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It's the Matt Carle show

Funny thing about the newspaper industry, with a shrinking news hole and (don't get me started) the weather page now in the sports section, there is less space than ever available for stories. So, a feature about the new quarterback of the Lightning's power play, Matt Carle, is written but waiting to find space. Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps, who knows?

Anyway, thought it would be a a good time to break this trade for Dan Boyle down a bit:

- The most obvious comparisons are age and salary. Boyle will be 38 when his six-year, $40-million contract expires. Carle will be 27, when his four-year, $13.75-million deal is done.

- Boyle's cap hit this season is $6.667-million. Carle, who will make $2.95-million, has a cap hit of $3.438-million, the average yearly salary of his four-year deal.

- Getting rid of defenseman Brad Lukowich, dealt with Boyle to San Jose, was a good move as he apparently was not in Tampa Bay's top seven next season. Add his cap hit to Boyle's and subtract Carle's and you get a significant savings of $4.796-million.

- Boyle has a lot to prove after an injury filled season. Carle has something to prove after a frustrating season.

- Carle had a tremendous rookie year with 11 goals, 41 points in 77 games in 2006-07. Last season he fell to two goals, 15 points in 62 games. Carle was a healthy scratch for those 20 games, and he said he and coach Ron Wilson did not see eye to eye. But as Lightning owner Oren Koules said, "Two years ago he ran the No. 2 power play in the league." Better, though, was Carle's own assessment: "Maybe it was my fault for not going to (Wilson) and seeing what he wanted to get out of me."

- Carle, as you probably know by now, is the older brother of David Carle, whom the Lightning drafted 203rd, knowing David has a heart ailment that likely has ended his career. David Carle said it was a "first-class move." Koules, whose son attended the same high school, Minnesota's Shattuck-St. Mary's, as David,  said the draft and trade had nothing to do with each other. "I know it's an odd coincidence," Koules said, adding, "but there was no conspiracy."

Look, no one can possibly know how this trade will work out. But one thing is sure, Carle will be able to grow as the team matures and has proved with San Jose he has the instincts for the job. He also is coming into a situation with a coach who is a communicator and motivator. And the move frees up some cap space. In other words, don't rush to judgment.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]


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