I think that next year is a little early but anything is possible. I think that 2 years is a better projection. I think he is the type of player that will jump straight from junior to the NHL, I don't think that he will play at all in the AHL. Carter and Richards will also be fighting to play the same position on the same team, in relatively the same time, so it's going to be tough.
at the moment, there is no need to rush either of them.
They moved Comrie to wing to make space for Sharp, who is a natural centre. Handzus isn't real strong on faceoffs this year, so he could be experimented on a wing if he's still around in '05... For Carter, I think another year in the OHL would be okay. I said Horton should have been given another year of juniors for him to prove he could dominate over a full season. I think the same for Carter, to a lesser extent of domination maybe. When eligible, I'd put both Carter and Richards into the top 6 on the Phantoms, get them used to playing a ton at the pro level. Call them up every now and then for injury or *cough* suspension substitutions.
If you watched him in the WJC, you saw that Carter has great talent and sense, but does not yet possess the consistency needed to be a top-two line center in the NHL.
Especially defensively -- Carter had quite a few lapses in the defensive zone that lead to scoring chances against very inferior competition in the WJCs. He actually had a better game against the USA than he did against Ukraine and teams like that.
Yes, he would help the Flyers offensively, but Hitch would not tolerate the kind of defensive lapses that Carter still seems to be prone to. Invite him to camp, then give him another year in the OHL (he's too young for the AHL, unless I'm mistaken) and have him ready to be a star in the 2005-6 season.
Then again, guys like Horton who seemed nowhere near ready for the NHL have stepped it up and become solid pros at Carter's age. If he has a stellar camp next year...