Carter's back, but in tough

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Welcome Back Carter?

Eight is Enough?

There are any number of potential titles for the prime-time rerun the Edmonton Oilers added to their fall lineup yesterday afternoon.

The script goes like this: Well-travelled winger Anson Carter, who's played for eight different teams in his 11-year NHL career, is attempting another tour of duty in Edmonton.

"There's openings, but there's no promises,"said Carter, invited to Edmonton on a tryout basis after being unable to find any other takers this summer. "All I expected from Kevin and MacT is that they're honest with me. Whether it's first two lines or third or fourth lines it doesn't really matter, just outline to me what you expect and I'll come and try to get a job."

There are job openings in Edmonton, to be sure, but Carter doesn't have the inside track on any of them. If anything, head coach Craig MacTavish says the 33-year-old training camp walk-on is an underdog.

"It's just a tryout," said the coach. "Our position with Anson is we have nothing to lose; bring him in and have a look, make an assessment firsthand. I don't know whether I consider it a longshot, but he's in tough around here. We'll see what he has."

How much is left in Carter's tank is the big question. He had a career high 33 goals in him when he played with the Sedin twins two years ago, then left Vancouver in search of greener pastures and never found them. He couldn't get a contract till late in the summer of 2006 and ended up splitting the season between Columbus and Carolina, totalling 11 goals and 17 assists in 64 games.

Another summer without a contract offer brings him back to Edmonton.

"Anson was looking for an opportunity to play," said Oilers director of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast.

"He's familiar with us and we're familiar with him so we decided to give him a chance. It doesn't cost us anything to look.

"Obviously there's some question marks over the last couple of years, but he trained hard over the summer with some of our players ... we'll see where it goes."

Carter, who skated with Rob Schremp and Kyle Brodziak in yesterday's Joey Moss Cup, firmly believes he still has a lot to give.

"Absolutely," said the Toronto native, who scored 69 goals in 211 games with Edmonton the first time around (2000 to 2003). "I can chip in, I know I can. Given the right situation and enjoying the environment you're in ... and last time I was here in Edmonton I loved it. If I didn't I wouldn't have come here and tried out.

"I didn't want to be sitting around waiting (for the phone to ring); I wanted to be proactive and I wanted to go to a place where I knew the guys and knew the city. Edmonton was a good fit."

But is there room? The Oilers only have one more contract left to give out (before reaching the NHL maximum 50) and rookie Sam Gagner's two-goal, four-point effort yesterday serves notice that he's a very real contender. MacTavish said the club would much rather use its roster spots on kids who'll be there for them in the future, but if they don't take advantage, and Carter can turn back the clock a couple of years, they'll have a decision to make.

Obviously the job is the young guys' to lose," said the coach. "We'd much prefer a Kyle Brodziak to step up and be in the position, but if they're not ready and Anson comes in here and plays well, we have a default position with Anson.

"We get an opportunity to have a look at him and some other teams get an opportunity to look at him as well."


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