Dateline: Last season
Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren needs to add mobility to his blueline, so he's shopping for a decent veteran guy who can move the rock and be a responsible two way player. The Flyers are playing well after dropping to last place the year before, and Holmgren wants a good playoff run.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired GM John Ferguson Jr, and replaced him with Hall Of Fame builder Cliff Fletcher. It's assumed by most that Fletcher's job will be to dump some of the big contracts that Ferguson and MLSE handed out to guys like Bryan McCabe, Pavel Kubina, Jason Blake and perhaps even Leafs captain Mats Sundin to start a rebuilding process.
However, Holmgren has his sights set on another veteran Leaf, defenseman Tomas Kaberle.
Kaberle is a slick passing, smooth skating power play QB, who is also a solid two way guy. He's not very physical, but the Philadelphia blueline has plenty of that.
Holmgren and Fletcher discuss terms, and it's reported that a deal has been reached to send center Jeff Carter and a 1st round pick to the Leafs for Kaberle. Philly fans are mildly upset, but not overly so. Carter has a great deal of promise, but he's something of an enigma and streaky. Kaberle will settle the back end and help keep the lesser lights of the blueline corps off the ice at key times.
Then, Kaberle declines to waive his no trade clause.
Fortunately for Holmgren, because soon after this occured, something clicked for Carter.
He started becoming a better two way player. He didn't seem to mind being used in a checking line role. Guys placed on his line started playing better.
Fast forward to this season. Carter's improvement led Holmgren to hand him a 3 year contract extension with a $4.1mm a year raise. Carter has been playing even better.
Carter has been a mainstay on the ice-sometimes handling a top line scoring assignment, other times being called on to be the team's shut down anchor. He's out for every power play and penalty kill. His faceoff work, long an issue, has started to improve.
He's on pace for 60 goals as of this writing. He's playing 22 minutes a night. He's the Flyers' lone big center. In short, Flyers fans are generally rejoicing that Kaberle decided to stay in Toronto.