SAN JOSE, Calif. — Matt Carle is on the record as saying he would like to remain in Philadelphia.
And despite generating interest from a few clubs, Carle remained with the Flyers after Monday’s trade deadline came and passed.
Now, with Carle locked up on the Flyers’ roster through the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Paul Holmgren has until July 1 to lock up his blossomed defenseman to a new deal.
In Philadelphia, Carle’s value often goes unrecognized. Some Flyers fans may see him as overrated, someone who commits turnovers and accomplishes little when he’s not paired with Chris Pronger.
The fact is that is not how Carle is viewed around the NHL, where opposing general managers see him as an under-appreciated, cerebral skater who fluidly transitions from zone-to-zone with little effort. While not overly physical, Carle does not shy away from contact and he is durable. He’s missed just 2 games over the last 3 seasons.
Most noticeably, Carle is consistent nightly, strong positionally and steady with the puck on the power play.
Look at Carle’s points: Heading into Tuesday’s game in San Jose, where he started his career with the Sharks, Carle is ranked 21st in the NHL with 31 points in 62 games.
But, what does all of that mean as far as Carle’s future?
“I don’t know how to answer that other than to say we’ve talked at length,” Holmgren said on Monday. “There’s mutual interest on both sides. I think Matt wants to stay here and be part of the Flyers for the foreseeable future.
“My belief is that there’s something out there that we can agree on that we can take care of that. Whether it happens in the near future or somewhere down the road here, we’ll see.”
The general consensus is that, while negotiations have taken place with Carle and his Denver-based agent Kurt Overhardt, the two sides are not close to a deal.
Carle talked about his pending free agency with the Daily News on Feb. 9.
Some thought that the Flyers should have perused to market to try and move Carle, should a deal not be within reach, before Monday’s trade deadline to try and recoup return for the future. In our estimation, it is believed the Flyers saw more value in Carle’s remaining 21 games and subsequent playoff games than any future they could have acquired.
Plus, the Flyers could still move Carle before the draft in Pittsburgh in June should talks remain fruitless.
Carle, 27, is playing in the final year of a 4-year, $13.75 million deal ($3.43M per), but is clearly due a significant raise. His teammate, Braydon Coburn, cashed in on a 42 percent bump in pay, rocketing from $3.2 million per year to $4.5 million per year with his 4-year extension in November.
Coburn, 27, also got a limited no-trade clause in the deal.
The thinking around the league is that Carle’s type of game is much more sought-after than Coburn, which jacks up his value quite a bit. Coburn is faster but at times a little more jumpy with the puck. Coburn is also probably a bit better defensively, but doesn’t have the offensive upside like Carle.
Carle can score, like James Wisniewski, which likely has Overhardt drooling at Wisniewski’s 6-year, $33 million deal.
Will Carle bring in that much? Probably not. But he will be in the $5 million per year range, for sure.
At this point, with Pronger’s uncertainty and the uncertainty of the labor situation this summer with a possible temporary salary cap, the Flyers aren’t willing to go that far north in their negotiations. Even if Carle wants to stay with the Flyers, waiting for July 1 has to seem awfully tempting.
Then again, the Flyers options for replacing Carle aren’t exactly teeming - especially with Kimmo Timonen's deteriorating body. Carle's loss would be a big hole to fill in the summer, should he decide to walk for more money, and the Flyers know that. For now, at least publicly, Holmgren has publicly played nice.
All of which makes for an interesting game of cat-and-mouse that bears watching in between now and when the playoffs roll around. It will be one of the most interesting stories over the next 3 months.
“Matt’s a good player on our team,” Holmgren said. “He knows we have an interest in keeping him, so we’ll see how that goes.”
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers