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Tampa Bay Lightning place Matt Carle on waivers with intentions to buy him out

The defenseman scored 13 goals and 67 assists in his second stint with Tampa Bay... And brought criticism last season.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL free agent market has just picked up a defensive product, though Tampa Bay Lightning fans warn you to be leery about the product that has just joined the free-agent shelves. News is breaking that the Bolts have placed defenseman Matthew Carle on unconditional waivers, an invocation of the process of a buyout.

Carle, who will turn 32 in September, signed with the Lightning on the Fourth of July in 2012, prior to the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season. The deal was set to expire after the 2017-18 season's end. While Carle was central to the defensive corps his first three seasons in Tampa Bay, yet Carle's efforts in 2015-16 were a constant talking point of a negative variety among fans and criticisms produced by his lapses on ice. Carle would even spend an extent of time as a healthy-scratch with the club during the latter half of the season, showing play critiques were not just fan judgments.

Carle was scheduled to make $5.5 million a year over his final two seasons with the Bolts. With a buyout, the cost is reduced for the club but the cap hit is doubled in length (it will last 4 years) though the number is much less ($1.833 million).

The shift in cost (though spanning more time) is a necessity in part by Steven Stamkos's new contract as well as the remaining restricted free agent crop, not to mention coming costs of the 2017 off-season free agent class.

As for Carle's future, the summer of 2016 itself is a project to hone his game (or at least it should be). Who in the NHL is interested in pulling in his services remains to be seen -€” his free agency hasn't been a speculated upon topic this spring or summer even with his buyout mused upon for a time now. We'll see where that goes as the rest of the summer plays out. Good luck to him and what his future holds, wherever it goes.