The return of Jeff Carter is moving closer to reality, but will it be enough for the Kings to push through to the playoffs? Kings general manager Rob Blake is in the unique situation of needing to improve the offense with the Feb. 26 trade deadline approaching, while also having a fallback position with Carter. The Kings' leading goal-scorer last season is expected to start practicing with the team when they return home next week, Blake said Thursday. Carter has been out since he lacerated an ankle tendon on Oct.18. "As far as progressing, everything is on track," Blake said. "He's doing as much as he possibly can on his own." Carter would allow the Kings to have a much deeper top-six forward unit, one in which they can move around players such as Adrian Kempe, who has filled in at second-line center. As far as the trade deadline, the Kings will look for upgrades but are not in a position to give away prospects or draft picks. Blake has taken a long-term view of the organization since he became general manager last year, and he is aware of building up their depth without selling off the future.