All quiet on the Carter front

The shock of being traded impacts all players differently. We all remember Ryan Smyth’s tearful goodbye to the city of Edmonton not long after learning he’d been traded to the Islanders, there’s the old tales of Dave Poulin contemplating retirement rather than accepting a trade to the Bruins in 1989-90, and now we have Jeff Carter’s silent stance since being shipped to Columbus on Thursday.

It’s safe to say that Carter was blindsided by Paul Holmgren after being exchanged for Jakub Voracek, a first-round pick (Sean Courturier), and a third-round pick (Nick Cousins). The 26-year old forward had been the Flyers leading goal scorer three years in a row, and was set to begin the first year of an 11-year contract signed last season. Even with the rumblings that he could be traded surfacing over the last few weeks, it seemed unlikely. Most figured the pressures of the salary cap would force the Flyers to move a combination of contracts in the form of Scott Hartnell, Kris Versteeg, maybe Matt Carle and others… alas it was team captain Mike Richards and Carter that were sent packing. Shocking would be an understatement.

Richards wasted little time commenting on being traded to L.A., saying all the right things along the familiar lines of “I’m excited to go out to L.A. and be a part of a team that has a ton of great players. I’m just looking forward to helping them out”. Since learning of his fate on Thursday, Carter has not made any public statement or even spoken to Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson, for that matter.

Carter’s shock and anger is understandable, but at some point in the first 24 hours following the trade you’d expect him to say something… anything. Still, here we are nearly five full days later and there’s been nothing from camp Carter. Aaron Portzline of the Blue Jackets blog Puck-Rakers on Carter’s silent treatment:

Four days later, Jeff Carter has yet to make any public statement. As of Saturday, he had not spoken directly to any member of the Blue Jackets, including GM Scott Howson. The only known contact is a brief exchange of text messages with captain Rick Nash.

We’re told repeatedly that Carter’s anger is directed at the Flyers, that it has nothing to do with the fine city of Columbus and the likeable people therein. But the longer this goes, Blue Jackets fans can’t help but take this personally. To be born in Columbus is to carry a heavy inferiority complex. This certainly doesn’t help.

It’s hard for me to fathom that his agent, Rick Curran, hasn’t produced some sort of press release including Carter quotes. You know, something along the lines of “I’m very excited for a new opportunity, and I can’t wait to get settled in Columbus.” Trust me, agents have been cranking out “quotes” like this for many years now.

I’ve spoken to five agents about this situation. They can’t believe it. One said: “He’s got to turn off his emotions for 10 minutes and make a phone call.”

Seeing as the Blue Jackets are going to be signing Carter’s cheques for the next 11 years, it’d be a nice gesture towards the franchise and its fans to give them some indication that you’re prepared to play a major role there. A text message conversation with Rick Nash won’t cut it. Who knows what the tone of Carter’s message to Nash read like? We’re left to guess, and we hope for the sake of Jackets’ fans that it didn’t go anything like this:

It’s time to speak, Jeff Carter.