Flyers Faithful is pleased to have Adam Kimelman of NHL.com, Marc Siciliano of Kukla’s Corner, Dan MacNeal of Crimespree Hockey, James Minger of Flyers-Philia, and Flyers Faithful’s own Kevin Christmann participate in the current iteration of Five Questions. This is the first of a five-part series focusing on Free Agency that will run all week.
There is speculation that Matt Carle will re-sign with the Flyers for below market value. Do you think he will re-sign? Who would you expect to be major players for Carle if not the Flyers, and what do you expect he could get on the open market?
Adam Kimelman: I think Carle is happy in Philadelphia, and I think the Flyers would have signed him before now if it weren’t for cap issues. If he were to hit the open market, I would think Detroit, Minnesota and Dallas would be among the most interested teams, possibly Pittsburgh.
Marc Siciliano: At this point, it would appear to be a forgone conclusion that Matt Carle will be re-signing with the Flyers. Both sides have gone above and beyond in their reassurance that a hometown type deal appears to be in the works, and the Flyers would be foolish to not pounce on such a scenario. But will a large, shiny new deal make Carle even more of a target for fans’ angst on the back end? It might, but it shouldn’t.
Look, I somewhat get the hate: the guy handles the puck a TON, and with his talent level and TOI he is inevitably going to find the puck on his stick in some obscure situations. Carle does no favors for himself with particularly ugly turnovers like fanned clears or weak clearing attempts that aren’t high off the boards, but most of the time these turnovers are a result of him being too talented for his own good, thus drawing most of the attention from attacking forwards. His game thrives on his skating ability, but when he gets trapped with little support mistakes will happen.
Last year, behindthenet.ca has M.A. Bourdon as Carle’s primary D partner throughout the regular season. While Bourdon isn’t exactly terrible, he is by no means going to receive the amount of respect and attention that Carle did from attacking forwards. With an inevitable change on the back end coming for the Flyers in some form this summer, you have to imagine his partner will change and improve for the better, thus giving Carle a bit more breathing room.
But even with all that said and last season taken into account, many still look at Carle as one of the best FA defenseman available, and numbers seem to support this claim. How can this be the case if he is truly as bad as everyone makes him out to be? The answer is simple: he’s not as bad as everyone makes him out to be.
Because of this, if the Flyers let him slip through their fingers, you can bet he will be paid a premium on the open market. With the drastic rise in the salary cap coming this offseason, anything less than a $5 million cap hit would be an absolute steal for a guy who can log big minutes and be the anchorage of any back end. Much to my delight, that’s the figure that seems to be floating around right now amongst Flyers insiders.
With so many teams sitting pretty in salary cap city, is a $7 million++ offer even speculation at this point? If you think so, Brian Campbell and his $7.1 million AAV contract that was inked four years ago would like a word with you in his Florida office. If the Flyers come up short, any team looking for defensive help will start their search with a contract offer to Matt Carle, plain and simple.
Dan MacNeal: I think Carle re-signs here for less money than he can get in free agency. I think he might be able to get $6 million on July 1, but signs here for closer to $5 million. If he doesn’t return, I’d expect Detroit or Nashville to make a play, depending if one or both loses the Suter sweepstakes. I could also see Colorado having an interest, as Carle went to college in Denver and the Avs are in need of quality defensemen.
James Minger: The reports on Carle have him signing at any moment now. The question is not, ‘will he sign?’ Rather, when will he sign, for how much, and how long? Dustin Leed recently reported that Carle is going to sign for $4.25M per year which I think is a good deal. I know that Carle catches some heat in this town but at the end of the day, he’s a top-4 defenseman on most teams. What you have to consider with Carle is that at times he makes plays that seemingly only he could make, but he also seems to make mistakes that only he could make. For some, I think the mistakes resonate a little more than the 40 points that he puts up each year.
As far as term goes, I think that $4.25M is under market value for him, especially, if you consider that only one team will be able to get Ryan Suter who is likely to sign for $6-$7M+. Also, signing Carle at this price allows the Flyers to rebuild the decimated defense for present and the future.
That being said, if for some reason Carle does not sign, there is certainly a market for him. The Red Wings, Ducks, Oilers, and (possibly) Predators would love to have a D-man like Carle. Carle may notbchallenge for the Norris trophy but he can put up respectable offensive numbers, he plays a solid 25 minutes a night, and — aside from his rookie year — has always been a plus player.
Not only would I like to re-sign Matt Carle, I would like to sign him to a four-year deal.
Kevin Christmann: Matt Carle is the polarizing topic in Flyerdom this season. The majority of the fan base hates him, and those that don’t, passionately support him (probably because of all of the hate). It’s been re-hashed over and over, and by this point you aren’t going to be swayed on your opinion of Carle. Despite the fact that I had wanted to trade the guy for two years (different circumstances during different times) my stance is that the guy is very good. A sure-fire top-four guy, that plays huge minutes, is extremely durable, and puts up points. That is very hard to come by. He has his flaws and with the amount of minutes he plays, they are hard to minimize.
It certainly seems as if Carle will be brought back. It has been reported by multiple sources and if it weren’t for tagging space, they probably would have had it wrapped up already. So for me, the question is really just a matter of “how much?”
Entering the off-season I would have thought that Carle would be an absolute shoe-in to exceed Braydon Coburn’s $4.5 million cap hit; even with reports that Carle will take below market value to re-sign in Philadelphia. Dustin Leed recently reported figures that would put Carle at $4.25 million which would be an absolute steal.
I still would guess that he ultimately signs for somewhere around $4.75, and if he actually makes it to Free Agency, I would think he easily gets $5 million.