Archive for Matt Carle

Logjam at Defense: Problem or Blessing?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2008 by flyersfan44

After some early-season difficulty, the Flyers’ defense is looking pretty good right now.  Regular pairings are established and the blueliners appear comfortable with each other.  Braydon Coburn – Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen – Ossi Vaananen, and Luca Sbisa – Andrew Alberts are the regular pairings.  Laase Kukkonen is playing much better than earlier this season and is a reliable fill-in.  The potential difficulty is now that Randy Jones is ready to return from a training camp injury, who sits to make room?  On top of that, his $2.5 million salary will put a salary cap squeeze on the Flyers when Danny Briere returns from his injury.  To complicate things more, injured defenseman Ryan Parent will be returning after Christmas.  That would give the Flyers nine NHL-calibre defensemen.  Too many to carry.  Kukkonen, who cleared waivers earlier this year, would have to go through waivers again in order to be sent down.  Since he is playing better now, he may not clear waivers a second time.  Looks like at least one of the rearguards will need to be traded.  Kukkonen and/or Alberts figure to be the odd men out. That’s too bad, because the team is coming together really well and you hate to change pieces when things are going good.  It would be great if the Flyers could find a way to hold onto all these guys, especially since injuries are always a danger and nine capable defensemen in the system would be a blessing, especially come playoff time.  Remember when Timonen and Coburn both went down with injuries last spring?

Flyers Now Getting it Together

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 21, 2008 by flyersfan44
Goalie Marty Biron stops Canadiens' Robert Lang.

Goalie Marty Biron stops Canadiens

OK, things are starting to look better for the Flyers as their play has improved and they are getting out from under that horrible start to the season.  The problem situations that led to the 0-3-3 beginning are being corrected.  The defense is playing much better as coach John Stevens continues to try different pairings.  Newly acquired Matt Carle looks good and has added a steadying influence and rookie Luca Sbisa continues to impress with his unflustered, quietly confident game.   The forwards are playing with more attention to defense, coming back further into the defensive zone and allowing for greater puck support. Goalie Marty Biron has overcome a shaky start and appears to have settled into a groove.  The overall effort from game to game has improved greatly. 

Other positives as we approach the 20-game mark are Simon Gagne, who is showing no lingering effects from the concussion that sidelined him most of last season and has been scoring at a very solid pace, among the league leaders.  Penalty killing has been excellent, and the Flyers lead the NHL with eight short-handed goals.  They’re on pace to break the NHL single-season record held by Edmonton in this category.  The forwards are scoring and the balanced offense that led the Flyers deep into last year’s playoffs is continuing. 

The 2-1 victory in Montreal was the Flyer’ best game of the season thus far, a very solid effort from start to finish that shows that the Flyers can be one of the top teams in the league if they can maintain the consistency of effort that is necessary to win games.

Downie, Eminger Traded for Defenseman Matt Carle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 8, 2008 by flyersfan44
Defenseman Matt Carle

Defenseman Matt Carle

I swear that the last post was written before the Flyers announced the trade of Steve Downie and Steve Eminger to Tampa for defenseman Matt Carle plus a swap of draft picks.  I had indicated that Downie looked like a first round draft pick bust and that Eminger’s poor play made his acquisition over the summer Holmgren’s worst trade to date, and suggested that Holmgren may have to trade a forward for a solid defenseman.

I think this is a really good deal. Eminger was terrible and Downie will be a fourth line player at best. Carle is a solid top-four defenseman who is quick, has decent size, can move the puck and is young.  Although his offensive production has trailed off since his rookie season with the Sharks, if he can move the puck and cover well in front of the Flyers’ net, this will be an improvement. The only concern is that now we have no right handed shots on defense.  Still, this should help.  Now, let’s trade another forward (Asham?) to gain space under the salary cap and then sign Brendan Shanahan.