Philadelphia Flyers: Whether They Admit It Or Not, Fans Miss Matt Carle

Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

 

Back in July, the Philadelphia Flyers were struck by lightning as they lost defenseman Matt Carle to the Tampa Bay Lightning via free agency. See what I did there?

Anyway, fast forward to February 5th, 2013 and Carle will make his first appearance in Philadelphia as a member of another team. Throughout his time as a member of the orange and black, Carle has taken an awful lot of criticism regarding puck security. A plethora of Flyer fans were actually thrilled to see Carle walk during free agency. To that, I deliver a message:

Are you kidding me?

Carle, 28, may not be one of the elite defensemen in the league but his value is extremely under-appreciated. Despite having a tendency to turn the puck over, Carle is still one of the better puck-moving defensemen out there, a rarity one the Flyers roster right now. His offensive upside is tremendous, posting 15 goals and 122 assists in 308 regular season contests as a member of the Flyers. What are the Flyers struggling to do this year? Score goals, ranking 24th in the league with just over two per game. It is also no secret that the Flyers have terrible luck with injuries. Every season it seems that a significant player goes down with injury (see ProngerChris). Carle is very durable, missing just two games in four years.

Also,with an aging Kimmo Timonen, Carle would be a safe bet for upwards to 25 minutes of ice time per game, allowing Timonen to rest up a bit. Carle is a younger, workhorse defenseman who’s minutes were valued by head coach Peter Laviolette. In eight games this season, Carle has yet to play less than 20 minutes in a game. His off-ice attitude was admirable, never complaining and hardly missing practice. Because he isn’t noticeably physical and doesn’t possess a very heavy shot, Carle wasn’t exactly a favorite in Philadelphia. However, he moves the puck extremely well, sees the ice and makes good pinches.

The current state of the Flyers blue line is as follows:

An injured Andrej MeszarosBraydon CoburnLuke SchennBruno GervaisKurtis Foster and Timonen. Not exactly an appealing bunch. The only one that can consistently move the puck into the offensive zone is Timonen, who is 37-years old. Of course, if the Flyers managed to land Shea Weber as their cornerstone guy, we probably wouldn’t even be having this discussion. Excuse me as I wipe the tears that are streaming down my face.

Carle may not be a flashy, sexy defenseman, but his value was tremendously overlooked and Flyer fans miss him, whether they want to admit it or not.

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