Time to get Carter?

Jeff Carter will become a restricted free agent this summer if he doesn't re-sign with the Flyers....

Jeff Carter will become a restricted free agent this summer if he doesn't re-sign with the Flyers. SUN MEDIA/Mike Hensen

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

The agent for Jeff Carter said his client wants to remain with the Philadelphia Flyers but realizes there is not a guarantee that will happen.

"We're going to make every effort to have Jeff stay in Philadelphia," agent Rick Curran said yesterday. "Prior to the draft I would expect we'll know what is likely to happen. Jeff has expressed an interest in staying in Philadelphia."

Carter's situation is going to be watched closely in the coming weeks. The 23-year-old, who was coveted by the Maple Leafs just a few months ago, finished his third full season with the Flyers with 29 goals and 24 assists (both career highs), and recorded 11 points (six goals and five assists) in 17 playoff games.

Carter, who made $942,400 US in 2007-08, is slated to be a restricted free agent July 1 and there has been speculation the Flyers will try to move him because they won't be able to afford him. It's thought Carter, who is not eligible for salary arbitration, will be looking for $5 million a season in his new contract.

But Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told reporters yesterday he intends to keep Carter in black and orange.

"We'll get him signed," Holmgren said. "I have no doubt about that."

The Leafs wanted Carter before the trade deadline this past February and had a deal lined up to get him for defenceman Tomas Kaberle, but it fell through when Kaberle refused to waive his no-trade clause.

If Carter somehow gets to July 1 without re-signing with the Flyers or being traded, Curran figured there would be at least 12 serious offer sheet possibilities from across the league. The Leafs almost definitely would rekindle their interest.

Another youngster in the same spot as Carter is Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, but Ducks GM Brian Burke has said his No. 1 priority in the off-season is to sign Perry.

GM SEARCH ONGOING

Richard Peddie reiterated yesterday the Leafs will take their time in hiring a GM.

"We have Cliff (Fletcher) in place and he has been open-minded," Peddie, the president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., said.

The Leafs last week interviewed Dave Nonis for a management position, but not necessarily that of GM. There was speculation Nonis was going to be back in Toronto this week for more talks with Leafs management.


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