NAME: Jeff Carter
Regular Season Statistics: 74 Games Played – 33 Goals, 28 Assists, 61 Points. +2
Analysis: Coming off a season in which he scored over 40 goals, expectations were high offensively for Jeff Carter coming into the ’09-’10 season. While his totals weren’t at the same level that he finished a year prior, Carter’s statistics this past season were definitely commendable. As was the them of the entire Flyers team this season, Carter certainly had his moments where he underachieved this season, going stretches of five games or more without scoring a goal on four occasions this season. However, the stretch run for Carter was severely hampered when he broke his foot blocking a shot in a March game against the Atlanta Thrashers, an injury that would keep Carter away from the ice until the season-ending home-and-home with the New York Rangers. While Carter wasn’t really a factor in the home-and-home with New York, nor all that much when he was healthy down the stretch against teams who the Flyers were trying to catch in the playoff race, it still needs to be acknowledged that the Flyers wouldn’t have even been in a position to attack for a playoff spot had Carter not carried the load offensively at certain points throughout the year.
Postseason Statistics: 12 Games Played – 5 Goals, 2 Assists, 7 Points. -5
Analysis: Oh, Jeff Carter and the postseason. Unfortunately, a title that doesn’t make too many Flyers fans smile. This postseason gave them reason to believe there would be a change in Carter’s play in the NHL’s second season, but another broken foot – this one in Game Four against New Jersey after having a shot hit him in front of the net – sidelined the Flyers sniper and didn’t give him a chance to continue what was an otherwise solid first round against the Devils. In the four games he participated in during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, Carter had two goals and one assist, all of which came in the final game he would compete in during the series. The broken foot sidelined him for the entire Boston series, and #17 didn’t make his return to the Flyers line-up until Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals against Montreal. He would score twice in Game Five, a game that clinched the Flyers’ first Eastern Conference Championship since 1997, but was rendered invisible during the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago. The Blackhawks defense had an answer for every move Carter tried to throw at them – granted, Carts was visibly slowed down by the lack of healing time given to his broken foot before he came back – and the Flyers sniper finished with one point in the Final, an empty netter that sealed a Flyers victory in Game Four.
FINAL GRADE: B+
Reasoning: Carter’s offensive prowess is undeniable. There were times when he was silent this year, but, in my opinion, a pair of broken feet will do that to you. I gave Carter a lot of flack during the Final because of how slow he looked on the ice, and I stand by that opinion. Still, I give Carter credit for what he meant to this team during the regular season, and I think everybody knows now that Carts is an integral piece to the future here in Philadelphia. The reason for that is because the Flyers dealt fan favorite and the longest tenured current member of the Orange and Black, Simon Gagne, last month to the Tampa Bay Lightning, electing to go with their shining youth, as opposed to their shining Vets. Sure, Carter’s had a good couple seasons in a row here, but if he doesn’t pick up the pace this year, it’s hard for me to imagine their won’t be people calling for both he and Paul Holmgren’s collective heads. Pressure’s on now, Carter. Don’t give anyone a reason to doubt you.