Jeff Carter knew through the early season that his big deal was coming, it was just a matter of when. Saturday night he got his answer, when the two sides were able to come to terms on a deal that will keep Carter in Philadelphia through the 2021-2022 season.
“We’re happy to have Jeff signed for the foreseeable future. He’s an integral part of the core of our hockey team. This took a a little bit of time to get done, but we’re happy to have it done,” GM Paul Holmgren said before Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers.
Carter, who signed an 11-year, $58 million deal Saturday has certainly proved his worth over the course of his career in Philadelphia, since being drafted by the team back in the first round of the entry level draft back in 2003.
The 6’3″ forward rose quickly within the organization, starting first in the OHL and before coming to Philadelphia to play a few games with the Phantoms in 2004-2005, then the Flyers the next season.
“I think Jeff has matured over a number of years here,” Holmgren said. “He’s a committed two way player for the Flyers. You need guys who can score and Jeff has a knack for scoring.”
For Carter signing back with the Flyers was a no-brainer. “I’m happy here. I like playing here,” he said.
Carter appeared on the score sheet only once Saturday, with an assist on the second Mike Richards goal, reinforcing what has been, and now will continue to be, one of the better tandems in the NHL.
“From a GM’s standpoint, it’s really easy to build your team on these two players. They’re going to be great players down the road and people are going to enjoy them for a while,” teammate Kimmo Timonnen said after Saturday night’s game.
Claude Giroux, though omitted, is proving to be part of that core. The right winger, who signed a deal of his own earlier in the week, for three years and $11.25 million, is quickly ascending to stardom in Philadelphia. Giroux now leads the team in goals, scoring his ninth Saturday.
Carter recognizes that with Giroux and Richards here to stay for a few years, something special could be brewing in South Philly. “We’ve got a good thing going on here and I want to be a part of it.”
Holmgren now has one more major signing to complete — Ville Leino.
“I’ve had some conversations with Ville’s agent,” the GM said. “Obviously he’s a guy we want to keep in our organization so we’ll do what we can.”
But as Leino continues to impress on the ice things are looking harder and harder. “If he keeps getting a couple points a game it gets harder and harder. Maybe we should sit him out, Holmgren joked. “We’ll see, I think Ville likes it here, he’s found a niche here so hopefully we can get something done.”
As for Leino, more of the same: “I enjoy being here. It’s a good fit”