…in which you take a look at the Flyers four days into free agency, and see that their biggest signing to date is Michael Leighton.
After missing out on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild, Matt Carle has pledged his allegiance (get it?!) to the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he'll sign a six-year, $33 million deal. At $5.5 million per year, you'll hear many say that Carle was overpaid for his future services, but he was the second-best defenseman in a relatively thin free agent class. This is the kind of shit that happens.
Even with the acquisition of Luke Schenn (and Danny Syvret, if that's worth mentioning… it's not), the loss of Carle really makes things shaky for the Flyers at defense. Kimmo Timonen was absolutely wiped at the end of last season and may not be able to give the minutes he did in the past. Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that the Flyers will sign defenseman Bruno Gervais tomorrow, but he only played 50 games last year and doesn't show any signs that he can give the ice time that Carle does.
Some will tell you the Flyers defense isn't so bad, and they're not, but in addition to the changes this offseason, health is an issue. Andrej Meszaros was a big loss in the latter part of last season and the unfortunate situation with Chris Pronger doesn't need any elaboration. His career is probably over.
There is still plenty of time to make moves, but the names the Flyers are connected to include forwards like Anaheim's Bobby Ryan and Columbus's Rick Nash. No defensemen are linked as of this writing.
Carle's signing with the Lightning will begin his second tour with the team. He was dealt from Tampa in the 2008-09 season to the Flyers.
And yes, Shea Weber is a restricted free agent, but Nashville Predators GM David Polie will match any offer sheet for his star defenseman… especially considering that Polie is on suicide watch after Ryan Suter packed up for Minnesota…
…not even Homer, his whiskey, and his shotgun will be able to pull off such a move. But, there's always next year.