The Flyers may very well re-sign Matt Carle, probably at a high cost too, at least $4.25M putting him in the mid 30s of defenseman in terms of salary, if he gets $4.5M, that puts him in the low 20s. That’s top pairing defenseman money. Even if they miraculously do not sign him, someone else will give him a big pay day. Dennis freaking Wideman just got $5.25 a year and everyone that isn’t Wideman, his family, his agent and Jay Feaster agree: that’s insane.
With Kimmo Timmonen, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Nicklas Grossman and the addition of Luke Schenn, the defense will be fine without Matt Carle. Eric Gustafsson and Marc Andre Bourdon have shown enough to earn the 6th/7th defenseman spot with Andreas Lilja’s cap hit. Yes, you could trade Meszaros and then sign Zach Parise, but that’s mismanagement of cap space. You’d have more by letting Carle walk.
Giving Carle a top 30 contract is foolish, he is not a top pairing defenseman. If you think he is, take a moment and clear your mind. (I’m talking to you Paul Holmgren.) Now that you’ve done that, answer this: What does Matt Carle do to justify being paid like a #2 defenseman? I’ll save you the time thinking of the answer, it is:
I’m not going to miss Joe Banner, but I’m not convinced that the Eagles are better off without him.
Banner is highly respected around the league, a sentiment Eagles fans never shared. When the going was rough, Banner drew a lot of ire as the (sneering) face of unpopular decisions the Eagles made. But I don’t think the criticism he received was always fair. Banner was the human shield because as Lurie’s best friend he was in a unique position to never have to worry about being fired for PR reasons. He was doing the job his best friend asked him to do, and he did it well. The Eagles became a successful and very well run team under Banner’s watch, and he deserves a good deal of credit for his business principles being a key to that. “Cut ’em at 30” might be cruel and cold, but with the exception of Brian Dawkins it never came back to bite them, and that was Banner. Signing players to long term deals at younger ages that gave the Eagles great cap management, which other teams weren’t doing, that was also Banner. The Flyers should be giving Banner a call about that. Holmgren’s eye and Banner’s cap management would be a deadly duo. The good cop/bad cop routine Banner had going had probably worn thin, although complaints by Drew Rosenhaus should not register with anyone. Still, as Les Bowen writes
(with a nice dig at nemesis Jeff McLane), the image of the Eagles was suffering and the perception of Banner was a contributing factor. Perhaps it was Banner who allowed Reid (and the rest of the organization) to be dismissive towards the media, it would certainly fit with the closed door attitude that Banner had. Given everyone’s ties to each other, when Andy Reid had to convince Lurie that naming Juan Castillo defensive co-ordinator would work, it’s possible that Banner was convinced first and helped Reid sell him on it.
So Banner’s out. But will the Eagles be better off for it? (more…)