Bottom line on Carle trade? The money
There were a couple of potential threads for the trade that sent defenseman Matt Carle and a 2009 third-round draft choice to the Flyers for defenseman Steve Eminger, right wing Steve Downie, who will go to AHL Norfolk, and a 2009 fourth-round draft choice.
The Lightning got two players for one. Tampa Bay traded Carle, the player it got from the Sharks in the tide-turning Dan Boyle deal. In Eminger, the Lightning got the right-handed shot it has wanted on the blue line, and a guy who can play the power play and penalty kill.
But the bottom line, it seems, is the money. Carle's salary cap hit, thanks to a four-year, $13.75-million deal, is $3.438-million. Eminger's cap hit on his one-year deal is $1.2-million. That's a savings of $2.238-million that lowers Tampa Bay's team cap number to about $52-million. The limit is $56.7-million.
Carle's salary this season is $2.95-million. Eminger makes the same as his cap number, which means Tampa Bay also lowered its cash out for salaries by $1.75-million to about $48-million, just about what owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie said was their goal.
"Cap space is a commodity," general manager Brian Lawton said, "and it definitely gives us quite a bit of breathing room."
Lawton said no other deals are imminent, but, "If we want to do something down the line bigger, that would afford us more flexibility."
Asked if the trade of Dan Boyle, which in great part was done to shed his six-year, $40-million contract, now should be viewed as a failure, Lawton said, "I think it's a continuation of the process in evaluating what we have and being comfortable we have the right chemistry and the right balance and enough youth in the organization. It's one younger player for two younger players. ... When we went through it, we felt t was something that made sense."
The money becomes an issue because even Lawton admitted the main part of the deal (Eminger for Carle) involves two players who are "very comparable in a lot of ways." But let's concentrate on Eminger, 25, a first-round pick (12 overall) of the Capitals in 2002.
At 6 feet 2, 212 pounds, he is bigger than Carle and, seemingly, would have the ability to be more physical. Eminger is plus-5 in his past six games and on Thursday played a season-high 22:08 against the Senators.