Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jeff Carter in LA: Fool me twice, shame on Kings fans

Ok, this is just TOO hilarious. Jeff Carter, who went from being the most overrated forward in Philadelphia to the most discontented forward in Columbus, has apparently seriously perked up the Kings' offense since being traded to LA at the deadline.

So, first of all, it's really adorable that Carter and Richie are back together again. Eligible Los Angeles women between the ages of 18 and, let's say, 23 haven't dealt with such a dynamic sexual duo since the glory days of Vincent Chase and Johnny Drama.

But for the love of all things holy, won't someone please think of the children...and Kings fans? (Side note: I'm assuming they exist).

Statistically, yeah, the Kings offense has been much, much better since Carter started donning the purple and black. And yeah, Carter averaged 30 goals per season over six seasons in Philadelphia. But there are two reasons to be skeptical of the improvement.

The first is that the Kings' shooting percentage since the deal is a whopping 12.2 percent, and the team can probably expect a regression to the mean of closer to ten percent. An abnormally high shooting percentage helped the Bruins dominate the middle of the regular season, and regression helps explain their more human performance since January.

It's no surprise that Carter's scoring prowess has made the Kings a better offensive team, but it's less likely that his presence has suddenly added better than a goal per game to their average.

Before I present the second reason for skepticism, allow me a brief digression. Bill Simmons penned a tribute to this year's Kings recently, and praised Jeff Carter, saying the following:
He stood out for a variety of reasons: He wears the no. 77 jersey (a number that just pops); he's bigger than every relevant King except Kopitar and fan unfavorite Dustin Penner (who might be made of Krispy Kreme); he's one of those natural scoring predators who circles the net with extra purpose; he's a much smarter passer than I expected (hockey's like basketball — the good passers just jump out at you); he kills penalties (something this casual hockey fan didn't expect); and basically, you notice him every time he's skating around. 
Oh, Bill. That's hilarious. Now, Simmons isn't a hockey guy, so I'll cut him some slack here. But I'm a Flyers season ticket holder and longtime fan, and I've watched Carter in person dozens of times and on television hundreds of times.

Here's the truth about Carter: yes, he's big, and yes, he has an absolutely wicked wrist shot. While he's not a burner, he's deceptively fast and fluid on his skates.

But he's a sloppy passer. He doesn't forecheck, backcheck, or, as far as I can tell, ever check anybody. And he has the infuriating tendency to try to shoot through every defenseman, getting plenty of shots blocked in the process rather than passing the puck.

He also disappears in the playoffs, averaging just .44 points per game in the postseason, compared to .74 points per game in the regular season for his career.

So yeah, he'll get you 30 goals a year. But they'll be the most meaningless 30 goals you can possibly imagine. Simmons always talks about the Table Test, where you measure a player not just by what he brings to the table, but also by what he takes off.

Well, 30 goals is a lot to bring to the table, but Carter takes enough off of the table that he cancels out a lot of that production.

Besides that, does it not bother ANY Kings fans that the two guys the Flyers unloaded in the offseason, players who were career Flyers signed to long-term deals and supposedly cornerstone guys, are both on the Kings now?

If it didn't work in Philadelphia, why would it work in Los Angeles? If it does, it'll be because of two words: Jonathan Quick.

But if it doesn't work, we can only say: we told ya so.

So, Kings fans, enjoy Jeff Carter for now. Just don't look for him come playoff time.


  1. Don't forget about Simon Gagne and Justin Williams. They are my favorie western conference team, they're pretty much Flyers west, just with consistent goaltending.
    And yea I thought it was hilarious that Simmons thought Carter was a good passer, or could play defense. Sooner or later he to will become disillusioned.

  2. I don't read Bill Simmons, but you guys trash him so much that I certainly don't plan to start. Why do you guys bother reading him if he is such trash and doesn't talk about Philly shit anyway?

  3. I don't think he's trash. He's a pretty insightful writer, and he's way better than most of the dreck ESPN is pushing. For basketball analysis, I think he's a little over the top, but he definitely knows what he's talking about. And he's occasionally funny, though his shtick has gotten a little older over the years. I just think he's not as good as he used to be.

    But this article is a bad example of that. He's really just not a hockey guy at all, so I could see him being impressed with certain aspects of Carter's game without understanding the nuance of why he actually kind of sucks.