2015 Season Review: Jeff Carter
No More Mister Nice Tip.
Everything. Literally everything.
In his career, Jeff Carter has been good at everything except suppressing shots. However, the above diagram is somewhat misleading in this regard, as it represents more of his career than just his time as a King. Except for his rookie season, Carter has helped the Los Angeles Kings suppress shots at a much better rate than he ever did as a Flyer. Carter is still not elite at suppressing shots, but his numbers are markedly better now than they used to be.
The only other stat in that diagram that paints Carter in even a slightly bad light is his assist rate. Carter rectified that by posting the best assist rate on the team in 2014-15.
By every reasonable metric, Jeff Carter had an outstanding season. He scored goals, he set up his teammates, and he helped the Kings push play. At absolute worst, he did everything merely well. Not bad for a #2 center.
When someone does everything well, it takes a little bit of creative digging to actually find something to be concerned about. "Did you know that he only led all other Kings in 5v5 scoring by a single goal!?!!"
Okay, his season wasn't that clean. I mentioned his improved assist rate as a positive, but there is actually good reason to suspect that it was a fluke. One way of determining whether or not an assist rate was a fluke is to look at how many of those assists were first assists. First assists are something that a player has decidedly more control over than their secondary counterparts.
Carter's first assist rate was actually excellent! We have data on this all the way back to the 07-08 season, and his performance this season was the best of his career. This was an extension of his play a season ago, in which he also performed considerably better in this regard than he ever had before.
Unfortunately, his second assist rate was also the best of his career. This is unlikely to continue going forward, and Carter's overall assist and point rates will likely suffer as a result.
Carter also saw his shot rate come down from the lofty perch it sat upon a season ago. Fortunately, it's still very in line with his performance throughout the rest of his time as a King. That would seem to make it likely that his shot rate last season was a bit of a fluke. That's okay though. Even with a decline, his shot rate was very good.
Mike Richards was waived by the Kings on January 26th. On January 28th, the Kings squared off with Chicago in a crucial tilt to kick off their failed run to the playoffs. In the momentarily important win, Jeff Carter scored twice and added an assist.
That's all really good and cool. His goals were nice. It was really neat.
This season's Jeff Carter highlight is him almost crying about Mike Richards on national television.
He choked up but battled through. Gritty performance in this interview.
Jeff Carter isn't going anywhere, and - based on all available information - neither is his extremely solid play. Carts was initially acquired to be a sniping winger, but the decline of Mike Richards has forced him to evolve into one of the best #2 centers in the league. As a member of the venerable That 70's Line, Carter was arguably the best offensive threat the Kings dressed this season.
The only question now is whether or not the incurable sadness he carries over the departure of Mike Richards will affect his play on the ice. I say no. Carts is in a better place now. He's more mature than he was when he was dealt to Columbus. He's married. He's a champion. He has really tiny dogs and a really nice tip.
He is great. Jeff, you're great. Keep being great.