Is Jeff Carter’s contract preventing trade out of Columbus?

Speculation persists that Columbus Blue Jackets disgruntled forward Jeff Carter will be dealt before the February 27 trade deadline, according to a recent segment of SportsNet’s Sources Say.

While the Blue Jackets would like to move Carter, as Kevin Allen of the USA Today reports, his contract could be a problem.

Not so. The show’s panel maintained that the 10 years and $52.7 million remaining on Carter’s deal would not deter some teams from acquiring him. Thus, there could be a number of suitors.

Among them are the Vancouver Canucks, apparently, who are looking to add some size and grit along with some offense to their top line.

The Los Angeles Kings are on that list, as well.

As Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News notes, the Kings are the lowest scoring team in the National Hockey League and could go shopping for a forward before the deadline.

Speculation is that they’re investigating the possibility of picking up Carter and reuniting him with former Philadelphia Flyers teammate Mike Richards However, the cost would be too steep and Kings general manager Dean Lombardi isn’t a fan of his contract so there may not be a match in the end.

Another possible destination for Carter is Toronto, where Gleason believes Carter would benefit from being around head coach Ron Wilson and Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.

But as Bob McKenzie of TSN notes, Burke, too, does not like those “long-term deals with the bogus years at the end.” He has been vocal in the past about not offering those kind of deals to unrestricted free agents, so what are the chances he would trade for a player that owns one of those contracts.

However, the Sources Say panel points out that the last three years of Carter’s contract are worth $3.0, $2.0, and $2 million respectively , so they could easily be bought out if Carter’s production falls off drastically. They also alluded to the new CBA bringing more flexibility for teams in dealing with long-term, expensive contracts.

Could that potentially sway general managers such as Lombardi and Burke to take a chance on Carter?

We shall soon find out.

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