On November 7, 2008, the Philadelphia Flyers traded Steve Eminger, Steve Downie, and a 2009 fourth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Matt Carle. Carle spent just four short-but-sweet years in Philly, but during his time there, he developed into one of the most versatile and efficient two-way defenders in the entire NHL.
The Flyers made the playoffs in each of Carle’s four seasons with the organization, and the ex-Shark played a huge part in the successes they had over those four years. Across 51 playoff games, Carle posted 26 points and logged a jaw-dropping average ice time of 24:48. Even with a player like Kimmo Timonen on the roster, the Flyers relied on Carle equally as much.
The Anchorage, Alaska native was just as effective in the regular season. In 308 regular season games, Carle racked up 137 points. His modest total of 15 goals shows he wasn’t particularly dangerous shooting the puck or near the goal, but was adept at helping his teammates in that same regard.
Carle would return to the Lightning ahead of the 2012-13 season by signing a six-year, $33 million contract on July 4, 2012. The University of Denver product lasted four years there before the Lightning bought out the last two years of his contract. Carle would join the Nashville Predators for the 2016-17 season, but became a healthy scratch and retired in November after playing just six games.
In his prime though, Carle was as good of a minute-munching second-pairing defenseman as you could ask for. Despite being on the losing side of two Stanley Cup finals, Carle did it all, be it producing offense, playing defense, and playing on the right side of the defense as a lefty.