Holmgren: “We’re not trading Jeff Carter”

TSN’s Darren Dreger sent mild shock waves through the transaction-starved hockey community on Saturday, saying on his twitter that Atlanta general manager Don Waddell has approached Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, about moving the rights to bona fide super star Ilya Kovalchuk.

For any trade of this caliber to be made with the Flyers, it was speculated that Flyers’ forward Jeff Carter would have to be the key piece, especially in landing the $6.3 million Russian sniper.   Carter’s manageable $5 million contract and value on the open market would make him an appetizing bargaining chip.  That, combined with the Flyers lacking all draft picks in the top three rounds of the 2010 Entry Draft, makes moving someone like Carter even more likely.

However, on Sunday, Flyers’ GM Paul Holmgren put the Carter rumors to rest once and for all.

“We’re not trading Jeff Carter,” Holmgren definitively told ESPN.com.

The rumors popped up as the Flyers began losing traction in the Eastern Conference.  The always competitive Orange and Black were suddenly battling to get out of the draft  lottery position, rather than into the post season. The 25-year old former 46-goal scorer was having a down year, with his lack of effort seemingly infecting the rest of the Flyers.  It was also at this time that the rumors began popping up involving Holmgren pursuing Kovalchuk.

“I don’t know where all these rumors are coming from,” said Holmgren. “We are not trading him, I can tell you that.”

Since the darkest point of the season (late Nov. – Late Dec.) Carter has picked up his game.  During the Flyers’ latest 7-1-1 run,  he has four goals and six assists, giving him 16 goals and 21 assists on the year.

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