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.