This may be the deal that opens the floodgates of NHL trades leading up to the Feb. 27 deadline as forward Jeff Carter was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday for Jack Johnson and a first round draft pick.
The trade is contingent on Carter passing a physical, which he is expected to do. The draft choice will be a 2013 pick if the Kings don't make the playoffs this season, if they do Columbus will decide whether to take the pick in 2012 or 2013.
The Kings gave up a lot in the smooth-skating, 25-year-old Johnson but are desperate for scoring and feel Carter, 27, will provide it. "Jeff is a proven goal scorer in our league," GM Dean Lombardi said in announcing the deal. "He brings goal-scoring abilities, speed and at his age he is entering the prime of his career.
"We also like his versatility as he can play both center and wing."
Jack Johnson: third NHL team
Carter, who rejoins his former Flyer captain, Mike Richards in L.A., has 15 goals and 10 assists in 39 games with Columbus, who acquired him in the summer from the Flyers. He started slow, was hurt, and has improved lately; Carter is in the first year of an 11-year $58 million deal that has a no trade clause kick-in next season.
Johnson was a first-round draft choice of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005, third over-all, but he did not play with the Hurricanes before being dealt to L.A.. He has 8 goals and 16 assists for 24 points in 61 games this year and is in the first year of a 7-year contract worth $30.5 million.
There has been speculation that Rick Nash would be traded by Columbus and this deal may signal that such a potential trade is off - or that it is next.