Point/Counterpoint: Matt Carle or Ryan Suter?

Will we see Ryan Suter in orange & black next season? (image via Bleacher Report)

Welcome to the newest edition of “Point/Counterpoint,” where a pair of Flyers Faithful scribes present both sides of one particular issue with their own unique view and flair.

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…

What do you think about the Carle vs. Suter debate?  Let us know in the comments below or let Steve and Hal know on Twitter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=595583662 Daniel Milani

    Hal convinced me.  You can’t underestimate the value of having “learned to play in Philadelphia”.

  • http://twitter.com/jsaquella jsaquella

    If you’re basing the decision on “reputation” then you are a fool. Suter is NOT an elite defenseman, and he’s not much more physical than Carle. He is better, but it’s not like comparing Kimmo Timonen to Marc-Andre Bourdon. If I have to pay $7mm for a defensemen, or tie up one to a long term deal to lessen the cap impact, I’m trading for Shea Weber or another truly elite defenseman, not a guy who has a reputation as one because he’s the best of a weak class of UFA’s

  • Kyle

    If I purchase a Polo shirt at Macy’s compared to Ralph Lauren store, it will be cheaper. Same product, but cheaper for my wallet. Matt  Carle > Ryan Suter. Same player. Carle has better numbers. What wasn’t mentioned was Carle played nearly 40% of season with likes of MAB, Manning and Gust. He did play some with Kimmo, but more towards season’s end. Suter on the other hand, played majoirty of his TOI with Shea Weber. Remember when everyone loved Matt Carle after 2010 while playing w/ Pronger? Carle is a Top 4 Dman who is cheaper and will deliver similar results as Suter.

    Now if we’re talking Carle and Parise this off-season. I wouldn’t even sniff Ryan Suter.

  • Sloop

    Stop with the Matt Carle love.  It’s a joke!  He’s the softest defenseman the Flyers had since Kerry Huffman.  His numbers are hollow.  ANYBODY who actually watches the game knows this.  He has the skill set, but doesn’t seem interested for weeks at a time…   He is a lesser version of Mike Green, who is by far the most overrated defenseman ever…  Suter is a stud.  Carle is not…

    • Kyle

      He is a lesser version of Mike Green, who is by far the most overrated defenseman ever…  // Erik Karlesson has taken the mantle. Suter a stud? Suter is the new Carle when he was paired with Pronger. Let’s see Mr. All World Suter sans Weber before we give him “elite status.” Carle is cheaper and delivers the same type of game as Suter. How often does one watch Nashville games?

      • Prgtrance

        I watch a ton of nashville games and you can’t compare Suter and Carle. Suter is a very good D man. Yes Weber is good but they both allow each other to do certin things. Suter allows Weber to be able to roam in the offensive end because he is so good defensive. Suter gets over shadowwed by weber a lot if he gets on his own he will do good things. He is a true number one carle is not.

  • guest

    Matt Carle is far from a bad player, but my biggest issue with him is that he has no slap shot and has a hard time getting wrist shots on net. It adds a lot to a defenseman’s arsenal to have a consistent shot and Suter has that. He would be a much better power-play quarterback and he plays bigger. All that being said, Carle would be cheaper and Suter might not be an option, so I would look first to resigning him if he would not demand a raise.

  • Ratflail12

    If we’re talking about scoring, Philly has a much more deadly offense than Nashville so Carle’s assist totals would be inflated by the talent around him to a greater extent than Suter’s playing next to Weber. Carle is a turnover machine who cost us the series against the Devils. His play in the postseason was nightmarishly awful regardless of his ice time. Suter is better on both sides of the puck and won’t kill us with defensive zone turnovers. I can’t wait for some other team to pony up 6 million a year for Carle while the Flyers grab Suter for almost the same price. Carle doesn’t have Suter’s talent or skill but for some reason, people actually think he’s a valuable defenseman. After watching the defense this postseason, I can honestly say that Lilja might be a better player than Carle. He looked confident in the playoffs; he was moving the puck exceptionally well and constantly carrying it into the offensive zone. Carle turned the puck over every 3 seconds.