Carter was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, 10th round, 220th overall, after playing AAA level hockey in the Metro Toronto Hockey League.
After completing his AAA hockey career, Carter played one season in the Metro Junior 'A' Hockey League for the Wexford Raiders, scoring 18 goals and adding 22 assists for 40 points in 42 games, helping the Raiders to a league title as a result of sweeping the Bramalea Blues 4-0 in the championship final. (Incidentally, the Raiders' Head Coach was Stan Butler, current Director of Hockey Operations & Head Coach with the Ontario Hockey League's North Bay Battalion).
Carter went on to play four years at Michigan State University, earning himself honours on the CCHA First All-Star Team in 1994 and 1995, Second All-Star Team in 1996, as well as the NCAA West Second All-American Team in 1995.
On April 3, 1996, the Nordiques' successor, the Colorado Avalanche, traded his rights to the Washington Capitals for a fourth-round pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
Carter made his professional début in 1996–97, splitting his time with the Capitals and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Portland Pirates, before being traded to the Boston Bruins on March 1, 1997. As part of a blockbuster deal, Carter was sent with Jason Allison, Jim Carey, a conditional pick in the 1998 draft and a third-round pick in the 1997 draft to the Bruins for Adam Oates, Bill Ranford and Rick Tocchet.
After spending several seasons with the Bruins, Carter was dealt along with a conditional pick in the 2003 draft, a first- and a second-round pick in the 2001 draft to the Edmonton Oilers for Bill Guerin and a first-round pick in the 2001 draft. In his second season with Edmonton, Carter would record career-highs in assists (32) and points (60). However, he was still deemed expendable, and was traded once again to the New York Rangers along with Ales Pisa for Radek Dvořák and Cory Cross on March 11, 2003.
At the completion of the 2002–03 season, Carter played for Team Canada in the 2003 World Championships. Over 14 minutes into the first overtime of the gold medal game against Sweden, Carter beat Swedish goaltender Mikael Tellqvist with a wraparound goal. The goal was contested for several minutes before replays confirmed that Tellqvist had stopped the puck behind the goal line. It was Canada's first World Championship win in five years.
Lasting half a season with the Rangers, he was traded back to the Capitals on January 23, 2004, for Jaromír Jágr. His second go with the Capitals was even more short-lived than his stint with New York, as he was flipped to the Los Angeles Kings for Jared Aulin just over a month later on March 8, 2004.
On August 16, 2005, Carter signed a one-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks as an unrestricted free agent. He played in Vancouver on the second offensive line with identical twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin, where the trio were known colloquially as the "Brothers Line". He set a new career high in goals with 33, leading the team, and earned the Canucks' Most Exciting Player Award. However, he did not re-sign with the Canucks at the end of the season due to a contract dispute.
On September 13, 2006, Carter signed a one-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but was traded once again to the Carolina Hurricanes on February 23, 2007, for a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft.
In September 2007, Carter rejoined the Edmonton Oilers on a try-out basis during their training camp, and played one exhibition game before being released on October 2, 2007. Without an NHL job, on November 5, Carter joined HC Lugano of the Swiss Nationalliga A.
Carter founded the Big Up Entertainment label in March 2005. The label's first release was from Richmond, Virginia natives Main & Merc.
Carter is now living in Atlanta, Georgia.June 20, 1992 – Quebec Nordiques' 10th round draft choice, 220th overall, in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft.
June 21, 1995 – Rights transferred to the Colorado Avalanche after Quebec Nordiques relocation.
April 3, 1996 – Traded by the Colorado Avalanche to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Washington's 1996 4th round draft choice.
March 1, 1997 – Traded by the Washington Capitals, along with Jim Carey, Jason Allison and Washington's 1997 3rd round draft choice to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Bill Ranford, Adam Oates and Rick Tocchet.
November 15, 2000 – Traded by the Boston Bruins, along with Boston's 2001 1st round draft choice and Boston's 2001 2nd round draft choice to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Bill Guerin and future considerations.
March 11, 2003 – Traded by the Edmonton Oilers, along with Aleš Píša, to the New York Rangers in exchange for Radek Dvořák and Cory Cross.
January 23, 2004 – Traded by the New York Rangers to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Jaromír Jágr.
March 8, 2004 – Traded by the Washington Capitals to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Jared Aulin.
August 17, 2005 – Signed a one-year, $1 million contract as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks.
September 13, 2006 – Signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract as a free agent with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
February 23, 2007 – Traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Carolina's 2008 5th round draft choice (Tomáš Kubalík).
Played for Canada in:1994 World Junior Championships (gold medal)
1997 World Championships (gold medal)
2003 World Championships (gold medal)