31-Year-Old Defenseman – Tampa Bay Lightning
Matt Carle Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $33 million deal with Tampa Bay in July 2012. The cap average is $5.5 million.
Carle has been toiling on the Lightning's third pairing and has even been a healthy scratch twice this season. He has no points, a plus-1 rating and 24 shots in 20 games this season.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Matt Carle.
Carle's best fantasy days are behind him. Don't get us wrong -- he is going to deliver on the ice for close to another decade, but he has started to shape his game into a more defensive style as an undersized, top-four crease clearer. His power-play time will continue to drop now that Jason Garrison has arrived, and that means his shots on goal and points will probably decline, too. As a result, he's essentially a one-category wonder. Most fantasy rosters cannot afford a player whose greatest value lies in blocked shots.
Carle scuffled in 2012-13. Sure, he had 22 points in 48 games, but seven of those came on a five-game streak in early April. And his poor showing in his first season with the Bolts meant he didn't even receive an invite to this past summer's Team USA's Olympic training camp. Ouch. He'll surely be motivated to prove them wrong, but is that enough to get him out from under the overrated banner? Probably not. Choose your players wisely on draft day. Can you afford to draft a sub-40 point defender who won't deliver PIMs or power-play points?
Carle's second tour of duty in Tampa will be far better than his first. And paired with big Victor Hedman, we're going out on a limb to suggest he could deliver career numbers. His best work in Philly came alongside big, snarly Chris Pronger. Hedman isn't as "ugly" as Pronger, but his size will give Carle room to conduct the orchestra. Who'll benefit most? Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis, et al., who will find breaking out of the zone far easier than it has been in years. Fifty points are a stretch, but he could come close. Very, very close.
Carle didn't miss a contest last season and proved to be one of the top blueliners at producing assists, finishing with 39 helpers. His plus-30 rating was also among the tops for defensemen. Carle has steadily improved in each of his three NHL seasons, and just 27 years young, there's no reason to believe he won't be able to continue the trend.
Carle got off to a quick start to the 2009-10 campaign, notching 10 points in the season's first month, but his production petered out the rest of the season and he never again had a double-digit month. Carle, who turns 26 in October, has not been able to match his breakout year of 2006-07, when he had 41 points, and it now looks like that 40-point threshold may be his ceiling. Look for him to finish with just a handful of goals and somewhere around 30 assists — with a nice number of those coming with the man advantage.
Carle will likely start the season in the second defensive pairing for the Flyers with some additional PP time. The surprisingly well-traveled youngster has not lived up to his high billing and contract extension (then in San Jose) from 2007. He will get that opportunity but will be pressed by a multitude of young defensemen in the Flyers organization. He'll need to produce and play a solid two-way game early on in order for his confidence and the confidence of the organization to remain.
Carle had an outstanding rookie season and then slipped off the face of the hockey earth in his sophomore season. In fact, he was a healthy scratch 22 times last season. Now he hopes to rekindle his first-year magic in a new town and make fans forget about Dan Boyle. Carle is mobile and talented, and should be able to orchestrate the power play with precision. He still needs work at even-strength but that will come -- he is just 24 after all.
Anyone who watched Carle rack up points for three years at Denver University probably wasn’t surprised by his heady pro debut at the end of last season (3-3-6 in 12 games). After all, Carle had 63 points in 39 games in his final year at DU, snagging the Hobey Baker Award (hockey’s Heisman Trophy) on the way out. The Sharks no doubt are comfortable letting Carle be their quarterback because they traded Tom Preissing in the offseason. So long as Carle doesn’t skimp on his defensive responsibilities – head coach Ron Wilson won’t look kindly to that – he’s got an excellent chance to be one of the best sleepers of the season.
Talented offensive defenseman in college could have a shot at an NHL career down the road. Just turned 21 in September 2005 so don't expect to much immediately.