The Sabres missed out on another number one center when Jeff Carter was shipped to Los Angeles last night. However, Buffalo not jumping into the Carter sweepstakes isn’t as upsetting as missing out on a player like Brad Richards.
Los Angeles sent defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick to Columbus in exchange for the disgruntled center. Plenty of people in Sabres nation are likely wondering why Darcy Regier failed to acquire Carter. I say, who cares?
The most obvious issue regarding Carter’s trade is the fact that he is moving on to his third team in less than a year. There were the reports of locker room issues in Philly, there was the Dry Island debacle and now it seems his cancer spread to the locker room in Columbus as well. Additional reports of being less than pleased with his move to Ohio’s capital were floating around as well. How many of these reports are true? There is no way to be sure. But if even half of that information is true, placing him in “the worst city in the NHL” probably wouldn’t do much to pick up his spirits.
What is the true reason the Sabres weren’t involved in this sweepstakes is the simple fact that they didn’t have the pieces to send to the Kings. Buffalo’s first round pick this year is going to be in the top-10. A top-10, potential lottery pick is not the type of asset you move in a trade like this. Like it or not, Jeff Carter is not Rick Nash. In addition, there is no player on the Buffalo roster with the equivalent value to Jack Johnson. Jordan Leopold and Andrej Sekera play a similar role, but only Sekera would be close in regards to Johnson’s overall value. Tyler Myers is far superior to Johnson in a two-way role. The only way you’re seeing Myers moved is for an elite talent (see: Getzlaf, Ryan).
Taking that into consideration alone is all the evidence you need to why the Sabres didn’t end up with Carter. Darcy Regier may be vilified for overvaluing talent, but he is smart enough to know trading Myers for Carter would be a major loss for his team. The same goes in the other direction. Sekera wouldn’t be adequate return and including that first pick is unlikely.
The only way that Carter would have been acquired would have been to send a package of multiple roster players that would have taken more from the Sabres than they would have received. Losing on a trade, even if it’s for a center, won’t get the Sabres where they need to go. In that regard, Sabres fans should take solace. By not overpaying for Carter, they’re conceivably open to make more moves by Monday’s deadline.