A native of London, Ontario, Jeff Carter has gone from the Ontario Hockey League to the AHL and is now a Stanley Cup Champion with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings after spending time with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Philadelphia Flyers and Phantoms and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Before becoming a part of the Ontario Hockey League, Carter played minor hockey in his hometown with the London Jr. Knights. The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds drafted him third overall in the 2001 OHL Priority Selection, and the center began his professional career that year with the Greyhounds.
Carter played his first game on September 16, also scoring his first OHL goal that same night as the lone scorer in a 4-1 loss to the Owen Sound Attack.
His rookie season would see him score 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points in 63 games before being drafted by the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers with the 11th overall selection in the entry draft.
After being drafted, Carter returned to the Soo for his sophomore season with the Greyhounds, where his offensive production increased to 35 goals and 36 assists in 61 games. He ended the season a minus-five, but still had a decent year with better things to come.
His offensive numbers would skyrocket the next season, as his third year with the Greyhounds would see the young forward score 36 goals and 30 assists, earning a plus-four and 66 points in just 57 games played. It was that impressive showmanship that also earned Carter his first AHL action, with the Philadelphia Phantoms. He also earned a spot as a 2nd-team OHL All Star and won gold with Team Canada at the IIHF World U-18 Championships.
Carter joined the Phantoms for 12 playoff games that year, scoring four goals and adding an assist in that stretch before once again returning to the OHL in fall. The 2004-05 season would prove to be not only his best in the league, but also his last.
In 55 games with Sault Ste. Marie, the forward scored 74 points and ended the season a plus-20. He also earned 10 points in seven playoff games with the Greyhounds and was named a 1st team OHL All-Star. On the international stage, he won a silver medal with Canada at the IIHF World Juniors in 2004. Carter also earned OHL and CHL Sportsmen of the Year honors.
He also had an assist in three regular season games with the Phantoms on a call-up. His return to Philadelphia for the playoffs saw him score 12 goals and 11 assists in just 21 games as the Phantoms won the Calder Cup.
The Philadelphia Flyers organization was clearly impressed, as Carter made the NHL roster out of training camp the next season. He scored 23 goals and 19 assists in his rookie season, also winning gold with Canada at the IIHF World Juniors. Through his tenure of six seasons with the Flyers, he would score a total of 343 points (181-162) in 461 games. He was named to the NHL All-Star Game in 2009.
He then went on to join the Columbus Blue Jackets for part of the 2011-12 season before finding a spot with the Los Angeles Kings. With both teams combined last season, Carter played 55 games and scored 21 goals and 13 assists and won a Stanley Cup with the Kings.
At the age of just 27, it’s probable that he”s still got plenty more good things to come.
A fun fact for you: In his rookie season in the OHL, Carter scored 18 goals and 17 assists total. Thirteen of those goals, and ten of those assists, were scored between September and December of that season.