This week we'll be looking at some of this summer's Unrestricted Free Agents and how they might fit with the 2013 Colorado Avalanche.
2011 Cap Hit: $3,437,500 (Nice round number Flyers, I'm sure that makes it real easy to add up your players)
2011-12 stats: 82 games, four goals, 34 assists, 38 points, plus-4 rating, 36 penalty minutes, averaged 23:01 in ice time.
Strengths: Has a good two-way game. Although Carle doesn't put up a lot of points, he moves the puck well and helps the team transition up the ice. On the defensive side, he is good positionally and blocks a fair number of shots. Carle can play in any situation and led the Flyers in ice time this year with an average 23:01 per game.
Weaknesses: Carle is not very physical, his 55 hits this season would be good for 6th on the Avalanche this season, beating out just Elliott, Barrie and Hunwick.
Contract:Matt Carle should get a healthy raise from his $3,437,500 contract. True value for Carle is probably somewhere between $4.5 and $5 million, but suitors on July first will likely have to go as high as $5-$5.5 million if they'd like to pry him away from the Flyers. Reports are the Flyers would like to retain Matt Carle, but if he wants $5 million they may have trouble making room with over $21 million committed to 5 defenseman and another $4.92 if Chris Pronger is healthy enough to play.
Not to mention the Flyers need to save some cap space with raises for Giroux ($3.75), Schenn ($3.1), Simmonds ($1.75) and Couturier ($1.375) in the next two years.
Why it Works: Carle is only 27 and has logged significant ice time as a top 4 or even top 2 defensman. He's used to facing the other teams best line and his relatively steady play could make for a perfect partner for Erik Johnson. This season his 38 points and 23:01 in ice time would rank 1st on the Avalanche's blueline, beating out Erik Johnson (20:50) and Jan Hejda (20:40) for most minutes. He's a minute muncher who likes to push the pace up the ice and he could improve the Avs offense and defense substantially.
Beyond the on-ice fit, the Carle family has close ties to Colorado. Carle's younger brother David was an NHL prospect and University of Denver standout before being diagnosed with a rare and serious heart condition, and Matt Carle played three years at the University of Denver, where he met his wife Clancey. Carle won the Hobey Baker Award with the DU and was also part of two NCAA championships, including a 2005 victory with Paul Stastny. Carle likely has fond memories of Colorado and maybe a call from his former teammate Paulie Walnuts could land him out West.
Here are a pair of stories on Stastny and Carle for nostalgia's sake:
My Take: Carle has been one of my favorite defensemen in the league for a long time and I would be absolutely ecstatic to see him come here. For years when I fired up the XBOX the first trade I'd make was John-Michael Liles for Matt Carle and then off to the Stanley Cup I'd go. I'd toss Carle a 4-5 year deal worth $4.5-5.5 a year in a heartbeat, he's a supremely underrated d-man who would look excellent next to Erik Johnson. Make it happen Sherman.