The Nashville Predators have dipped into the free agent market Wednesday, signing UFA Matt Carle to a one-year, $700K contract. Recently bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning, we profiled Carle’s free agency and projected a contract between $750K-$1MM. Obviously, this comes in below that and with it the Predators get a veteran blueliner with over 700 games experience.
After signing a huge six-year, $33MM contract with Tampa Bay before the 2012-13 season, Carle was never able to replicate the strong two-way play he provided for Philadelphia. Last season, he only contributed 9 points (2-7) in 64 games, though he did chip in five assists in the playoffs.
The Predators came to an agreement with Petter Granberg the other day, avoiding arbitration and seemingly putting him in contention for a bottom-pairing spot; this Carle deal may throw a wrench in those plans, unless Nashville decides to start him in the AHL to try and rediscover his game.
Only 31, Carle has two 40+ point seasons under his belt and was once considered an excellent puck-moving defenseman. With P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm already locked into the top-four in Nashville, all Carle would have to do is provide solid bottom-pairing minutes against team’s third or fourth lines. For a player who once logged over 23 minutes a night on a consistent basis, this is a low-risk, fairly high-reward move for the Predators.