Matt Carle – another day, another quality free agent off the market. Tampa signed Matt Carle to a six year, $33MM contract that will pay him a $5.5MM cap hit. This makes him the highest paid d-man on the team.
Six years may seem like a lot for a 3-4 defenseman, as does that hit, but he is only 27 years old. The Lightning get themselves a stalwart who they can count on to provide NHL quality defense for years. Can’t complain too much about that.
They’ve also quietly assembled an interesting defense corp, though it’s one with a lot of question marks. You have Carle, Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer, twin grampas Matt Ohlund and Sami Salo, and our boy Brian Lee. If Anders Lindback works out for them–and by works out, I mean provides NHL replacement level goaltending–they should return to the playoffs in the typically weak South East. Also worth mentioning that the usually poor Lightning now have the ninth highest payroll in the league. The honeymoon is going to be over for Yzerman if they miss the dance again.
Tim Murray interview – the boys over on 6th Sens did their interview transcribing thing with Tim Murray, and Timmy said a few confusing things. First, he thinks Latendresse will score differently than Foligno because he goes hard to the net. I don’t think I ever saw Foligno score a goal that wasn’t the greasy, in-the-crease variety, and he took about a million goaltender interference penalties last season to prove it. Murray then goes on to cite injury and conditioning concerns for Latendresse. Well, I’m psyched.
Timmy also gets a dig in on Columbus, and how Methot should be excited he doesn’t have to play there anymore. Eaaaaaasy Studebaker: Sens finished fifth last a couple of seasons ago. We’re not exactly heavyweights here.
Finally, it sounds like the team is pretty much set on a defensive corp of Karlsson, Methot, Phillips, Gonchar, Cowen, Lundin, and Borowiecki. Here’s hoping Cowen takes that next step…one also has visions of a Gonchar trade dancing in one’s head.