Oilers trade Guerin to Bruins for Carter

Bill Guerin is bound for the the Boston Bruins after being traded by the Edmonton Oilers for the more affordable Anson Carter.

The Oilers also receive Boston's second-round draft pick in 2002 and can opt to flip first-round picks in either 2001 or 2002.

Future considerations round out the package for Guerin, who was expected to price himself out of Edmonton anyways.

Guerin, 30, already earns $3,212,500 US and will seek a hefty pay hike as an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

Carter, an unsigned restricted free agent holdout, agreed to a two-year contract with the Oilers worth $3.6-million US.

"It's a trade for today and for a number of years," Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe said. "This is more about taking care of business today and assuring the strength and stability of the organization for a lot of years.

"We are convinced this deal will have positive results both short and long term," he continued. "I can honestly say that I strongly believe Anson Carter is going to be a major impact player for us now and for years to come."

Carter, a 26-year-old right-winger, had been on the Bruins' trading block for some time.

He also attracted plenty of interest, and rightly so.

Carter wound up second in team-scoring behind Joe Thornton last season with 22 goals and 24 assists in 59 games.

Moreover, he is again completely healthy.

Carter underwent off-season surgery and is no longer hampered by shoulder and wrist injuries which plagued him last season.

The Carolina Huricanes reportedly topped the list of teams out to acquire Carter and tried to build a trade around Jeff O'Neill.

"Anson is a very quick, gritty forward who has a terrific scoring touch," Lowe said. "His potential is enormous.

"This is a guy I've admired for a number of years. I think he is just scratching the surface of his potential.

"I think he plays Oilers hockey."

Carter's contract dispute with the Bruins was his second in three years.

Back in 1998, he missed all of training camp and one month of the regular season before coming to terms on a two-year contract.

According to agent Pat Brisson, Carter, who made $850,000 US last year, rejected both Boston offers, one for $2.6-million US over two years and the other, a one-year deal at $935,000 US.

He had been skating on his own in Los Angeles.

"It's my hope there won't be too much of a step backward," Lowe said. "He is a remarkable athlete, he's in great shape."

In Guerin, the Oilers gave up an equally gritty winger with considerable offensive skill.

He was also one of the team's most outwardly emotional leaders.

"Guerin is a premier power forward in the National Hockey League," Bruins general manager Mike O'Connell said. "He is a proven scorer who is solid in all aspects of the game.

"When it became apparent that we were not going to be able to reach a contract agreement with Anson, I was determined to be patient in obtaining the best possible deal for the Boston Bruins.

"Billy Guerin immediately makes us a better hockey club."

Guerin was second behind captain Doug Weight in scoring with 22 points in 21 games this season.

He led the Oilers in plus-minus with a plus-11 rating and was tied with Ryan Smyth for the team lead in goals with 12.

"He's a prototypical Boston Bruin," Bruins head coach Mike Keenan said. "We're very proud to have him as part of our team."

Edmonton originally obtained Guerin, along with Valeri Zelepukin, from the New Jersey Devils for Jason Arnott and Bryan Muir on Jan. 4, 1998.

Ironically, Guerin's Bruins debut will come against the Devils at the Fleet Center on Thursday.