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Report: Lightning, Matt Carle “closing in” on deal

Jul 4, 2012, 9:29 PM EDT

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

After a surprisingly successful first season with GM Steve Yzerman and head coach Guy Boucher in Tampa Bay, the Lightning didn’t just regress in 2011-12. They basically hit a brick wall. The two main culprits were poor defense and lax goaltending, but it looks like Yzerman is taking great lengths to fix both problems. Darren Dreger passes along what might be the splashiest move yet: the Lightning are reportedly “closing in” on a deal with free agent blueliner Matt Carle.

Obviously, “closing in on” and actually signing a contract are two very different things, but it fill a need for the Bolts. The timing also makes sense since the Ryan Suter sweepstakes finally ended.

If Carle was in the mix, the Bolts’ defense would look a lot more impressive. Even with Mattias Ohlund‘s career in jeopardy and 2012-13 season essentially over, the blueline should provide better protection for Anders Lindback than what Dwayne Roloson saw last year. Carle would join new addition Sami Salo along with guys like Eric Brewer and Victor Hedman for an improved corps.

Carle has hovered around the 35-40 point range for the last three seasons and many believe his defense is underrated. He averaged 23:01 minutes per game for the Philadelphia Flyers last season and ranks as the most interesting remaining FA defenseman.

Interestingly enough, he’s also marginally familiar to Tampa Bay. He played 12 games with the Bolts in 2008-09 before being traded to Philly in a Steve Downie trade.

We’ll see if he gets a lengthier reunion with the Lightning or if another team – perhaps his current one in Philly? – ends up closing the deal. In the mean time, let me ask: would Carle (and the other tweaks) make the Lightning a contender again?

  1. hockeyd40 - Jul 4, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    He’s going to get overpaid and the flyers are still gonna be screwed for this upcoming season. We can’t rely on the rookies to have another amazing season… Hopefully we can pull something off.

  2. suckitny - Jul 4, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Have fun turning the puck over down there!

  3. phillyphever - Jul 4, 2012 at 9:51 PM


  4. hockeyd40 - Jul 4, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Yeah but Carle did all of the little things right. No one else that we get during this FA class will come closs to making up for him

    • mattj2524 - Jul 5, 2012 at 7:59 AM

      If by “little things” you mean play hard against the boards, make smart, crisp passes to exit his own zone, and hold the point down on offensive surges…well then you were probably away from the TV durning most of his shifts in 2012.

      But if you meant making a play and standing around, coming up small in huge spots, and consistantly putting the puck on the tape of the other team’s sticks – well then yes, he did all of the little things wonderfully.

      Seeing as the Lightening have great offensive depth and skill, and Carle was really the last big name out there in FA, this deal makes sense in that it fills a need if Stevie Y wants to make a run while MSL and VL still have some gas in the tank. But $5.5 a year??? For Matt Carle??? That’s not justifiable.

  5. pkswally024 - Jul 4, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Don’t worry about making up for him next year. Consider that six year cap hit, it wouldn’t be worth it. 12/13 will be a down year, but expect more retooling.

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