Fantasy Impact: The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Matt Carle to a six-year deal worth an average of $5.5 million.
The Lighting get: A solid top-four puck mover who is returning to Tampa Bay for a second stint. Carle’s first was short lived – he lasted only 12 games after being acquired from San Jose in the Dan Boyle trade.
The contract is a bit eye opening at first, but it represents market value for a defenseman of Carle’s ilk at this point in time. He is a poor man’s Ryan Suter, and the Lightning are a much better hockey team with him on the roster.
Carle has averaged 38 points over the last three seasons in Philadelphia, although he has scored only 11 goals combined. He distributes the puck, can play a regular shift on the PP, and isn’t a total defensive liability. The Lightning were really lacking in the puck moving department last year.
For the Flyers in 2011-12, Carle played 1:43 per game on the PK, and 2:38 per game on the PP. Minutes that will have to be replaced internally (at this point, at least).
For the Lightning, their heavy PK lifting was done by Eric Brewer (3:14 per game), Victor Hedman (2:53), and Brett Clark (2:04). Clark won’t be returning, but Brewer and Hedman will.
Marc-Andre Bergeron led Lightning blue liners with 2:48 of PP time per game, but he only played in 43 games. Brett Clark was second at 1:25. Carle and Sami Salo will likely be given the prime PP minutes, and one of the young guys (perhaps Mark Barberio if he makes the team) will be in the mix as well.
Carle can play physical when need be, too:
Fantasy Players Impacted: Carle goes from second pairing defenseman in Philadelphia to top pairing defenseman in Tampa Bay. He’ll see some PK time, but the Lightning aren’t paying him $5.5 million a year to defend. They really like his passing and vision, and he will be a huge help to their transition game at even strength and on the power play.
Carle spent the majority of his time with Marc-Andre Bourdon in Philadelphia last year. He is likely hoping that he isn’t paired with another Marc-Andre in Tampa Bay.
43 BOURDON,MARC-ANDRE - 25 CARLE,MATTHEW
25 CARLE,MATTHEW - 41 MESZAROS,ANDREJ
As it stands right now, the Flyers are going to miss Carle’s puck moving and durability, a lot. They just lost close to 40 points and 23 minutes a night of solid defense (for the most part, Carle did have his stretches of poor play like any other non-super star).
Potential pairings in Tampa Bay:
Brenden Mikkelson – Brian Lee
Potential pairings in Philadelphia:
Coburn – Nicklas Grossman
Kimo Timonen – Luke Schenn
Andrej Meszaros – Bourdon
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
4. Erik Gustafsson
5. Lightining forwards (collectively, and those who will play with Carle on the PP).
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
2. Barberio (short term)