The Arizona Coyotes improved their offence this summer with the acquisitions of Phil Kessel and Carl Soderberg.
But things could have been significantly different had one rumoured trade taken place.
According to Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period, during the time that the team were negotiating a trade for Kessel, they also looked into the possibility of acquiring Jeff Carter from the LA Kings.
The hypothesized trade would have seen veteran blueliner Alex Goligoski heading to the City of Angels in exchange for the 34-year-old forward.
The deal would’ve seen the Coyotes take on Carter’s $5,272,727 cap hit for three seasons, while actually saving real dollars in that time.
Carter will earn a total of $7 million over the next three seasons, while Goligoski, who has a slightly lower cap hit of $5.475 million for two more seasons, will earn $9.8 million over the next two years.
While saving the Coyotes plenty of real money in the long-term, this trade would have been significantly worse for the team than the deal that secured the services of Kessel.
Carter has had a solid career with the Kings, Philadelphia Flyers and, briefly, Columbus Blue Jackets but he is now a shadow of his former self. Following an injury plagued 2017-18 season in which Carter was limited to 27 games, scoring 13 goals in the process, he managed 76 regular season games in 2018-19, scoring... 13 goals again (and 33 points). This is in stark contrast to Kessel, who scored 27 goals and was a point-per-game player in a full 82-game season. Further, Kessel is also three years younger than Carter and doesn’t look to be slowing down on his offensive production any time soon.
The acquisition of Kessel has had a significantly positive impact on the organisation in such a short time, boosting ticket sales while also giving head coach Rick Tocchet a legitimate top-line forward that he has had a lot of success working with in recent seasons.
Bringing in Kessel is likely to have the biggest impact of any player on the team this year, something that the aging Carter just wouldn’t have.
While the cost of acquiring Kessel was higher than the supposed deal for Carter, the overall impact and value he brings to the team isn’t comparable.
With the Coyotes now looking set on offense, at least to start the new season, fans can breathe a sigh of relief that Carter will not be donning the Kachina in 2019/20 and #81 will be instead.