By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After missing out on two additions in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Flyers had subtractions in both Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle.
While most Flyers fans seem to feel relieved the team didn’t commit to the outrageous contracts that Parise and Suter demanded, opinion seems split on Carle, who signed a six-year, $33 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Though oft-criticized, there is concern that Carle’s departure could hurt the Flyers.
You remember the bad. The key turnovers and the mistakes in the neutral zone.
But that’s not the whole picture. Sure, he made mistakes, costly turnovers at times. But what defenseman doesn’t? Matt Carle was often criticized by the fans in Philadelphia, sometimes justifiably, other times not. And for whatever reason, the city never warmed up to the young, talented defenseman.
And yes, contrary to popular belief in this town, he is a young, talented defenseman.
What you forget, or might not know, is that Matt Carle has played in 244 out of 246 regular season games since the 2009-10 season, and played in all 82 games the past two seasons. He also has played in all of the Flyers 45 playoff games the past three seasons.
In an interview with KYW’s Matt Leon, the Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi:
I think this hurts the Flyers. Matt Carle, I know he’s been much-maligned, but to me Carle is a steady defenseman. He’s not a real physical defenseman, but he’s a good puck handler. He is 15th in the league in blocked shots. If you look at his career stats he’s plus-56, and a lot of people say the plus/minus is a little misleading, but Suter’s plus-53, it’s got to count for something.
Both players, of course, have been paired with dynamic defensemen – Suter with Shea Weber (in Nashville) and Carle with Chris Pronger when Pronger was healthy. That has to figure into it a little bit. I’m not saying that Matt Carle is the same player, the same ilk of Ryan Suter, but to me he’s not that far removed. So I think losing Matt Carle is a big blow to the defense.
Listen to the podcast of Matt’s interview with Carchidi HERE.
Broad St. Hockey also noted the team may miss Carle:
As of right now, the team has Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen, Nicklas Grossmann, Andrej Meszaros andLuke Schenn as their top five defenders, Andreas Lilja as their number seven, and a bunch of younger guys – Erik Gustafsson, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Brandon Manning, etc. – fighting for the final spot. Not bad, but not exactly a championship-caliber defense.
So this sucks. The Flyers are now significantly weaker on defense than they were the last time they stepped off the ice. Farewell, Matt. May Tampa Bay treat you well and offer you excellent locations to sky fish.