The Philadelphia Flyers made yet another major move on Saturday, with their acquisition of Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn. The Flyers traded forward James van Riemsdyk to add some much needed size to the blue line.
With the trade for Schenn, the Flyers now have five defenseman on their blue line making at least $3 million, not including Chris Pronger. And none of them is named Matt Carle, as he is still set to become a free agent just over a week from Saturday. Does the trade for Schenn mean the end of Carle in the City of Brotherly Love?
At first, it would certainly seem like it. It’s a crowded blue line already and there doesn’t appear to be room, as far as personnel or money, for Carle. But it’s no lock that he’s gone.
The Flyers could end up dealing one of their several defensemen and manage to bring back Carle. One guy that could end up on his way out is Andrej Meszaros.
If the Flyers are hoping to re-sign Carle, then they could end up trading Meszaros to make room for him. Meszaros is signed for two more years at a salary of $4 million and the Flyers should be able to find a match for him if they felt the desire to trade him.
His numbers, while not particularly impressive, aren’t what a team would be looking for so much as his physical game. He’s a big body on the blue line, standing 6’2″ and a touch over 220, posting 144 hits in 62 games last season. He could be a fit for a team like the Chicago Blackhawks, who are looking for that size on defense.
Even with bringing in Schenn, the Flyers likely still want to keep Matt Carle and preferably sign him before next weekend, when his price tag will go up. If they want to bring him back on a new deal, they’re going to have to get creative and unload one of the current contracts on their blue line.
But we do know the trade for Schenn doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Carle in Philadelphia. It just complicates things quite a bit. It’s not so much a matter of not being able to afford him, but it’s an awful lot of money to have tied up on defense, when there are still things to be worked out up front as far as personnel goes.