The three biggest surprises of the LA Kings season

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports) /
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LA Kings Jeff Carter
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Surprise number two: The Jeff Carter trade.

Heading into this season’s April 12th NHL trade deadline, it had become obvious the LA Kings were going to be sellers. With the team rapidly falling out of playoff contention, several names were rumored to be going out of town. Many speculated just what the return would be for Dustin Brown, Andreas Athanasiou, Alex Iafallo, and even Jonathan Quick. They would all keep their southern California addresses, but out of nowhere, it was announced another franchise cornerstone had been traded.

The night before the actual deadline, the Kings announced they had traded Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Kings received two conditional draft picks (and retained half of Carter’s salary) in return for one of the key components of their two Stanley Cup championships. The trade sent shockwaves through the LA fanbase as ,even though his production had slowed, Carter was a very popular player.

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At first, it seemed baffling as to why the Penguins would make the trade. Scoring goals is not an area where Pittsburgh needs help, and that has been Carter’s calling card throughout his whole career. New Penguins GM Ron Hextall is very familiar with Carter from their time together in Los Angeles, however, and knows that “Carts” brings a championship pedigree to his team.

The trade has rejuvenated Carter. In the 14 regular-season games he has played since arriving in Pittsburgh, he has scored nine goals, including a four-goal game. Through five playoff games this season, No. 77 has three goals and one assist.

It looks like Ron Hextall knew what he was doing.