the salary cap, Los Angeles will be retaining 50% ($2.63 million) of Carter’s contract and cap hit that runs through the 2021-22 season. It is rumored, however, that Carter could consider retiring after the end of the season, meaning Pittsburgh would be off the hook for that money and cap hit if Carter decides to hang up the skates. 

The 36 year old Carter is a 2 time Stanley Cup Champion (2012 and 2014) and a 2014 Olympic gold medal winner with Team Canada, and was serving as an alternate captain with the Kings before he was traded. In 40 games with Los Angeles this year, Carter has 8 goals and 11 assists for 19 points. Not outstanding numbers, but that’s not the only reason Pittsburgh acquired him. 

Carter is a proven playoff performer and clutch guy. In LA’s 2012 Cup run, Carter tallied 8 goals and 5 assists for 13 points in 20 contests. Then during LA’s 2014 Cup run, Carter beat all three of those numbers, tallying 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 26 games. Add those numbers with the fact that Carter has 83 career game-winning goals, which is tied for 30th all-time in NHL history. 

The addition of Jeff Carter could mirror what Pittsburgh did in 2009 to win the Stanley Cup, bringing in veteran Bill Guerin, and in more recent years players like Chris Kunitz and Matt “Dad” Cullen who brought experienced voices in that helped the Penguins win back to back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. 

However, the move could also mirror what the Pens did last year by bringing in Patrick Marleau, who had little impact in 8 regular season games with Pittsburgh, and then proceeding to have no impact in the Pittsburgh vs Montreal Stanley Cup Qualifiers series when the NHL returned from their Covid-19 pause, which saw Pittsburgh lose the qualifying series 3-1 to the worst ranked team in the tournament. 

Carter is advertised as someone who can play with wing and center, and will be joining a still battered Penguins forward core that has Brandon Tanev, Evgeni Malkin, and Brandon Tanev on IR. 

This is Ron Hextall’s first trade as GM of Pittsburgh, and he started out with someone he knows very very well. Hextall was Director of Player Personnel for Philadelphia when Carter was starting out his 16 year NHL career with the Flyers. Hextall and Carter later reunited in Los Angeles, where Hextall was assistant GM for the Kings for 7 years, including their 2012 Stanley Cup championship. 

The Penguins, currently 27-13-2 (56 points), are currently in 3rd place in the East Division but are only 2 points back of both the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders, who are both 27-11-4 (58 points) and are enjoying an 8 point cushion on the 4th place Boston Bruins.