Speculative chatter: What to do about Matt Carle?

Just what is the course forward with defenseman Matt Carle? The Raw Charge staff chimes in with their thoughts.

This post is brought to you by: Is it October yet? Occasionally the Raw Charge staff will get together and have a roundtable discussion about a topic concerning the organization. First up is Matt Carle.

waffleboardsave: We recently featured an article about how it's time for Matt Carle to go. Well, the buyout window opened on Wednesday and I'm surprised he's still a Lightning as we discuss this. There's still time, until June 30, so I'm holding out hope.

What's the Lightning's best course of action? To package him into a deal or buy him out? Or yikes, keep him? Trying to package him into a deal sounds like too much effort, effort that Steve Yzerman can put into something else this offseason. Not that I'm saying Carle isn't important. He's important because the Bolts absolutely need to shed his salary.

loserpoints: Yzerman is a smart GM. He doesn't act impulsively and he has no reason to buy out Carle now. He has about a week to try to take advantage of a desperate team and dump Carle's contract on them. I can't think of a reasonable scenario where that happens but Yzerman should and will keep his options open as long as possible. And if behind the scenes, the team already knows Steven Stamkos will not return, the need to buyout Carle is gone and he likely stays on the roster for another year.

My guess is that Carle is on waivers on the 30th. But if he isn't, that might be an indicator as to what the team expects to happen with Stamkos.

John Fontana: I wouldn't call a package trade too much effort, especially knowing how the Lightning are in a conundrum going forward regarding the cap and RFAs and future RFAs and what not. To buy out Matt Carle turns his two years remaining on his contract into a four-year cap hit. While there are players that can fill the role already on the Tampa Bay roster/controlled by the Bolts (hello, Slater Koekkoek!) it makes the prospect into a UFA signing by way of multiplying the cap hit (the buyout that gave him a chance to play).

The effort in a trade, one that moves Carle and perhaps a current RFA/pending RFA relieves cap pressure or at least gives more space to retain other players. That, player retention, is the big effort of the offseason because it comes with a cost in one way or another.

GeoFitz4: A lot of fans expected it to happen immediately as has already happened with a couple other players across the league, but there's really no need. Yzerman can wait until the draft when he's got all of the other general managers in person to work out a deal.

The consensus seems to be that it would take a second-round pick just to move Carle's salary. While we have an extra second, there's also a possibility that one of those second-round picks could be fuel for a trade up in the first round if Yzerman and Murray have their eye on someone that won't fall to 27. And if the team doesn't sign Stamkos, they'll probably have the cap room to keep him for another year, hopefully as the seventh defenseman behind Slater Koekkoek, to make the buyout or trade next season a little easier to swallow.

$1.8 million dollars in cap room represents a quality, bottom six forward on the roster. Or that little bit extra to get a longer term deal on a core restricted free agent. There's a lot more to consider than just "Carle's bad, get rid of him" in the equation.