100 point scorer
50 goal scorer
Part of the Gretzky Package
Drafted 2nd overall in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, Carson made the jump straight to the NHL for the 1986-87 season. Carson scored 32 goals and 79 points while finishing third in the Calder trophy voting, losing out to teammate Luc Robitaille. In his sophomore season, Carson scored 55 goals and 107 points. The early success of the young center made him the marque piece heading to the Edmonton Oilers in the Wayne Gretzky mega-blockbuster trade in the summer of 1988.
Carson would finish in the top 10 in NHL scoring for the Oilers in 1988-89 with 100 points, but could never come close to replacing Gretzky. He scored 3 points in a seven game Round one play-off lose to the Los Angeles Kings, while Gretzky had 13. Carson, citing the "Gretzky Syndrome" left the team in October of 1989 and demanded a trade. Carson was traded to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a few key pieces of the Oilers 1990 Stanley Cup victory, Petr Klima, Adam Graves and Joe Murphy, whose was the 1st overall pick in the 1986 draft.
Carson would soon find himself buried on the Red Wings depth chart at center behind HHOF Steve Yzerman and future HHOF Sergei Fedorov. Carson became expendable and in January of 1993, he was traded back to the Los Angelese Kings, in a deal that involved Paul Coffey, to center the second line behind Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky was reportedly "saddened" by the trade. I have a feeling Gretzky is not on Carson's Christmas card list. Carson set an NHL record that season by playing in 86 regular season games. The Kings would reach the Stanley Cup finals before losing to the Montreal Canadiens.
Carson, only 25, was no longer an offensive threat. Scoring only 11 points in 25 games to start the 1993-94 season, Carson was sent to the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Finals, without the help of Carson. Carson would only play 2 games in the first round, while being a healthy scratch for the rest.
Signed by the Whalers in the 1994 off season, Carson missed the end of the season with a shoulder injury. He would re-injure the same shoulder early in the 1995-96 season, costing him the rest of the season. No longer an offensive threat and certainly not a 3rd or 4th line type pf player, Carson had played his last NHL game at age 27.
It is strange to think that a two time 100 point scorer can be considered a bust.