This week, Steve J. and Hal G. square off over whether or not the Flyers should stick with Matt Carle or pursue Ryan Suter.
First up Steve: The Flyers defense was undoubtedly a weak point in the playoffs. Sure, Ilya Bryzgalov was god awful in the first round but the Flyers defense didn’t help him out very much. They were torn apart by New Jersey’s cycling in the second round and even an improved Bryzgalov couldn’t help them. The Flyers defense needs a change. A big splash. Shea Weber is next to impossible to get but Ryan Suter is sitting there waiting.
Hal: Ahh yes, the infamous Ryan Suter debate. What difference does Ryan Suter make than what you already have in Matt Carle? If you want to make a change in your defense, then the Flyers need to strike big and go after Shea Weber. Weber is the closest thing the league has to a Chris Pronger. But, like you said Steve, Weber is next to impossible being that he is a restricted free agent. So, that brings us back to Suter. To which I repeat, how much different is Ryan Suter than Matt Carle?
Steve: Suter is more of a physical presence than Carle. He also averages more time on ice than Carle. Looking at this past season, Carle averaged 23:01 per game while Suter averaged 26:30 per game. Perhaps the biggest advantage Suter has over Carle is his reputation. Suter has a reputation for being a top defenseman. Carle is loved by some some and hated by others. The Flyers need a fresh face in there to show the fanbase that they are changing things up and Carle needs a fresh start somewhere to show that his sometimes poor reputation is unjustified.
Hal: Reputation? The only negative reputation that Carle has is from our fanbase. Hockey pundits around hockey love Carle. Regarding the ice time factor, yes Suter did average more ice time. But, how deep was Nashville’s defense? There was a reason Suter (and Weber) averaged more than 25 minutes per game. Carle on the other hand stepped up when needed. In the playoffs Matty Ice (that’s right, he’s getting a nickname!) averaged more than 25 minutes per game too. Matt Carle’s lack of physicality is also unfairly judged. Carle proved in the Pittsburgh series that he can be physical (just ask Evegni Malkin). Furthermore, if we want to talk about hits, Carle registered 55 hits during the regular season. Suter? Only 46…
Steve: Matty Ice is based off of a terrible beer, so that argument is invalid.
Hal: Matty Ice is more so based off of Penn Charter’s own Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, but I believe it is more applicable because Matt Carle plays on ice. And also, don’t be upset that your choice of Milwaukee’s Best doesn’t meet the standards of us in the world of Natty Light
There is also one issue that makes Carle the smarter keep: salary. In this NHL, where a player like Ryan Suter is asking for a 10-12 year deal, he’ll eat up 7 plus million per year. Carle, who has stated he wants to stay in Philadelphia, will take (in my opinion) no more than 4.5 million
Steve: The day you see me drinking Milwaukee’s Best is the day I forgive Scott Stevens! The issue here has surprisingly little to do with Matt Carle’s actual ability and stats and more to do with who Ryan Suter is and how he is known around the league. When you hear the name Ryan Suter you think of a top defenseman, a shutdown guy. He’s the number one that you will need to replace Kimmo Timonen when he finally decides to hang up his skates. You don’t get that feeling with Matt Carle.
Hal: I don’t care about “reputation” and “feeling.” I care about results. I care about Matt Carle’s 164 blocked shots compared to Suter’s 116. I care about Matt Carle’s 36 less points in 71 less games than Suter. I care about the fact that Matt Carle has learned to play in Philadelphia, which we know that not every player is able to do so.
Steve: You don’t care about my feelings? I’m crushed! How about I elaborate on an important point from earlier: Suter is a more physical player than Carle. Matt brings a fairly nice all around game for the most part but he could certainly be better in the physical area. Suter is not only a very good offensive defenseman, he’s also a physical presence. Given where the NHL is trending defensively the Flyers could use more of a physical presence in the lineup. Brayden Coburn is huge but doesn’t usually play a big man’s game, Grossmann fills that role a bit but he’s not as quick as Suter, and Andrej Meszaros is Andrej Meszaros. Ryan Suter is the all around awesome defenseman that the Flyers need.
Hal: Going back to the physicality argument again, Steven? Did you not notice that Matt Carle registered more hits in the regular season? In every aspect of the game, Matt Carle is of the same ilk as Ryan Suter. Why is Suter viewed as a better player is beyond me. I’m a facts and numbers kind of guy, and all the numbers (including salary) point to Matt Carle. Please, take Ryan Suter (and his soon to be gigantic contract), I’m more than content with Matt Carle…and Zach Parise
Steve: I must have slept through all of those Matt Carle hits. Now if we’re throwing Parise into the mix that’s an interesting debate for another day…