April 9, 2019 | 10:35am ET
CARTER SAYS HE’S NOT RETIRING, AS FUTURE UNCERTAIN
Jeff Carter, centre
There was plenty of speculation this season over the future of Jeff Carter, much of which revolved around the belief that he would retire if moved to an unfavourable destination.
The Kings, as TFP had reported and confirmed multiple times this season, engaged in trade discussions with several teams about Carter, with the Nashville Predators and Boston Bruins among the teams interested.
As trade talks picked up and word spread, so did rumours over Carter’s desire to stay in Los Angeles – if dealt, he’d threaten to hang up his skates, leaving the Kings and the acquiring team in a cap pickle.
Carter finally cleared the air on Monday, telling John Hoven of MayorsManor.com that was never the case.
“I’m 20 games from 1,000, so I don’t think I’m retiring,” Carter was quick to say.
“I got three years left on my contract. I want to be an L.A. King. I want to help change things around here, but I don’t have no-trade protection so whatever happens, happens. And I never talked about retiring, either. Never came out of my mouth.”
According to sources close to the situation, the Kings will attempt to trade Carter again this off-season and it’s possible a move occurs around the NHL Draft in Vancouver in late-June.
Carter, 34, is under contract for three more seasons and comes with a $5.272 million salary cap hit, though his actual salary next season is $3 million, followed by back-to-back years of earning $2 million.
He experienced one of the least productive seasons of his career this season, registering 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points and a minus-20 rating in 76 games with the Kings. His only other season where he produced similar numbers over a full season came in his second-year in the NHL.
It’s unknown if the Bruins or Predators will revisit talks with the Kings about Carter this summer, though it’s likely Kings GM Rob Blake reaches back out once both of their seasons end and explore other options.
Carter may not be the only player on the Kings the team considers or tries to trade, as the futures of goaltender Jonathan Quick, defenceman Dion Phaneuf, and forwards Ilya Kovalchuk and Tyler Toffoli are up in the air.
The Kings had received trade inquiries on Quick and Toffoli leading up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline, while it’s believed they’ll explore the market for Phaneuf this summer – Phaneuf owns a 12-team trade list as part of his no-movement clause, and the Ottawa Senators are paying 25 percent of his remaining contract.
Kovalchuk, who turns 36 on April 15, owns a full no-movement clause and was willing to explore his trade options this season. With the 2018-19 campaign now behind him and a new head coach coming in, it’s not yet known what his intentions or preferences are.