Los Angeles Kings: An appreciation of Jeff Carter’s contributions

Saturday afternoon Los Angeles Kings forward  Jeff Carter celebrated his 1,000th NHL game in style scoring the game-winning goal in the third period to help the Kings beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3.

Not only was the game Carter’s 1000th in the NHL, but it was his 500th as a Los Angeles Kings player meaning his next game in a Kings uniform guarantees he will have played more games for Los Angeles than in his two prior stops in Philadelphia and Columbus.

With the Kings in a rebuilding period and at 34 years old, it is unlikely that Jeff Carter will be celebrating playoff glory in a Kings uniform again, which means there is a chance that Carter a veteran could be dealt to help a team trying to make a playoff push.

Though Carter is not a homegrown player like Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, or Drew Doughty, there is no doubt the enormous impact Carter has had in franchise history.

The Trade

Jeff Carter was acquired in 2012 in a trade deadline deal for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Carter’s impact was immediate as they won 12 of the 17 games he played with them as they pushed towards the playoffs.

Carter led the Kings in goals during the playoffs with eight and most importantly he scored three game-winning goals including the overtime winner in game two Stanley Cup Finals. Thanks to Carter and his scoring touch the Kings would win their first Stanley Cup in their 45 years as a franchise.

The Series

In 2014 down 1-0 in the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, the same team that eliminated the Kings in the same round of the playoffs in 2013, Jeff Carter stepped up in a huge way to turn the series in the Kings favor.

Down 2-1 going into the third period of game 2, and in danger of being down 2-0 in the series Carter scored a hat trick in the period and picked up an assist giving him four points for the period and the win. In the seven-game series win, Carter scored five goals and collected six assists for 11 points the most goals and points for any player in the series.

Thanks in part to his heroics Carter would help lead the Los Angeles Kings to their second Stanley Cup in three years.

The Future

With all his accomplishments and accolades regardless of how his career ends nothing would be more fitting than to see Carter’s number 77 in the rafters of Staples Center a homage to his impact in a Kings uniform.