Rick Nash was driving in Canada yesterday with Blue Jackets teammate Jared Boll riding shotgun when long-awaited news arrived by cell phone:

General manager Scott Howson was calling to inform Nash that the team had acquired an All-Star center to play alongside him.

The left winger with the great hands managed to keep the steering wheel steady as he processed a deal that brought Jeff Carter from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Blue Jackets for right winger Jake Voracek and the Blue Jackets first- and third-round picks in this weekend's NHL draft.

"My phone is blowing up right now," Nash said. "I heard some rumors a week ago, then I heard 'no chance' a couple days later. I'm really excited ... It's tough to lose Jake because he was a really good young player and a close friend, but this is the kind of trade we've been looking for."

Yesterday was an astonishing day for many in the talent-depleted organization. How long they have waited to call a top-line center in his prime one of their own.

This isn't then-GM Doug MacLean introducing Sergei Fedorov to the fan base and hoping that he has another Hart Trophy-caliber season in his 35-year-old bones.

Carter is 26 and coming off a 36-goal season. He's a right-handed shooter who will create space for Nash, the kind of space he has enjoyed only in All-Star Games and Olympic appearances.