Get Out the Welcome Matt for Carle in Philly

Nelson SantosCorrespondent INovember 7, 2008

According to

The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have acquired 6'0", 205-pound defenseman Matt Carle and the San Jose Sharks' third round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Steve Eminger, Steve Downie and Tampa Bay's fourth round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren.

This appears to be a curious move at the very least.

Paul Holmgren, who has made numerous good to very good deals since taking over for Bobby Clarke as the Flyers GM in 2007, has this writer scratching his head. Some things will have to fall into place for this trade to rank along with the others.

Eminger, who was given all of 12 games to show his stuff after being acquired from the Washington Capitals with a third-round pick for a first-rounder in the 2008 Entry draft, will now ply his trade in Tampa Bay. Eminger is one of those defensemen that can provide a little of everything. And when his confidence is high, he can be really good; unfortunately, he can also be quite bad when his confidence is low.

Downie is even more surprising. Less than a year ago he was one of the most promising prospects in the Flyers organization, and for short spurts during his rookie season proved he could keep his head on straight long enough to put some pucks in the net.

Downie was not given much of a chance this season, and whether that was a sign that coach Stevens didn't think his game had improved enough over the summer, only he knows.

In Carle, the Flyers receive a good-skating defenseman who showed some offensive skills in his rookie campaign with the San Jose Sharks in 2006-07. Unfortunately, Carle has not come close to looking like that defenseman since.

His stay in Tampa was as long as Eminger's was in Philadelphia, and, who knows, maybe a change will do both of them some good.

What I find curious about this deal is that Philadelphia has struggled keeping pucks out of their net early in 2008. I would have thought the need for puck-moving, offensive-minded rear guards would not be considered right now. Matt Carle has never shown to be a solid defender, even when playing at his best. It's simply not his game.

Carle also arrives with a hefty $3,437,500 contract, which will see him receive that through the 2011-12 season.

In Eminger and Downie, the Flyers only moved a total of $2,021,667. This means Holmgren has increased the payroll another $1,415,833. This can only mean that Holmgren is not done yet. He simply can't be, as the Flyers are again near or over top of the cap ceiling.

This move now bring the Flyers back to 49 professional contracts, which means they have the contract space to potentially sign Brendan Shanahan, although being near to over the cap they would have to make more roster moves to enable welcoming Shanahan to the city of Brotherly Love.

Whether the Flyers will be better with Carle than with Eminger remains to be seen.

Unless Carle can find the form from his rookie season, this may not go down as one of Holmgren's managerial gems.