After a season of rebirth, Nine year NHL veteran Anson Carter found his way to the Carolina Hurricanes. Could the man with 200+ career goals help Carolina’s flatlining offense?
This is the third installment in an ongoing series focusing on players with short-lived stints with the Carolina Hurricanes. If you haven’t already, you can check out my pieces on Jan Hlavac and Pavel Brendl.
A 10th round pick of the Quebec Nordiques in 1992, Anson Carter’s career was one of near-constant transition. Over a decade in the NHL he suited up for eight teams, never spending more than three full seasons with any one organization. His movement, however, was not due to a lack of skill.
Instead, Carter was often used as a trade chip when his team was interested in adding a big-name player. While I remember his trade to Boston, it was still fascinating to look at the number of these deals that Carter was a piece of. The first such deal occurred on March 1, 1997, when Carter, then a member of the Washington Capitals, was moved to the Boston Bruins in a package for Hall of Famer Adam Oates, 1990 Conn Smythe winner Bill Ranford, and four-time All-Star Rick Tocchet.
Then, in November of 2000, Carter was shipped to the Edmonton Oilers along with two draft picks in return for Bill Guerin. While Guerin isn’t on the same level as Oates, it’s also worth noting that one of the picks that was traded along with Carter was used to select Ales Hemsky, who scored 477 points over 11 years in Edmonton.
By the time of the Jagr trade, Carter had played in 495 games, picking up 153 goals (including 26 game-winners) and 327 points along the way. The constant moving, however, seemed to take a toll on Carter’s production and the 2003-04 season saw him post only 28 points over 77 games, including a very brief stint with the Los Angeles Kings after his return to Washington.
Coming out of the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Carter signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks. His new team struggled, missing out on a playoff berth by three points, but Carter excelled. His lone season in Vancouver saw him set a career-high in goals (33), 15 of which came on the power play (also a career-best).
This rejuvenation landed Carter a one-year pact with the Columbus Blue Jackets at a 250% raise over his previous contract. Unfortunately for the offensively starved Jackets, Carter was unable to replicate his goal-scoring. Despite a shooting percentage above his career average (yet well below the 22.6% he posted in Vancouver), Carter managed just 10 goals through 54 games in Columbus.
Carter’s time in Ohio’s capital came to an end on February 23, 2007, when he was dealt to the defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes for a 5th round pick in the 2008 draft. With Cory Stillman struggling to round into form after offseason shoulder surgery cost him two months at the start of the season, the Hurricanes needed offensive support.
Carter saw action in 10 of the Hurricanes’ final 19 games, posting one goal while averaging just over 10 minutes per game. Over those 19 games, Carolina went 9-10, including 4 losses to teams they were battling for playoff positioning with. Despite an overtime victory over the Florida Panthers in the final game of the season, the Hurricanes missed the playoffs by 4 points, becoming the first defending champ to miss the playoffs in the following season since the 1995-96 New Jersey Devils.
While more offense from Carter could have helped the Hurricanes return to the playoffs, the team had deeper issues that would continue to corrupt them for years to come. After the season, which would be his last in the NHL, Carter played in 15 games for HC Lugano of the Swiss National League in 2007-08.
After retiring from professional hockey, Carter went on to found the media company Big Up Entertainment as well as co-founding Shirt Off My Back, a clothing line that also donates uniforms to schoolchildren in Africa. He also works as an analyst for the MSG Network as well as NBC Sports.
Did you have high hopes for Anson Carter when he joined the Hurricanes or did his struggles in Columbus have you wary?