There is always a level of risk whenever a trade is made. However, the risk is higher when a beloved star player is involved. A general manager just has to cross their fingers and pray to the hockey gods that the deal works in their favor or they will be driven out of the city by fans.
On June 23, 2011, the Philadelphia Flyers participated in such a trade that sent Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets. In exchange, the orange and black received what would turn into two critical pieces of their current roster.
Philadelphia selected Carter 11th-overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He made his Flyers debut at the beginning of 2005-06 season, after making the right out of training camp, along with fellow rookies Mike Richards and R.J. Umberger. Carter finished his first year in the NHL leading all other Flyers rookies in scoring with 23 goals and 19 assists.
He would go on to recording 37 points in 62 points the following year and 53 points in 82 games the season after that, earning a three-year $15 million contract extension. Carter would reward the Flyers with the best year of his now 13-year career. He posted 46 goals and 38 assists and was named to his first All-Star Game. Unfortunately for Carter and the Flyers, his fantastic regular season did not translate into a successful postseason, scoring only one goal in six games. The next two seasons would also be strong for Carter in Philadelphia, scoring over 30 goals 2009-10 and 2010-11.
On November 13, 2010, the Flyers made it clear they wanted Carter to be a cornerstone of their franchise for years to come, signing him to an 11-year, $58 million contract. This would keep him on the books until the summer of 2022. Then, less than a year later, the Flyers shockingly traded away Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the young and promising Jakub Voracek, a 2011 first-round pick (Sean Couturier), and a 2011 third-round pick (Nick Cousins).
Carter did not last long with the Blue Jackets, however, and was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on February 23, 2012. In return, Columbus received Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick. He would go onto win two Stanley Cups with the Kings, accomplishing something the Flyers haven’t done since 1975.
Although Philadelphia has not obtained the hardware that Carter has, it is hard to complain about what the Flyers received in return for the London, Ontario Native. Voracek has been viewed as a star for this team since 2014-15 season and Couturier is finally having a breakout year offensively. Both gentlemen are considered as core members of the orange and black and should play a significant role in any success this team experiences over the next handful of years. Cousins, on the other hand, was never more than a bottom-six forward for the Flyers and currently plays for the Arizona Coyotes. He may not have turned out to be anything fantastic, but hey, the Flyers got Voracek and Couturier!
Trading a star player is a complete gamble for any franchise to participate in. It is a scary move for every person associated with the team. The Flyers took a risk trading away one of their star players back in the summer of 2011. Luckily for them, it paid off.