Thursday, 30 June 2016

Lightning Waive Matt Carle with Buyout in Mind

The Tampa Bay Lightning put defenseman Matt Carle on waivers today, with the intention of buying him out tomorrow.  This, combined with yesterday's news surrounding Steven Stamkos, basically sent Bolts Nation to the moon.

Why, you ask?

Because, since signing with Tampa in the summer of 2012, Carle has been a 'lightning' rod (no pun intended) for criticism.  His play has underwhelmed in a significant (read: enormously monstrous) way, especially when you compare it to the $5.5M cap hit he carries/carried:
As the tweet says, you can't have a guy on your roster carrying a $5.5M cap hit who does... that.  It wasn't good enough.  No matter how you slice it, there are better ways for the Lightning to be spending that money.  It's hard to argue against Steve Yzerman's choice to end Carle's second tenure with Tampa Bay.

Of course, none of this is to say that Carle was a bad person or deserving of much of the vitriol thrown his way over the past couple seasons.  It's not his fault he was drastically over paid during a time when the Lightning were so desperate for defensemen that they almost looked like the Oilers.  It's true that he was paid too much, and it's true that he failed to live up to expectations, but if you doubt for a minute that he gave this team his all, I think you're crazy.  When he was relegated to popcorn duty this season, he didn't complain.  When his ice time decreased, he never moaned to the media.  He was a consummate pro.  And, while that's not worth a ton on the ice in terms of actually helping the team win, it's worth remembering as he walks away.

The bottom line, though: The Lightning's decision to buy out Matt Carle was the right one.  With so many younger and better players in need of new contracts over the next couple years, cap space will be at a premium.  Jettisoning Carle and his $5.5M deal in exchange for a buyout hit that will come in at less than $2M per year is just smart management.  Still, here's wishing Carle all the best as he moves on to the next chapter in his career.

As always, thanks for reading.

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