Thursday, August 31, 2006

Free Agent Leftovers

As the start of the season draws ever closer (we're just over a month away) there remains a group of players whom time and the hockey world have either ignored or forgotten. I'm talking about the remaining group of FAs, a motley crew of has-beens, cast offs and nobodies. At the top of the group, I would love to discuss Anson Carter.

I have to say, that at one time I was an Anson Carter fan. He was an Oiler, playing on a top line with Ryan Smyth and Mike Comrie, the highest point getting all Canadian lineup of that season if I remember correctly (wierd stat eh?). Near the end of the season he was traded to New York for Dvorak and Cross, neither of whom really had the talent or ability of Carter. As an Oiler fan, it was dissapointing. As the season ended, Carter was reunited once again with Comrie and Smyth playing at the World Championships. That year Canada triumphed with a gold medal, defeating favorite Sweden in OT, on a goal scored by Anson Carter. You had to be proud of the guy.

Since then, Carter has continued to be a decent goal scorer, a guy who can play on the top line, 2nd line at worst, with a good shot and decent instincts. However, a picture of him has developed, one that doesnt look pretty to NHL GMs.

Journeyman is a term thrown around to describe a player who moves teams very often, usually due to a true lack of talent, but still retaining enough good qualities that a coach is willing to use them in limited situations in key moments. They're usually bouncing between the minors and pros and before theybeome journeymen, they are reffered to as Black Aces.

Anson Carter is a journeymen. A different type of journeymen though, a journeymen with talent. Since being drafted by the Nordiques (yes you read right) in June of 1992, Carter has been traded or moved teams 7 times. Should he be signed, and eventually I'm sure he will be, it will be the eigth team, (although he was with Washington twice.)

Now if journeymen are traded because of lack of talent and fit, why is Carter being traded or let go so often? Obviously I can only speculate, but its not because of talent. In the case of Vancouver not resigning him, its simply money - the Canucks wouldn't mind Anson back, but they're just not willing to pay all that much - even if he is (was) a 30 goal scorer. But what about the 6 other times? How can such a talented guy be such a bad fit on so many teams?

Its an question only Carter's coaches, Gm's and teammates could answer. But its one Carter himself seems unwilling to even ask.


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