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THN.com Blog: Introductions are in order

Can you figure out who I am? (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

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Can you figure out who I am? (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I come from a very neutral place and didn’t arrive on the NHL scene until I was almost 30 years old.

Back then, you had to be paying really close attention to notice me.

I play for a team that has far exceeded expectations and, when I allow myself a vain moment, I like to think I have something to do with it.

After all, only three guys in the entire league who play my position have more points. OK, truth be told, that’s a bit misleading because I don’t always line up at the same spot. I’m from a country that has four national languages, so it should come as no surprise I’m a bit diverse.

I’ve been playing on my team’s potent power play all year and I had some big skates to fill. There was an open spot on the No. 1 unit because a former teammate of mine took a five-year, $27-million free agent contract to play somewhere else. By the way, if you happen to see him around, don’t ask how his year is going. He’s probably not in the mood to talk about it.

I’d have to think my team is happy with the job I’ve done stepping up to fill his spot. I’m on pace for just four less points than he had in his career year last season – and my team saved about $4.8 million this season alone by having me out there.

Even though I don’t give off the greedy vibe, I can’t deny I’ve been thinking about July 1 a bit. See, I’m slated to become an unrestricted free agent and the $600,000 I made this season is nice and all, but I’ve got to think somebody out there has noticed the year I’m having and might want to talk to me about a raise – how does 200 percent sound?

I think anybody who knows me would say it’s pretty fair.

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KEEP A FLYER
Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren picked a good time to hold ‘em.

At one point, it was rumored Philadelphia was making center Jeff Carter the centerpiece of a pitch to get Brad Richards out of Tampa Bay. Richards, of course, ended up in Dallas. Meanwhile, Carter’s final destination is starting to look a lot more like what people projected it to be when the Flyers took him 11th overall in 2003.

Since the Feb. 26 trade deadline, Carter has three goals and five points in four games. Thanks in large part to a solid January, Carter has already eclipsed his previous career high for points (he has 43) and has equaled his high-water mark for goals in a season with 23.

Carter came up through the Philly system with Mike Richards, whom the Flyers took 13 spots after Carter in ’03. For the first two years of their NHL careers, neither player completely lived up to lofty expectations. But when Richards hit the big time this season, suddenly there was a stark contrast in the development of the two first-rounders.

However, when Richards went down with a hamstring injury in late February, Carter’s stock started to rise. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he’s got the frame and skill to severely impact hockey games. And when he incorporates a little salt into his game, Carter can be a little reminiscent of another player from the golden ’03 draft class, Ryan Getzlaf.

If he continues heading in his current direction, Carter is going to win Holmgren the award for best deal never made.

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